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Centre for Public History

Our Centre for Public History provides a forum for research and teaching concerned with the place of history in public life. We explore the rich and diverse ways history is represented and debated 'in public', from museums and heritage sites, film and media, to policy, business and tourism.

We continue the work pioneered by the Centre for Local and Regional History, building relationships with communities and organisations in Colchester, Essex and East Anglia through lectures, student placements and public engagement projects. At the same time, we are active in national and global conversations in the new and dynamic field of public history, from mapping the memories of war to staging the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Research projects

Research projects involving members of the Centre for Public History include:

  • Gateways to the First World War

    Gateways to the First World War is a centre for public engagement with the Great War centenary, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Our aim is to encourage and support public interest in the centenary through a range of events and activities such as open days and study days, advice on access to materials and expertise, and signposting for other resources and forms of support.

  • Reflections on the Centenary of the First World War

    Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), over the course of three years (2017 – 2020) this project sets out to both evaluate the extent to which the range of commemorative activities undertaken since 2014 has engaged with, challenged, or changed the cultural memory of the war.

  • War Memoryscapes in Asia Partnership (WARMAP)

    The War Memoryscapes in Asia Partnership, led by the University of Essex and funded by the UK’s Leverhulme Trust, brings together scholars from Europe, Asia and Australia to help trace the trends and developments of World War Two remembrance that is emerging across Asia.

Community engagement and MA placements

Members of the Centre for Public History are involved in a number of community engagements. Our MA students can also choose to take a placement in the local community as part of their studies. Some of our community engagement work includes:

Research outputs

Some of our members key research outputs include:

  • A Peril of the Sea

    Dr Jeremy Krikler is currently researching the eighteenth century British slave trade. His upcoming play to be shown in December at both the Lakeside Theatre (Essex) and the Bloomsbury Studio (London) brings this research to the public, focusing on the story of the slave ship Zong and exploring the atrocities which occurred in the Caribbean in 1781.

    A Peril of the Sea
  • Body Games - Capoeira and Ancestry

    The documentary Body Games - Capoeira and Ancestry is one of the major outcomes of the research project The Angolan Roots of Capoeira: Transatlantic Links of a Globalised Performing Art.

    The film is co-directed by Richard Pakleppa, Professor Matthias Röhrig Assunção and capoeira master Cobra Mansa, and follows Cobra Mansa on travels through Angola and Brazil in search of the historical roots of his art. The journey explores deeper connections between slavery, identity and society.

  • I Remember the Fall of Singapore

    I Remember the Fall of Singapore, written and conceptualized by Dr Mark R. Frost and directed by Michel Cayla, was commissioned by Channel News Asia for the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942.

Centre members

See our individual academic staff profiles for information about our members' research interests:

Our academic staff

Dr Nadine Rossol

Our academic staff are internationally recognised for their expertise across a range of areas in history. Find out more about their research interests by reading their staff profiles.

Postgraduate study

Postgraduate student from the Department of History

We are a leading centre for history postgraduate study at both Masters and PhD level. Become part of our active research community and benefit from the expert teaching and supervision of our academic staff.

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Research Repository

A historical book being examined

Our Research Repository contains an extensive range of publications by academics from our Department. Read our leading historical papers and see why we have gained our international reputation for research excellence.