Student Testimony – School of History Internship

In February, I enrolled as a Recruitment, Admissions and Communications Intern for the School of History as part of the Work-Study scheme. The work-study scheme is run by the University’s Career and Employability Service and helps students to undertake part-time work in a range of career pathways.

As I am interested in social media and communications as a career path after I graduate, the e-mail from Work-Study scheme describing this internship was incredibly attractive to me. In particular, the social media focus of the internship was what encouraged me to apply. Even better, the role is located within the School of History, the subject I am currently studying. The role has allowed me to work alongside the very people that organise and administer my course, which has increased my sense of involvement within the History department.

I believe that the experience I have gained during this internship has given me an insight into communications related jobs, and really helped me to understand that this is something that I would like to pursue. The tasks that I have carried out have been wide-ranging. From learning about the School of History’s undergraduate application process to writing content for Twitter, the variety of tasks have been interesting and engaging. I have also been able to develop my editing and creative skills by writing blog posts and newsletter articles. This is something I have never done before, and so, the internship has helped to widen my skill set. It has also been really interesting to learn about the very process that I went through in 2016 when I applied to the University of Kent. Under the ‘admissions’ part of the internship, I have been able to see behind the scenes of undergraduate admissions, by sorting through and organising applications.

For me, working (sensible hours!) alongside my studies has been incredibly valuable. I have always understood the importance of having work experience, as it has employability benefits and can help with career progression after graduation. The Recruitment, Admissions and Communication Internship role has been perfect for me, as it has given me a great opportunity to work flexibly and gain relevant work experience alongside my studies.

I have always struggled with knowing what career path I want to follow, and sometimes it feels as if everyone around you is on track and has a set career plan that they want to follow. If this sounds familiar and relatable, I would strongly encourage trying to gain work experience in areas that you enjoy, and think you might like. There are many opportunities to explore, and you might surprise yourself and find something that you enjoy and want to follow.

Molly – Third Year Undergraduate BA History

Students visit Ypres

Earlier in the month, 11 students (8 MA and 3 PhDs) and 4 members of staff visited Ypres in an exciting and valuable trip. Students were exposed to different museum interpretations of the First World War, visiting four separate museums, including the In Flanders Fields Museum Ieper.

Dominiek Dendooven, the Deputy Curator, gave an introductory session, which helped annotate the students as to the approaches and underpinning principles of the institution. This was followed by a visit to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum at Zonnebeke, where Projects Co-Ordinator Debbie Manhaeve gave an overview of the museum’s activities and mission, as well as providing an excellent insight into its archives. Finally, the last two institutions were private concerns, being the Hooge Crater Museum and the Hill 62/Sanctuary Wood Museum. These were deliberately chosen, as the Hooge Crater Museum reflects what dedicated local historians can achieve and the Sanctuary Wood Museum is run almost solely for profit and very little has changed from when it first took visitors in the early 1920s.

Professor Sophie de Schaepdrijver

The aim of the trip was to expose students to different commemorative cultures, achieved through exploring a range of different memorial sites. Cemeteries and memorials of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission were explored and subsequently contrasted against the French, Belgian and German counterparts. Professor Sophie de Schaepdrijver, formerly a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the School, was particularly helpful, as she interpreted the German cemetery at Langemark absolutely brilliantly, proving the students with fascinating insights.

Some students were asked to prepare short introductory talks at certain spots, with Nick Perry, Amy Harrison, Natasha Silk, Julian Daggett, Matt Pearce and Brad Robb providing intriguing and informative accounts, including the stories of relatives from the war, and their graves and sites of commemoration.

 

Matt Pearce as a student guide

Finally, students were trained to act as guides, as part of our AHRC-funded centre, Gateways to the First World War, which is leading a project that provides student guides for the Anglican Church of St George’s. Students took visitors on the trail of the original generation of pilgrim-tourists in the 1920s. This was led by Amy Harrison and Natasha Silk.

This was a great trip, thanks to the Faculty and school funds gained, which were invaluable.

University helps map environmental way forward with Green Heritage film

A major initiative aimed at raising the profile of green spaces in the Canterbury district has received a boost with the release of a new film by a Kent environmental historian.

Dr Karen Jones of the University’s School of History, working with Dr Eirini Saratsi of its School of Anthropology and Conservation, helped launch the Growing Canterbury’s Green Heritage initiative in October 2018.

The film provides a campaigning focus for those working on environmental and green space projects in the district.

Please read the full article here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/news/society/21009/university-helps-map-environmental-way-forward-with-green-heritage-film#.

University historian Dr Emily Guerry uncovers Danny Dyer’s royal ancestry

Senior Lecturer at University of Kent, Dr Emily Guerry, has recently appeared on a BBC One documentary offering her knowledge and expertise on Medieval History.

The documentary, Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family, follows British TV actor and personality, Danny Dyer, as he discovers his royal ancestry. Dr. Guerry reveals to Dyer that he is distantly related to the French King Louis IX, a devout religious leader who died in 1270.

Dr. Guerry explained: “He wasn’t just a king… he was a Saint. Twenty-seven years after his death, the Pope canonised him Saint Louis. There are very few saints that aren’t virgins or martyrs, so to have the blood of a saint in your blood is an extraordinary thing.”

Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family aired on 23 January and is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer, or alternatively read about it here: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jan/14/danny-dyer-discovers-more-royal-ancestry-with-french-king-saint-louis.

 

Do you want to study history? Top tips from a graduate

Recent history graduate George Evans-Hulme gives his top tips and advice on how to get the most out of your history degree.

George’s article for History Extra includes a day in the life of an undergraduate, information on how much reading is involved and what opportunities a history degree can give you. He also advises how best to progress.

You can read his article here: https://www.historyextra.com/period/history-degree-study-university-tips-advice/ .

 

Trip to Paris, December 2018

From 11–13 December 2018, Dr. Emily Guerry led a group of twelve third -year students from her Saints, Relics, and Churches and Gothic Art modules on an exciting fieldtrip to Paris. She was joined by two of her PhD students, Mr Noah Smith and Mx Han Tame, who work as GTAs in the School of History and who provided invaluable support throughout the excursion.

Together, they visited the Basilica of Saint-Denis, the cathedrals of Notre -Dame de Paris and Notre-Dame de Chartres, and the Sainte-Chapelle to marvel at medieval design and engineering. They also went to the Musée du Louvre, Musée du Cluny, and the Cité d’Architecture et du Patrimoine to examine dozens of medieval objects crafted in wood, stone, plaster, glass, gems, gold, and ivory.

The fieldtrip was an astonishing success as it enhanced and enriched the students’ understanding of the source material through close encounters with the sites and things we examined in our modules. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the School of History and the University of Kent Internationalisation fund for supporting this once-in-a-lifetime educational experience for our third-year students.

Some student reports and testimonies from the trip are below:

Edward Aylott

“At the end of last term, we as a group of third-year history students were given the opportunity to visit many of the cathedrals, abbeys and churches that we have spent the last three months reading and being taught about. It was fantastic, and quite surreal to see these buildings in the flesh, and something I’m quite sure I would not have been able to do without the help of funding from the University. A particular highlight for me was out visit to Cité d’Architecture, which among other things houses a collection of plaster casts of many of France’s finest examples of medieval architecture. Seeing some of these pieces of monumental sculpture up close more than anything gave me a real sense of their truly massive scale; something that could never have been appreciated through the photographs I’d seen in books and on lecture slides. With this in mind, I’d like to thank Dr. Guerry, Rob Brown and the University for organizing this for us. It was a splendid trip that I’ll remember for some time, not to mention the great help it has had to my studies in medieval art history.”

Lydia McCutcheon

“The trip to Paris was an incredible way to end the term of studying the rise of Gothic architecture and medieval belief. Even those who had visited Paris before saw the sculpture. architecture and artwork in a new light due to knowledge acquired during the term. We were so fortunate to have the trip funded by the School of History, allowing everyone to experience medieval Paris.”

Lucy Gwyther

“The Paris trip was an amazing opportunity to experience the art and architecture which I have studied in the Art of Death, Gothic Art, and Saints, Relics and Churches modules, in real life, guided by the expertise of Dr. Emily Guerry. It gave me a clearer understanding of the scale and extraordinary detail of the work, and thus the impression it would have had on those viewing it over 700 years ago. Thank you so much to the School of History and Dr. Guerry for making this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible, and for enriching my understanding of medieval art and architecture.”

Ellen Meade

“I would like to thank the School of History for funding the field trip to Paris. It was a great asset to my studies to view so many artworks that we had studied as the trip helped me to contextualize and view in detail the spaces we have spent so long learning. Being able to visit the sites and view the decorative elements of the Cathedrals up close was a privilege I would not have been able to undertake on my own and I would like to thank the School of History for allowing me to do so.”

Gemma Downing

“The recent trip to Paris was both interesting and very beneficial for my studies. This is not only because it was fascinating to explore and study the different medieval cathedrals and churches, it aided me with my studies on the ‘Saints, Relics and Churches’ module. In particular, it allowed me to visually learn about the building that we had previously looked at in our seminars, such as the Saint-Denis, Chartres, the Notre Dame, and the Sainte-Chapelle. This was very useful to me as prior to studying ‘Saints, Relics and Churches’ I had only studied modern and social history – therefore, I found this module challenging at the start because of it’s medieval nature. Hence, I did not have a clear understanding on the history of these cathedrals, nor did I have a great understanding of their importance in the veneration of saints. Therefore, the trip to Paris allowed me to clarify my understanding of cathedrals such as Saint-Denis and the Sainte-Chapelle and expand my understanding of their importance in medieval Paris. I am very grateful for the School of History for giving us the opportunity to visit Paris, as it provided me with a new experience of Paris. This is because when I have previous visited Paris, I had only visited the Eiffel Tower and the outside of the Notre Dame. The trip therefore provided me with a new understanding of Paris and it’s medieval history.”

 

 

History Festival Lecture 2019

The School of History is delighted to invite you to attend our annual History Festival Lecture, which will take place in Darwin Lecture Theatre 1 on Wednesday 13 Februrary at 4PM, to be followed by a wine reception.

Our speaker is Professor Matthew Gabriele, who is the Chair of the Department of Religion and Culture at Viriginia Tech University. His research examines the history of religion and violence in the Middle Ages as well as the modern world. This include events and ideas such as the Crusades, apocalyptic expectation, religion, and politics. He is also a public advocate against the galvanization of Medieval Studies by members of the alt-right in America. He has contibuted a number of articles on this topic in The Washington Post and Forbes.He is also a correspondant for CNN and National Public Radio, where he reports on the interface of fascism and medievalism today.

The title of his paper is:

“’All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of ‘thing’ shall be well’: The Future of Medieval Studies”

All are welcome to attend!

 

Age of Revolution project

Waterloo200 is a registered charity that was set up and funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport with a view to promoting and documenting the bicentennial anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015. With the remainder of the grant, Waterloo200 undertook to develop an educational programme that documents and supports teaching about the ‘Age of Revolution, c.1775-1848’, organised around four major themes which envelop the period and remain topical today:

  • political revolution
  • war and the international order
  • social and cultural revolution
  • economic and technological revolution.

The legacy project, developed by an educational committee and delivered through a set of partners in the education and heritage sectors, aims to reach some 2,000 schools by the end of 2020 and to make available a host of digital resources that includes the original military collection from Waterloo200 but enlarges it to cover all aspects of society in more scope and detail.

The University of Kent’s involvement in the project is led by Dr Ben Marsh, whose research and teaching experience in the subject area was the basis of his collaborative volume on pedagogy (co-edited with Mike Rapport), Understanding and Teaching the Age of Revolutions (University of Wisconsin Press, 2017). Marsh’s background in public engagement and the involvement of a number of specialists at Kent who have conducted research or taught extensively about the period in question – including Dr Ambrogio Caiani and Dr Mark Lawrence (European history), Dr Tim Bowman (military history), Dr Rebekah Higgitt (history of technology and science), and Dr Claire Jones (history of medicine) – made the School of History an obvious choice to support key strands within the project, because of the range and breadth of our research and our links with museums and archive partners.

The academics have helped feed into the selection and description of the many of the objects digitised and annotated within the main Age of Revolution project: https://ageofrevolution.org/. These draw on collections from around the UK, and reflect discussions in partnership with major organisations such as Culture24 and the Historical Association. The project will continue to grow until June 2020, and one of the most exciting features has been the opportunity to involve School of History students at Kent in our ongoing partnerships and projects. We have our own internal blogsite that documents this work, as our student volunteers make important contributions to gathering information, authoring digital text, recording podcasts with major historians of the period, working with schools and museums, and delivering projects such as films and exhibitions: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/ageofrevolution/

In the months to come, we will be working with the Old Operating Theatre, the Peterloo2019 team, Bowes Museum, and a range of regimental museums and archives to pull together more resources and objects that can make a difference to how teachers, students, and the general public think of the Age of Revolution and its legacy – which remains relentlessly topical in today’s world plagued by concerns about nationalism, communication, new technologies, protests, human rights, and global sensibilities.

Let us know if you are interested in learning more, or wish to get involved, at: ageofrevolution@kent.ac.uk

BOOK LAUNCH OF “YPRES” by Professor Mark Connelly and Dr Stefan Goebel

– A book about the history of Ypres and its first tourists after World War 1 –

INVITATION

Tuesday 22 January 2019 @ 18.00

Flanders House, 1a Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0LD

Professor Mark Connelly and Dr. Stefan Goebel, from the University of Kent’s School of History, have co-authored a new book entitled “Ypres” as part of Oxford University Press’s Great Battles series.

Over the last century, Ypres has become an iconic city for the British Commonwealth, and the Germans during the mid-20th century, as well as its significance for the Belgians and French. In this this new book, the authors take a look at the image of Ypres as it was built up in wartime media coverage, through painting and photography, and in the post-war years to look at the memorial projects undertaken by the British and the Germans. It takes a look at the way in which Ypres was also woven into Second World War public debate, and then the revival of a battlefield tourism industry after 1945.

VISITFLANDERS would cordially like to invite you to an informal book launch to celebrate the publication of this thoroughly informative and engaging insight into the way that Ypres has been viewed, imagined and visited over the years.  Joining us, will be the authors and their publication team with opportunities to interview them.

R.S.V.P to nuria.goethals@visitflanders.com or anita.rampall@visitflanders.com  to confirm your attendance.