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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 ICHRE (International Centre for Historical Research in Education) members. 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)

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, Institute of Historical Research, Peter Marshall Room (N204) 

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.


ICHRE Seminars 2018/2019

ICHRE’s occasional seminars aim to provide a forum for established historians as well as early career researchers and postgraduate students to present and discuss their work. The seminar seeks to foster a culture of collegiality among those – at UCL Institute of Education and elsewhere – exploring education and learning from a historical perspective. Contact m.freeman@ucl.ac.uk for more information.


Thursday 27 September, 5.15 pm, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way (Room 739)

Professor Peter Kallaway, University of Cape Town

Samuel Krune Mqhayi : Xhosa patriot, poet and historian, and the Education of the Xhosa : 1900 to 1945

Mqhayi was perhaps the foremost Xhosa poet and historian in the first half of the twentieth century who provides a wonderful case study of a man located within the complex dynamics of the traditional and the modern, a Xhosa man, and a Christian; a rural man deeply concerned about the welfare of his people and a journalist who was commentator on national and international politics; a defender of his “national identity” but a subject of the British Empire. Because he only wrote in isiXhosa, as an imiBongi (praise poet), novelist and historian, this rich source of our historical heritage has only come to light in English recently through the amazing work of Patricia Scott, Jeff Opland, Luvo Mabinza, Koliswa Moropa, Nonsisi Mpolweni, Abner Nyamende and Peter Mtuze.

Mqhayi early recognised that his views of Xhosa history and tradition did not accord with the view of the missionaries at Lovedale and were part of the reasons he gives in his autobiography for his departure from the institution as a student and as a teacher. But as a result of the major orthographic changes to the Xhosa language introduced in the 1930s in accordance with international standards for languages and printing for school in Africa, he was controversially involved in the crafting and implementation of the new orthography under the influence of Diedrich Westermann (Berlin University and the International Institute of African Languages and Culture, London) and the South African Orthographical Committee under the guidance of Prof. C.M. Doke of Wits University and W.G. Bennie, Inspector of Native Education in the Cape in the 1920s.


Monday 17 December

Termly symposia ‘Merit and Education’ (Details to follow)


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