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Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory



Who we are, how we see ourselves, how we remember the past, and the cyphers we employ, are critical to our identities. This past lies in monument, handed-down narrative, text and image. It is seldom neutral, and frequently conradictory. It continues to be formed and reformed. Yet frequently it remains hidden or abused. The Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory provides a lively hub for researchers, teachers, practitioners and the public in the connected areas of identity; representation and memorialisation; internationally significant, community-driven and regional history; and museum and heritage management. It explores the cultural significance of the past, challenging current interpretations, exploring points of tension and engaging with the processes of representing History from a variety of perspectives to meet the needs of a range of communities.

The Centre’s scope is global. It comprises projects which focus on areas of the United Kingdom and Europe, and which extend to the United States and Central America, as well as to the southern hemisphere, linking national and international institutions. It also connects at a local level to history societies, museums and archives across the East Midlands region. We have interests in the physical artefacts of the past (large and small), in our intangible cultural heritage, and in how the past is represented and presented through the media, film and public works of art. We work actively with museums, the media, and through our own publications to take history to the broader public. We also have particular strengths in digital and scientific heritage, running projects which explore cutting edge techniques in the field in order to engage wider national and international audiences.

The centre is particularly mindful of the need to build strong links with external professional, practitioner and community groupings, and to meld together its own academic expertise with the interests and enthusiasms of those directly outside the academy. It is aware, too, of the importance of shared ownership: that initiatives and directions are set and managed jointly with collaborative partners. Communities, in this sense, comprise those with shared identities, be it geographic, work or activity based or through specific interests. A key objective of the Centre is to enhance and enrich those shared identities through research, display and other forms of diffusion and engagement.

Research Activities and Funding

From 2017 the centre has been running a series of dedicated research seminars, including academic practitioners in both History and Heritage, postgraduate forums and public speakers. Income to support these activities has been drawn from major awarding bodies, such as a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship awarded to professor Bill Niven to support a series of lectures and research collaborations with Professor Andrew Port in 2018.

Significant support has also been awarded by the Marc Fitch Fund, Friends of Local English History, the Thoroton Society, Nottinghamshire Local History Association, and Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaology to support the publication of East Midlands History and Heritage magazine. As well as collaborative activities, members have also been successful in gaining support for individual projects: Woodley has been awarded a British Academy small grant to carry out research on ‘Mourning as Resistance’, and Hodgson by an NTU Global Heritage grant for ‘From Myth to Majesty.’

The centre is also involved in co-curating and developing exhibitions based on cutting edge research with a variety of partner institutions which also involve our postgraduate cohort. For example, Bill Niven’s  Legacies of the Holocaust exhibition at the National Holocaust Centre and Museum has led to associated national and international exhibitions on the Kindertransport and World Jewish Relief co-ordinated by PhD Student Amy Williams. In 2019 Duncan Grewcock and students of the MA in Museum & Heritage Development co-curated Liberated Voices: Stories of Women (In)Justice, with the National Justice Museum and Canalside Visions: Beijing to Beeston and Back Again (Part 1),  with the Canalside Heritage Centre. Through Professor Haida Liang (NTU Physics) we also work collaboratively on a number of projects with the Imaging & Sensing for Archaeology, Art History & Conservation Group (ISAAC).

Additional activities include:

  • Invited/Keynote papers e.g. Graham Black and Chris Reynolds, Museums and Difficult Pasts: Northern Ireland’s ’68,
  • Commonwealth Association of Museums workshop The Post-Colonial Museum in Liverpool 2018.
  • Schools Outreach e.g. Rushcliffe School, Arnold Hill Academy, Nottingham College, the German School in Richmond, King’s School Macclesfield.
  • TV and radio interviews e.g. Notts TV, TVNZ, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Nottingham, Radio NZ.

Key Partners and Beneficiaries

Projects related to the centre work in collaboration with a variety of local, national and international institutions, for example:

  • British Library
  • British Museum
  • Canalside Heritage Centre
  • The National Holocaust Centre and Museum
  • Nottingham Castle Trust
  • National Justice Museum
  • National Arboretum
  • REACH project (EU funded ‘Re-designing Access to Cultural Heritage for a wider participation)
  • E-RIHS (The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science)
  • Holocaust Centre Huddersfield
  • Workhouse Museums Network

PhD Students

  • Luke Butler - Southeast Asian Illuminated Manuscripts : A Study of the Maritime Silk Road Using Scientific Imaging and AI
  • Edward Cheetham - Hospital and Healthcare Communities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire 1900-1939
  • Amy Hondsmerck - Playing with Interpretation: The Video Game in the Museum Sector
  • Elizabeth Kendrick - The Digitisation and Virtual Future of Holocaust Survivor Testimony at the National Holocaust Centre and Museum
  • Chris Pickup - From Science to Exhibition: Research, Imaging and Interpretation in the Heritage Sector
  • Makiko Tsunoda  A study of 18th to 19th-century Japanese Nanga Paintings through art historical and material analysis, with a focus on the Nanpin School
  • Amy Williams - Memory of the Kindertransports in National and Transnational Perspective
  • Hannah Wilson - The Materialisation of Sobibor Death Camp: Artefacts, Narratives and Representation
  • Carly-Emma Leachman - The Management of the Health and Social Needs of Displaced People during the Second World War
  • Stacey Griffiths - A comparative case study of the origins and spatial practices of three mid-Victorian rural reformatory institutions
  • Chris Dodd - Labour's commitment to control hospital capital expenditure through greater economic planning in the 1960s
  • Heather Green - Critical Approaches to the Interpretation of Literary Heritage: Nottingham as City of Literature
  • Catrin Harris - Holocaust Education in Primary Schools
  • Rachel Crisp

Recent Publications


  • FANTONI, G., 2018. ‘Brotherhood of arms: patriotism, Atlanticism and sublimation of war in 1950s Italian war movies.’ In: L. SALSINI and T. CRAGIN, eds., Resistance, heroism, loss: World War II in Italian literature and film. The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press series in Italian studies . Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • HAYES, N. , 2018. ‘Heritage, craft, and identity: twisthands and their machinery in what's left of the British lace industry’. Labour History Review, 83 (2), pp. 147-177.
  • NIVEN, B., 2018. Hitler and Film: The Fuhrer's Hidden Passion. Yale University Press.


  • BLACK, G., 2017 Ch 17, ‘Museums and Tourism: time to make friends’, in Hooper, G.(ed.) Heritage and Tourism in Britain and Ireland, London: Palgrave/Macmillan
  • NIVEN, B., 2017. Generation war and post-didactic memory: the Nazi past in contemporary Germany. In: P. Finney, ed., Remembering the second world war. Remembering the modern world . London: Routledge, pp. 30-45.
  • WOODLEY, J., 2017. 'Ma is in the park': memory, identity, and the Bethune Memorial’ Journal of American Studies


  • BLACK, G., 2016. Remember the 70%: sustaining 'core' museum audiences. Museum Management and Curatorship.


  • FULLER, A., 2015. Between two worlds: the autos sacramentales of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Cambridge: MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association).


  • COOKE, P. and FANTONI, G., 2016. 'We all miss you': Enrico Berlinguer in post-Berlin Wall Italy. Twentieth Century Communism (11), pp. 130-146.
  • HAYES, N., 2014. Nottingham elites and civil society 1900-1950: status, engagement & lifestyle. Nottingham: Nottingham Elites
  • NIVEN, B., 2014. Representations of flight and expulsion in East German prose works. Studies in German literature linguistics and culture. Rochester: Camden House.
  • WOODLEY, J., 2014. Art for equality: the NAACP’s cultural campaign for civil rights. University Press of Kentucky.

PhD Studentships

We’re offering fully-funded PhD studentships aligned with our research centres for UK, EU or International students. Find out more about our PhD studentships

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