All posts by rjb57

Beyond the Barricade – Private viewing

We kindly invite you to attend the Private View of Beyond the Barricade on 27th of September.

Beyond the Barricade exhibition takes place from 28th of September to 30th of November at Studio 3 Gallery (University of Kent).

With a great honour, Beyond the Barricade has been supported by the nationally funded project, the Age of Revolution, in partnership with Waterloo 200.

Based on the spirit of the French Revolution, Beyond the Barricade brings artists from various nations together to look at different dimensions of revolutions. By documenting past upheavals and recent events, the exhibition aims to present artistic creation as a form of social and political action.

Details of the Private View
Thursday 27 September
Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7UG
-with live performance and live spray painting
-beverage and snacks are provided

Beyond the Barricade highlights

  • Featuring artists: Thirsty Bstrd, Jimmy Cauty, Daniel Etter, Peihang Huang, Gavin Jantjes, kennardphillipps, Marina Naprushkina, Ahmet Ögüt, Keith Piper, Miss Pokeno, Jamie Reid, Warren Richardson, Francesco Tuccio, Art of Maidan
  • Various art medium: Painting, Photography, Video, Installation art, Art Prints.
  • Multiple events: Chalk Movement, Talks, Screenings, School Visit.

Please confirm your attendance of the Private View by clicking RSVP.
We would kindly like to note that the RSVP will be received until 20 September.

For more information, please visit our Facebook page “Beyond the Barricade Exhibition” and Instagram account “beyondthebarricade2018”.

If you have any questions about the event please email

Best wishes,
MA Curating group



Bowes Museum, Ralph Roberts

From June 18-22, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Bowes Museum to work with the staff there in developing a programme for the Age of revolution project. Having never been to County Durham, or the North East in general, I was taken with the beautiful countryside of Teesdale and the surrounding area – it’s certainly a very scenic part of the United Kingdom! The Bowes Museum itself fits in with the surrounding aesthetic: built in the style of a French chateau, it reminded me somewhat of the Royal Villa in Monza that I visited as part of a University of Kent trip to Italy this past April.

The Bowes Museum was the vision of John and Josephine Bowes, both art lovers who wished to create a museum situated in the North East to house their vast and varied collection of paintings and objects. Though both had died by the time of the museum’s opening in 1892, their vision created a space and a legacy that has lasted to this day, and it is one that continues to develop. Among the museum’s collection is a range of materials relating to Napoleon and Napoleonic Europe, and it is this collection that I sought to view to assist Bowes in developing a project in conjunction with Kent.

On the Monday I met Julia Dunn, Education Co-ordinator at the Bowes Museum and my principal contact prior to my trip up. She gave me a tour of the museum, both on the public side and behind the scenes, to give me an opportunity to view first-hand some of the artwork and artefacts that might form elements of the enterprise, as well as some other interesting items including The Silver Swan, an automaton dating from 1773 that ‘catches’ a fish in a 32-second display! As fascinating as this and other objects/artwork were, I was there to view Napoleonic material, and to this end Bowes has pieces that are just as interesting: I would argue more interesting, and that is not simply because of my own bias! A Staffordshire-made ceramic jug depicting Napoleon made between 1802 and 1810 particularly aroused my interest – why was such an item being made in Britain at this time? Another object with intriguing implications was a French-made snuff box depicting Napoleon dating from the 1830s, perhaps suggesting that the ‘allure of Napoleon’ (to steal the name of an exhibition put on by the museum last year) lasted beyond his fall in 1815, and even his death in 1821.

Over the course of the next few days I met with staff at the Bowes Museum involved in different areas of running the museum, and I began to get a practical sense of how a Napoleon-based project targeted to upper Key Stage 2 and lower Key Stage 3 students might come together. Working with Julia and her team over a series of meetings, we were able to put together the framework of the project at an encouragingly quick rate over the course of the week. To this end Julia and I met with Dr Thomas Stammers of the University of Durham, an expert on French history of the long nineteenth century. Dr Stammers co-curated the ‘Allure of Napoleon’ exhibition at the Bowes, so he is very aware of the nature of the museum’s collection; his advice and expertise were very welcome in helping to formulate our plans going forward. It was a bonus to have this meeting in Durham itself, with the cathedral forming a very pleasant backdrop to a stimulating chat over tea – I’d love to go back soon and have a proper wander!

One of the key challenges that we had to address was considering how to integrate this project within the parameters of the national curriculum; an overwhelming insistence on British-centric history in the curriculum means that we need to ensure that there is a significant British dimension to ensure that the project is sufficiently relevant. One possible method would be to encourage students to think about how they would feel if they were living in Britain when the nation was at war with Napoleon’s empire. Ultimately Napoleonic history is European history, and indeed global history, and it would be remiss to attempt to divide Britain away as a separate entity, despite Napoleon’s own attempts to do so through the Blockade. However, given the nature of the curriculum, it would not be wise to attempt a project that relegates Britain to a secondary position, and great care will be taken to ensure that this is not the case, even though there is plenty about Napoleon’s story that is both fascinating to students and does not involve Britain to any great extent. Still, the game must be played as the rules dictate, and my own snide comments will not change anything! It is certainly different from when I was at school, and there was very little British history on the syllabus at any level – how times have changed!

In order to learn more about what teachers are looking for in a project of this nature, I was fortunate enough to attend a conference for key stage 2 and 3 history teachers at Spennymoor, an opportunity arranged by Julia that I was most grateful for. Speaking to teachers underlined that we had to be sure that the project suited curriculum guidelines – it would not have garnered any interest had we ignored these requirements and planned something that did not directly link to government guidelines for the teaching of history at key stages 2 and 3. In the course of the conference Julia and I spoke to a number of teachers and encouraged some solid interest in our venture, and as a result we have three schools signed up to undertake the workshop and outreach programme this coming autumn. My experiences at the conference underlined how vital it is to talk to professionals in the education sector and to garner their views on the project and the extent to which it complies with the guidelines that they are required to follow. Fortunately, our work during the week meant that we had a proposal strong enough to encourage teachers to sign up, but consultation with them on the day and attending workshops gave us a greater understanding of how to comply with regulations and how the Napoleon project needs to be structured.

Upon returning from the conference on the Friday, I was introduced to a delegation from the Spanish embassy that was visiting Bowes to view the museum’s collection of Spanish paintings. They were embarking on a nationwide project to catalogue Spanish art in British galleries and museums, so the Bowes was an important place to visit given the presence of some Spanish masters’ works in their galleries. The delegation was kind enough to listen to our plans for the Napoleon venture, and indeed they took an interest in it, given Napoleon’s involvement with Spain. It was interesting to get their perspectives given that they had studied Napoleon at school, and it was fascinating to compare the Spanish approach to education – both past and present – with the British. It was also slightly surreal to be included in a picture on their Twitter page, but it’s clear that doing projects like these come with unexpected perks! In all seriousness, it was a pleasure to have met them, and it is always valuable to exchange ideas with as wide a network as possible, and certainly to take advantage of any fortuitous meetings.

Overall, my time at the Bowes Museum was highly productive and was tremendously helpful in terms of visualising the transition from planning to delivering this project centred on Napoleon Bonaparte. By meeting with museum staff, outside experts, and the teachers that will potentially be bringing students to the Bowes, I was able to develop and refine the existing ideas in conjunction with Julia, with whom I feel I developed a very goo working relationship over the course of the week. It was a pleasure to be able to work at the museum; it is a stunning building, and the view from the library on the top floor certainly provided a wonderful aesthetic against which to work. I’m very much looking forward to returning, not only to see more of the North-East but also to see the fruits of our labour! I am very grateful to Julia, and to all of the staff at Bowes, for their help and expertise, and to Dr Stammers for taking the time to meet with me in Durham. It was a fantastic week, and I’d encourage anyone on the Age of Revolution project that’s directly involved with a site to visit and hopefully you will have as varied and as productive a week as I did!

Age of Revolution get together

I would like to invite you to a ‘regroup’ of the Student Ambassador cohort and project leads to look at progress made so far with the project and what’s to come over the next few months.

This will take place on Tuesday 22nd May at 4pm, in Cornwallis East Seminar room 2. Please could you sign up on the following Eventbrite page

There will be wine and nibbles! See you there!

Trip to Waterloo, Ben B

The trip to Waterloo proved to be an educationally and socially enriching experience. As a first year at the University of Kent, the trip was so much better than anything I had experience formally in education. Over the course of the four days we visited a total of six museums, each with their own appeal and important insight on history. The majority of these were to do with the battle of Waterloo, which is hardly surprising given that we were staying in Waterloo, but I think what may have surprised me the most was the fact that even though they were focused on the same battle, each museum still managed to provide new information or provide the information in such a way that they were still interesting and informative. By far the most fascinating of these exhibits to myself was the presentation provided to us at Hougoumont farm. With two large screens, each carved to represent either the British or French cavalry charge, the museum managed to create more than just a simple presentation and produced an engaging and visually pleasing display that certainly will not be leaving my mind any time soon. Another eye opening and particularly notable experience on the trip was climbing to the top of the Butte du Lion. After almost dying from doing more physical activity I think I’ve done since I was five by climbing up the stairs, the view at the top proved to be worth it. From the statue, one could see out into the fields in which one of the most famous battles in British History took place. I felt this experience was even more complimented by the fact we had Dr. Tim Bowman’s lecture the evening before giving us a rundown of the battle. Each of the museums were fantastic and if I had to recommend a visit to Waterloo to any student, lecturer or just anyone interested in the field in history, I certainly would.

However, the educational side of the trip was not the only reason it was fantastic for me. Being a first year I had never really had contact with many students studying history that were second or third years. The trip proved to connect me to both students that were more experienced than myself and students that certainly were more knowledgeable. This led to a plethora of fascinating discussions on all that is history as well as any topics of interest I actually have (which are far too nerdy to include on this blog) and even led to me making quite a close friend as a result. Furthermore, as well as meeting generally interesting people, it also helped me to decide what to do next year and resulted in me receiving a lot of tips on how to write essays.

Overall the experience at Waterloo was one I will certainly not forget any time soon. It not only gave myself and the other students that I have spoken to since an insight into the horrors and historical significance of the Battle of Waterloo and the Napoleonic Wars as a whole, it was a lovely experience and gave the students and lecturers involved in the Age of Revolution project a chance to bond. I immensely enjoyed the trip and am looking forward to working with and for the Age of Revolution project in the future.

Trip to Waterloo 8-11 February 2018 by Megan K

As someone who had very little knowledge of the Napoleonic Wars prior to visiting Waterloo, my experience there was eye-opening, to say the least. In my native Pennsylvania, students of history are predominately instructed on topics relating to Native Americans, the Imperial Crisis of the American Revolution, the Civil War and Reconstruction, World War II, and the Civil Rights Movement.  My only previous connection to the 20-year conflict in general was through a fifth-grade lesson on the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, where we learned of the bombardment of Fort McHenry and Francis Scott Key’s penning of the Star-Spangled Banner.  In fact, to add to my shame, the earliest I can recall gaining any insight into the legend of Napoleon Bonaparte was through the Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum.  On the bright side, the narrow scope of American-centric history made me all the more appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Age of Revolution project.

Our journey began with a visit to the Ambulance Museum of Mont Saint-Jean, which fabulously illustrated the absolute brutality of the Battle of Waterloo. The exhibits we visited emphasized a sense of humanity within the battle.  The people involved in this decisive battle were not just soldiers, they were fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons who battled in grimmest of conditions.  Many met violent ends and those who were lucky enough to survive were often left mentally and physically damaged.  After this humbling introduction to the engagement, Dr. Tim Bowman provided an extremely insightful talk to set the stage for the next day’s battlefield walk.  Discussing the military strategies exercised by both sides as well as the weaponry utilized, the Age of Revolution crew was thoroughly prepared to visit the scene of the crime.

After a fueling up with a plate of dumplings and a good night’s sleep, we took on the 1815 Memorial Museum, la Butte du Lion, and Hougoumont. Honestly, I could have spent the entire day exploring the Memorial Museum alone.  The materials were so well presented and the artifacts were so well curated that I spent half of my time marveling at the layout of the museum and half of my time surveying the actual items it houses.  The next step, or steps I suppose, 225 of them to be exact, was visiting the Lion’s Mound.  Not only did I realize how out of shape I am, I also came to fully realize the extent of the catastrophe at Waterloo.  Standing on top of the Mound, I was able to look out, recalling Dr. Bowman’s illustration of the battle, and truly appreciate the efforts and the tenacity that both sides brought to the table during this immense clash.  Afterward, a short stroll to Hougoumont provided the group with an intriguing and endearing account of Britain’s successful endeavor to prevent the property from falling into Napoleon’s hands.  As a historian with rather limited experience but quite high interest in military history, I was baffled by the fact that some 26,000 troops engaged in the fight for Hougoumont and its surrounding area.  To say that the second day of our excursion left an impression would be an absolute understatement.

Our last full day in beautiful Belgium started with a talk by Dr. Ambrogio Caiani at Napoleon’s headquarters. If it hadn’t been for the excruciatingly windy conditions, I could have listened to Dr. Caiani discuss the location and its significance all day.  After a quick pit stop to warm up with a cup of tea, we headed back to utilize the meeting rooms at the Memorial Museum, hearing several fascinating sessions on sources and objects and how these materials can provide substance to any lesson in revolutionary history.  Speakers such as Arthur Burns and several University of Kent ambassadors enlightened us on not only how to access these resources, but additionally how to take advantage of physical items and allow them to bring history to life for students.  To conclude a wonderful weekend of exploring, the group headed to the National Army Museum in Brussels where we were able to freely roam through the exhibits, exploring the history of the Belgian military.  After such an informative weekend, I genuinely cannot believe how little I knew about the Napoleonic Wars a few days prior, and I am exciting to continue learning about the conflicts independently.

As a former primary school teacher, I really appreciate that the project provides educators with the tools necessary to better understand this era of history as well as to present the material in a way that fully engages a younger audience. I enjoyed the fact that the trip was inclusive of those with a minimal understanding of the Battle of Waterloo in addition to those with extensive knowledge of the historical significance.  Not only were the organizers of the trip always willing to provide a deeper background into the unfolding of the events, the museums and monuments we attended as a group were accessible and very well assembled.  After a brilliant weekend of networking, meeting fellow historians, and hearing about the specific historical interests of others, I can confidently say that the opportunity to work on the Age of Revolution project as a PhD student at the University of Kent is an absolute privilege.

Age of Revolution project launch event!

We would like to invite you all to attend a ‘launch’ event for the Age of Revolution project on Thursday 18th January 2018 at 18:00-19:30 in Grimond Seminar room 8.

Drinks and nibbles will be provided.  Please let me know you are able to attend by registering at​

We look forward to seeing you there!



Let me introduce myself…..

Hi! My name is Becky Beach and I have recently been recruited as the Project Administrator to provide administrative support to the Waterloo 200 legacy project.

I have been working at the University of Kent for just over 4 years now; my main role working in the Deans offices providing administrative support to the Deans, their PA’s and the three Faculty Heads of Administration. I have also had roles in the School of History, Centre for American Studies and the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, as Programmes Co-ordinator – I spent 15 months there and loved every second!

I keep myself busy outside of work ‘entertaining’ my 7 year old daughter, tending my allotment, socialising and planning fun events and trips with friends! I am also studying for an Access module in People, work and Society through the Open University, with the hope to go on and study for a degree, possibly in History, subsequently!

I am really looking forward to working on this project with you all and I hope that I can provide advice and assistance along the way! I hope to meet you very soon, but please feel free to email me whenever, in the meantime, if you have any questions at