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: firstname.lastname@example.org