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Preaching what we practice: Dr Karol Mullaney-Dignam on Public History

Dr Karol Mullaney-Dignam (Department of History) delivered a paper at the ‘Why Public History?’ Conference held at a snowy Queen’s University Belfast on 7-8 December 2017.

Over 2 days, 12 panels of 33 papers were delivered on a variety of topics concerning the practice of history in the public realm – museums, archives, anniversaries, education – in Ireland, the UK, and further afield.

QUB_snow

The conference featured the annual Keith Jeffery Memorial Lecture, delivered by Professor Jock Phillips (Victorian University and former Chief Historian for the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage). A second keynote was given by Professor Ludmilla Jordanova (Director for the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, Durham University).

A flavour of the proceedings can be found on Twitter: search for #publichistoryatqueens

Public history in the university classroom

Karol’s paper ‘Preaching what you practice: public history in the university classroom’ featured as part of the Inventive approaches to educational engagement panel. Drawing on her experience as a historian both within and beyond the academy, Karol spoke about the challenges of and opportunities for sharing public history skills with undergraduates.

She considered how digital tools and practices are transforming the work of the third-level History teacher and their students, and showed how digital cultural heritage can be used as a vehicle for ‘doing’ public history in the undergraduate classroom. She also reflected on the utility of online resources for blended and technology-enhanced learning using examples of History modules at the University of Limerick that have generated ‘public’ history outputs: Researching Revolutionaries and Irish Aussies: Historical Perspectives.

New online History MA at UL

Karol also shared news of the new online MA in Public History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Limerick. This taught Masters programme provides a structured academic approach to the practice of history in public settings.

It has been developed to include a combination of conceptual, methodological and practice-based modules, thus broadening the student’s intellectual and scholarly experience.

The programme – which is unique in Ireland – will appeal to new graduates as well as those already working in cultural heritage organisations or public institutions, seeking continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities.

Public historians work in a variety of public settings as researchers, historical consultants, museum professionals, archivists, cultural resource managers, curators, historical interpreters, film and media producers, script writers, policy advisers, local historians, and community activists, among others.

The online delivery of the new programme provides flexibility while enabling prospective students to acquire a globally-recognised postgraduate qualification in a cutting-edge area of historical practice.

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