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History of Education Seminar Programme 2018/2019

The ‘History of Education Seminar’ at IHR (Institute of Historical Research) is convened by Georgina Brewis and Gary McCulloch. The seminar attracts speakers from around the world, providing a forum for established historians as well as early-career researchers to present their work. For further information please contact Gary McCulloch or Georgina Brewis at ioe.ichre@ucl.ac.uk

All welcome, no registration required. Unless otherwise stated these seminars are held in the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), Senate House.

Thursday 4 October 2018, 5.30pm, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way (Room 739)

Professor Pam Meecham and Dr Claire Robins  (UCL Institute of Education)

Looking again at Modern Art 

Pam Meecham, Professor of Museum Studies and editor and author of A Companion to Modern Art (2018) and Claire Robins, Reader in Art and Education and author of the Companion’s  ‘A Modern Art Education’, both lecturers and researchers in CCM’s Art, Design and Museology group at the IOE will co-present a session on researching and writing about aspects of Modern Art, c. 1848-1968.

Using the recent publication of Wiley Blackwell’s A Companion to Modern Art, this IHR session will include discussions of the cross-disciplinary approaches taken to writing Modern Art’s contested histories and its legacies in the 21st century. The publication contains 26 chapters in which 28 authors redefine relationships with modernism’s cultural traditions and narrate its diverse contemporary legacies that sometimes invert established assumptions, often reading against the grain of canonical modernism. Looking specifically at Part V, ‘The Modern Artist, the Modern Child, and a Modern Art Education’ we will look at a cross-section of commentaries that re-examine modern art’s historiography to offer stratified narratives that problematize evolutionary developments establishing more pluralistic, geographically wide-ranging readings of the past. Claire Robins will focus of some of the legacies of modern art and modernism for contemporary art education.


Thursday 1 November 2018, Institute of Historical Research,  Peter Marshall Room (N204), 5.30pm

Dr Sian Edwards (University of Winchester)

The rural idyll refashioned: Modernity, citizenship and the English countryside and the mid-twentieth century youth movements

This paper explores the centrality of the English countryside in the citizen training of mid-century youth organisations. Working within a popular discourse that celebrated the English countryside as an idyllic symbol of a shared national past, throughout the period from 1930-1960 numerous organisations envisioned the rural landscape as the space in which the battle for the citizenship of young people could be fought and ultimately won. Be it rolling fields or farmland, the rural sphere was a space in which youth movements projected gendered and class-based understandings of good citizenry. However, this was far from an anti-modern sentiment. This was a rural idyll for a new generation; one in which modern ideas of fitness and leisure were transferred onto the rural landscape and presented as a path to modern citizenship, an ideal which included traditional notions of service alongside a growing emphasis on the rights of the individual.


Thursday 13 December 2018 at 5.30pm, *ROOM CHANGE: Room 541, UCL Institute of Education, Bedford Way, WC1H 0AL* 

Dr Claudia Soares (Queen Mary, University of London)

Teaching children how to feel: Emotional education and children’s experiences in institutional children’s homes in Britain, Australia and Canada, 1850-1914

Emotional dislocation and disruption were common features in the lives of some of the poorest children who moved in and out of residential care in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries across Britain, Australia, and Canada. As other historians have demonstrated, institutional regimes centred on children’s reformation and child rescue discourses focused on institutional successes of transforming children from ‘undomesticated savages’ into ‘industrious, moral citizens’. While recent research has demonstrated how space, material culture and architecture played vital roles in the emotional construction of childhood in a range of settings, scholarship has yet to explore the emotional education and experiences of children growing up in institutional care that formed part of these systems of reform and transformation. This paper draws on a new research project that brings a ‘history of emotions’ perspective to the history of children’s residential care in several major institutions in Britain, Australia, and Canada during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The paper explores the emotional construction of childhood in the institution and examines the ways in which emotional education shaped childhood experiences of and responses to care.  Children’s responses and attitudes – difficult sources to come by – are privileged in this paper. By placing emotional responses at the centre of this research, this paper will highlight how attending to different elements of institutional experience, and using different approaches to institutional sources can generate new understandings of institutional care and childhood experience more broadly.


Thursday 7 February 2019, Institute of Historical Research, Peter Marshall Room (N204), 5.30pm

Dr Lottie Hoare (University of Cambridge)

John Scupham: The written word, the broadcast word and the recorded

John Scupham (1904-1990) is usually best known to historians of  education as Controller of Educational Broadcasting at the BBC and as a  contributor to the Newsom Report of 1963. This talk explores his wider  interest in education from the 1940s to the 1970s. It investigates his concerns over how education was represented in the postwar years by the BBC in programmes aimed at an adult audience. It does not address schools broadcasting but instead it explores the overlap and contradictions between Scupham’s letters and memos held in archives;  oral history transcripts of interviews with John Scupham and the perspective expressed in interviews by his son, the poet, Peter Scupham.


Thursday 7 March 2019, Institute of Historical Research,  Peter Marshall Room (N204), 5.30pm

Dr Deborah Sabric (University of Roehampton)

The Very Recent History of English Free Schools:  Discourse and the Coalition Government’s Education Policy

Free schools, launched in 2011 as part of the rapid expansion of academies, were key components of the Coalition Government’s broader Big Society reform agenda. Noting the decline in educational outcomes on global league tables and the poor state of English education generally, Michael Gove (2010) argued stridently for free schools as an e ducation innovation that could address the pressing issues faced in English schools. This seminar paper will consider the discourses surrounding the development of free school policy, the impact of transnationalist impulses in the discourse and the challenges for historians in researching very recent education history.


Thursday 23 May 2019, Institute of Historical Research,  Peter Marshall Room (N204), 5.30pm

Maria Patricia Williams (UCL Institute of Education)

‘A Pedagogy of Peace’: The contribution of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini to Progressive Education 1880-1917

An Italian schoolteacher, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC) in 1880. She took sisters to the United States to serve Italian migrants in 1889 and went on to establish 70 institutions in nine countries. Her progressive Catholic alternative to modernity’s secular provision has been described as a ‘Pedagogy of Peace’. Jane Martin and Joyce Goodman identified child-centred pedagogy and social reconstructionism as key features evident in the historiography of progressive education. Case studies of MSC practice in Rome, New Orleans and London also identified these features. Additional progressive features of MSC education were an independent, female, professionally qualified teaching force and openness to new educational opportunities. Cabrini did not leave an educational treatise but a lived tradition of practice. This will be considered using sources including letters, school documents and testimonies of teachers, pupils and officers of secular authorities.


Thursday 20 June 2019, Institute of Historical Research,  Peter Marshall Room (N204), 5.30pm

Laura Carter (University of Cambridge)

Gender and secondary education in Britain since 1945

Drawing on quantitative and qualitative research from an ESRC project based in the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, the first part of this paper maps the changing patterns of single-sex and co-education in British secondary schools over the past 70 years. The second part focuses on girls’ experiences of secondary modern schools in the 1950s and 1960s using newly-constructed life histories from the 1946 British birth cohort study, in order to understand how this much-marginalised but entirely mainstream group of women understood their educational trajectories across the life-course. The paper concludes with some observations on the relationship between structural and policy change, and everyday experiences of and attitudes to secondary education in relation to gender




Monday 17 December

Termly symposia ‘Merit and Education’. Follow link for full details. 


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