This case study concerns the public understanding of history as a
practical discipline. Through a series of high-profile research
publications, popular articles, and textbooks, Professor John Tosh's
research has had an impact in two distinct ways. Firstly, these
publications have been incorporated into teaching and lecturing practice
internationally, influencing students' understanding of the discipline.
Secondly, they have had an impact on wider public understanding of history
as a practical discipline. The reach and significance of
this impact is demonstrated by publication sales and readership figures,
high-profile critical reception, political debate and wider public
Through accessible local history resources co-produced by academics and
Riden has helped to open up previously academic-focused research to new,
local audiences. He
has empowered amateur historians through new research skills to take an
active role in
documenting and thereby conserving their communities' histories (this has
publishing their own research). He has contributed to an improved quality
of visitor experience at a
local heritage organisation through providing new knowledge and confidence
to volunteer guides.
Through translating the co-produced resources for use in primary and
secondary schools, he has
given children new research skills which they have then used to develop
new understanding of
their community's history.
Since 1948, Leicester historians have transformed the way we look at the
past by pioneering new
methodologies centred on Local History. In the last two decades, this
"Leicester Approach" has
reconnected history to ordinary people, involving them in historical
research and showing in
practical ways the relationship between history and local communities.
This case-study highlights
the public impact of Leicester's latest research projects, which have
local communities to explore, understand and enjoy their family, regional
and cultural histories. In a
fast-moving, migratory world, the projects enhance public awareness of a
shared past, boost local
place attachment, and foster cultural understanding and cohesion.
Keele University's long-standing research expertise in local history,
particularly that of its immediate region, has had a significant and
enduring impact on professional practice, community resilience and
individual well-being. Keele historians have provided vital assistance to
local archivists and heritage practitioners in the preservation and public
dissemination of the region's history and cultural heritage through the
provision of substantial works of reference and support for study-days and
community `road shows'. Their research has helped sustain local societies
and encouraged a variety of volunteering initiatives, whereby groups and
individuals are empowered to engage in their own study of the past.
The impact that pertains to this case study is located in three domains.
Firstly, lay engagement with the understanding and appreciation of
ecclesiastical history via public lectures. Secondly, informing
understanding about the historical, theological and philosophical
processes attached to the discipline of ecclesiastical history through
expert comments in the mass media. Thirdly, through the organisation of
conferences leading to the development of international societies,
international partnerships, and engagement with the general public and
dissemination of original research.
Diarmaid MacCulloch's lifelong research in Church History led to the
momentous undertaking of a
one-volume History of Christianity (2009). Reviewers agreed that
it was not merely a masterly
presentation of an immense amount of data but also broke new ground in its
novel take on the
historical narrative of this religion. This work alerted BBC producers who
contracted MacCulloch for
a series of six one-hour-long episodes. The series was screened twice on
BBC4 in November and
December 2009, on BBC2 in January 2010 and on BBC4 again at Easter 2010.
subsequently issued on DVD in European and US formats. Discussions of the
work in the media
and extensive viewer feedback testify to its impact on the cultural life
in the UK and internationally.
Released viewer figures for the TV series and sales figures for the DVD
are indicative of the impact
MacCulloch's work has had on economic prosperity.
Research on the discipline of Dutch Studies conducted at UCL contributed
from the Raad voor de Nederlandse Taal en Letteren (Council for Dutch
Language and Literature),
providing policy advice to the Committee of Ministers overseeing the Dutch
Language Union, the
intergovernmental organisation responsible for the internal and external
language policies of the
Netherlands and Flanders. This in turn led to a new policy of the Dutch
Language Union, which
influences a €12 million annual budget supporting Dutch language
infrastructure across the world.
It also led to substantial worldwide debate amongst university teachers
and to changes in how
these subjects are taught and researched.
This case study in public history research activity has achieved impact
through promoting lay
engagement with twentieth-century local history and extending popular
commemoration and ownership of the recent histories of local people,
institutions. A particular area of influence has been in relation to
informing understanding of the
history and heritage of urban council estates. Research has also
influenced the development of
good practice in digital preservation and archiving, and in the creation
and use of historical e-resources
by individuals, communities and schools.
Lancaster's History department has built on its tradition of service and
consultancy to transform public resources for, and engagement with, the
history of northern England (Lancashire, Cumbria, Northumberland, and the
Borders). This has been achieved through: i) creating open-access
databases of historical sources with tailored support for non-academic
users; ii) training non-academics in historical research and
engaging them in projects, thereby empowering people in the region and
beyond to `do history', particularly through the Victoria County
History, Cumbria: a community-based project fostering life-long
learning, led by the department and funded through partnership with a
charitable trust; iii) contributing to the development of a new
archive centre in Carlisle, thus enhancing the region's archival
The Better History Forum (BHF), based at Anglia Ruskin University, has
had significant influence
on the formation of government policy on the teaching of history in
schools, and was instrumental
in shaping the current revision to the National Curriculum for history
during 2011-13. Research
undertaken by the BHF has changed the parameters of debate about the place
of history in the
classroom. Expert advice has been provided to the government through
ministers and senior civil servants.