'Why Public History?' Conference - Queen's University Belfast

12 December 2017


On 7-8 December 2017, Dr Karol Mullaney-Dignam delivered a paper at the ‘Why Public History?’ Conference held at a snowy Queen's University Belfast. 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 – revealing the vibrancy of the field in Ireland, the UK, and beyond.

Karol’s paper ‘Preaching what you practice: public history in the university classroom’ featured as part of a panel on Inventive approaches to educational engagement. Drawing on her experience both within and beyond the academy, she spoke about the challenges of and opportunities for sharing public history skills with undergraduates. Digital tools and practices are transforming both public history and third-level History teaching and learning. Digital cultural heritage can be a vehicle for blended and technology-enhanced education, and 'doing’ public history in the classroom. Open access online resources have been used by History students at the University of Limerick to generate such outputs as an online research showcase (Researching Revolutionaries) and a WordPress site (Irish Aussies: Historical Perspectives).

Karol also shared news of the Department’s new online MA in Public History and Cultural Heritage. This taught Masters programme provides a structured academic approach to the practice of history in public settings and has been developed to include a combination of conceptual, methodological and practice-based modules. 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. The online delivery will provide flexibility while enabling prospective students to acquire a globally-recognised postgraduate qualification in a cutting-edge area of historical practice.