Studying history at Sheffield gives you the opportunity to get involved in a range of exciting extra-curricular activities, that help you to engage with history in new ways and get even more out of your student experience.
These activities can also help you to enhance your CV by gaining valuable transferable skills and experience in areas such as interviewing, film-making, and working with school children.
Some of these projects run each year, so you can get involved at each level of your degree. Others, like the SURE project, are great one-off opportunities.
History in the City (HinC)
History in the City is a widening participation initiative co-organised by a committee of staff and students working closely with student volunteers and local schools.
HinC focusses on bringing history to new audiences in the local community, and to encourage people to engage with history across many levels. The committee currently do this through running three widening participation projects: History in the City Mentoring, the Witness Project and Hands on History.
The HinC committee also runs New Histories, a student-led magazine.
Getting involved with HinC has given me valuable experience in working with public history and given me the opportunity to meet other history students from different years.
History in the City volunteer 2021-22
Hands on History
In Hands on History, student volunteers take historical objects into the classroom to give pupils a hands-on experience of history. The project also gives school pupils the opportunity to find out more about university-level study in general.
HinC Mentoring offers schools small groups sessions focusing on essay and exam skills, overall the aim is to help students gain confidence in their ability to create arguments about history.
HinC Witness is part of the Department of History's wider Witness Project (see below). Witness focuses on oral history and the HinC widening participation program takes this into schools, introducing pupils to oral history and helping them conduct their own interviews.
New Histories e-zine
New Histories is a student-led e-zine, which looks to make historical writing accessible to a wider audience. It presents articles on a range of topics written, edited and published by students.
The Witness Project
Each year a group of History undergraduate students come together to collect and preserve Sheffield's past and heritage through the medium of oral history. Creating an oral archive that can be used for years to come - that's the role of Witness, the department's well-established volunteer oral history programme.
Students receive training in oral history techniques and ethics, before going into the wider community and collecting interviews on a theme that changes from year to year.
The oral history project has helped me to no only get to grips with the city more but has allowed me to talk to people who are years above me and get to hear about their experience within history.
Witness volunteer 2021-22
Visit the Witness Project website
SURE (Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience)
SURE offers students funded research scholarships of over £1,000 to work together with a member of academic staff and/or collaboratively in a research group on a dedicated 'real life' research project. The projects usually take place in the first six weeks of summer before your final year of study.
Recent History SURE projects include:
- A comparative study into relationships between enslaved women and white women in the household in 19th Century America
In summer 2019, Lydia worked with R.J. Knight to explore "the relationships formed between enslaved African American women and their mistresses in the antebellum period". Lydia's work was shortlisted for the International Project Award at the SURE showcase.
"I explored and compared the relations formed between enslaved women and white female slaveholders in antebellum South Carolina and Virginia. The project gave me a great insight into what a career in research would be like, which I had been considering before the project. The experience of the project has been invaluable and allowed me to develop my research skills to a greater degree, as well as my confidence in undertaking research of a higher level."
Lydia, BA History
- Edward I and the making of a 'United Kingdom'
Also in 2019, Charlotte worked with Charles West and Tom Stafford (Department of Psychology) to investigate how location affected Welsh, Scottish and English self-identification in the late-thirteenth and early-fourteenth centuries. Using both static and dynamic mapping techniques and the royal Itinerary of Edward I to demonstrate visually how castles, borders and Edward’s military and peacetime perambulations were the focal points of the 'Rex Britannia', a 'Great Britain' that he sought to create.
"SURE has allowed me to extend my skills-base as a historian – never before had I made such use of statistical and visual data in my work, nor had I created my own maps. I have been contemplating completing a master’s degree in medieval history and hopefully a PhD after that, so SURE has been extremely valuable in giving me an insight into truly independent research, accompanied by collaborative work with academic staff.
I have also been able to publish some of my data work, which is exciting. For anyone aspiring to go into academia or simply expand their academic horizons and research something they are passionate about, the SURE experience is invaluable."
Charlotte, BA History
- The #MeToo movement, intersectionality, and its implications for Dalit women
The Dalits (Untouchables) have long been excluded from Indian history. In 2018, Frances carried out research into Dalit women in the early 20th century, linking it to contemporary challenges in the world’s biggest democracy. Frances won the prize for Best Dissemination of a SURE Project (non-Poster) in the SURE showcase.
"I chose to take part in SURE because it offered an opportunity for me to explore my historical interests, gain valuable experience and develop an important historical skillset for my final year at university."
Francis, BA History
- Gendered justice? The fate of convicted murderers at the Old Bailey, 1780-1880
In 2018, Emma worked with Bob Shoemaker to explore "the different penal outcomes of men and women in the British penal system convicted of murder. It attempts to evaluate what factors: legal, social, economic, gender, influenced the extent to which women were treated differently from male convicts and why this might be the case."
"It has been an exciting adventure and I feel so lucky to be able to do it. I have been thinking about completing a masters and toying with the idea of doing a PhD in the future, and this opportunity has given me the first taste of research that has cemented those plans for my future. I must admit as a mature student, and the first in my family to go to university, I am overwhelmed with the support I receive, not just during the SURE project, but my entire academic journey so far. I had no idea that there were research opportunities open for undergraduates."
Emma, BA History with a Foundation Year
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