Creating Public History: a Guide to Co-production and Community Engagement


An RHS Online Training Workshop for Early Career Historians


14.00-16.00 BST, Tuesday 7 December 2021

Watch the event recording


‘Creating Public History: a Guide to Co-production and Community Engagement’ is the next in a new series of online training events hosted by the RHS, designed for early career historians. In ‘Creating Public History’ we’ll explore the meaning of ‘public history’, and how to design, plan and run a community engagement project.

The event brings together experts and practitioners in the field of public history and co-production, from the perspective of academia, archives, charities and community programmes. It seeks to demystify public history: offering practical insights based on experience that you’ll be able to apply in your own work.

Topics for the workshop include: defining public history; designing and managing a successful project; working with diverse participants; and ensuring the legacy and impact of community engagement work, both in and beyond Higher Education.

Projects discussed in the workshop will include the St Thomas Way, the East End Women’s Museum, Newington Green Meeting House: Revolutionary Ideas since 1708, and Layers of London. With reference to these projects, the workshop will identify key themes, ideas and recommendations for creating a successful public history project.

After contributions from the panel, the event will take the form of a discussion involving all attendees. Those attending will be invited to submit questions in advance of the event.

Speakers at the event:

About our panel:

  • Catherine Clarke has particular expertise in place and place-making, uses of heritage, and creative practice in research, co-production and engagement, having led projects such as Discover Medieval Chester, City Witness and the St Thomas Way, and her current involvement in Invisible Worlds and Towns and the Cultural Economies of Recovery. Catherine is especially interested in how we devise and initiate public history projects; how we make the case for impact and what we’ve achieved; and how imaginative public history can transform our practice as scholars.
  • Sara Huws has extensive experience of working in museums and heritage as a researcher, curator and broadcaster. Having started her career at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, she now works as an archives professional specialising in public engagement at Cardiff University Special Collections and Archives. Sara is Co-Founder of East End Women’s Museum, the only museum in England and Wales which collects and celebrates the histories of women and girls. Established as a ‘positive protest’, the museum has grown far beyond its kitchen table origins, with participatory projects taking place across east London. She is currently undertaking a PhD in museums and activism at the University of Swansea.
  • Amy Todd‘s work centres around engaging those audiences traditionally under-represented in heritage projects. Recent activities include the online Layers of London, managing volunteers at Kenley Revival, and co-curation of projects with community groups, schools and artists. She’s keen to share her recent experience at Newington Green Meeting House, showcasing ways to build community relationships through heritage.


Watch the video


Future RHS training workshops

‘Creating Public History’ is the next in a new annual series of RHS ‘Getting Started’ training events for early career historians. Events will provide guidance and insight into key areas of professional development. A video of our first workshop, ‘Getting Published: a guide to first articles and journal publishing’ (July 2021), is also available.

Topics for future discussion will include: publishing and communicating research, teaching history, writing history, applying historical knowledge and research skills, and career options for research historians within and outside higher education. ‘Getting Started’ will run three times a year with the next session — on ‘Broadcasting History’ — planned for Spring 2022.



For more guides see also the RHS’s new Teaching Portal: a set of over 50 specially commissioned essays–on research, online resources, teaching and career paths–for current research students and early career teachers.


RHS Lecture and Events: Full Programme for 2022 >