HST681: Work Placement
15 credits (Semester: Autumn and Spring)
Covid-19 update 26 March 2020
Updated information about aims, learning outcomes and assessment in response to Covid-19 is available here.
You will see that we have slightly broadened the guidance for the reflective essay. If your placement has been disrupted, we are now happy for you to also draw on museums and institutions similar to the one you were working at to discuss your experience in comparative perspective. However, if you decide to do this, your placement should still remain at the centre of the essay.
Some of you may also find that work done remotely during your placement may give you unexpected additional material for the reflective essay. This may for instance be an opportunity to discuss the opportunities and challenges that come with using the internet as a public engagement tool in the context of the particular museum or heritage institution that you have been working at.
'I want to state at the outset that it is unhelpful to draw too firm a distinction between skills and the matter to which they are applied. Historians' skills are refined through use, that is through their application to concrete historical problems... Let us be clear that knowing lots of historical facts without any sense of how to use and interpret them is pointless... I would suggest that the important skills are tracking down information and knowing how to deploy it rather than remembering it.' Ludmilla Jordanova History in Practice (2000)
This module aims to give you an insight into the day to day workings of a museum, school or research institute, in order to develop history-specific vocational skills and promote reflection on the issues involved in disseminating history outside academia. The module provides a vocational component to the Department of History postgraduate portfolio, and may be of particular interest to those MA students not planning to pursue a PhD after their studies. You will apply for a placement from those offered at the start of the academic year and then negotiate a role within that placement relevant to your area of study. Following a placement of approximately 100 hours with an employer an essay will then be completed by you reflecting on the work you undertook. Seminars and tutorials before and after the placement will allow students to compare and contrast their experiences.
This modules aims to provide:
By the end of the module, you will be able to demonstrate:
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You will gain knowledge and experience of working within a professional historical environment (for example, an English Heritage property, the Humanities Research Institute, Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Archives, or a local school) during your placement. After an introductory seminar and an individual tutorial with the module convenor you will identify your own learning outcomes for the chosen placement. This plan will be subject to approval by both the convenor and the partner organisation. Following completion of the placement, you will return to the seminar room to compare and discuss your experiences. Each of you will then write an essay, reflecting on the aims and outcomes of your placement and considering the issues of knowledge transfer encountered in disseminating history to the wider public. You will, in addition, have an individual tutorial in which to discuss the work you will write for assessment for this module.
Please note that the Department is unable to provide funding to cover the cost of travel to work placement providers. You should bear this in mind when choosing the placements that you would like to apply for.
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You will prepare:
- A plan (1000 words) detailing the work to be done on the placement, the intended learning outcomes and briefly discussing the historical background to the problem that forms the context for the work. This component is not assessed.
- An essay (3000 words) reflecting on the aims and outcomes of the placement, explaining the work done and reflecting on what you have learned about the dissemination of historical knowledge and understanding in a public context. This is worth 100% of the final mark.