Outreach and community
The past is a fascinating world which we want to make as accessible as possible to all. Offering programmes for schools, welcoming people to the Department and giving outreach talks, we are active in the community and the knowledge economy.
Community and Schools Outreach activities are available throughout the academic year. Staff within the Department of History have a strong commitment in engaging with the local community, schools and other institutions. While on some occasions we may not be able to respond to individual requests from schools, we are keen to share our internationally renowned research in a variety of topics through a series of events where you can meet both our staff and students.
We are also available online via our social media, and you can visit our blog to keep up to date with what's happening in the Department.
If you are interested in studying history at Reading, please come and meet us at one of our Open Days to chat to us about what we do, and how we do it, on our beautiful green campus.
Free online courses
The University of Reading's Professor Kate Williams has partnered with Historic Royal Palaces to bring you A History of Royal Food and Feasting. This online course, featuring our own history students, explores the history of royal food through the tastes of five key monarchs, and takes an intimate look behind the scenes of some of the most incredible palaces in England.
On this course, you'll join expert historians, curators and food scientists to immerse yourself in the changing tastes of successive generations of royalty and experience the splendour of their palaces - from the Tudors to the 20th century.
Over the five weeks, you'll engage with riveting tales and challenge some common misconceptions about palaces, monarchs, and their impact on dietary tastes today. You'll also have the opportunity to try out historic recipes in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Find out more about A History of Royal Food and Feasting on the FutureLearn website and take a look at the trailer for the course below.
Stenton Lecture: 'The Letters of England's Kings and Queens 1154-1215: A Vast New Resource?'
Thursday 22nd November 2018, 06:30pm, G11, Henley Business School, Whiteknights campus. In this lecture Professor Nicholas Vincent, University of East Anglia will discuss the largest corpus of charter materials (essentially the letters and title deeds) preserved for any twelfth-century king about to be published by the Oxford University Press.
The 4600 such instruments issued in the name of King Henry II not only outnumber those preserved for the kings of France and Germany combined but demonstrate the extent to which Henry II of England towered over his contemporaries and rivals. Ruler of the largest collection of lands assembled in the west since the fall of the empire of Charlemagne, Henry II was also a patron of literature and intellectuals. At the same time, he was notorious both as an unfaithful husband to his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and as the reputed author of the murder of Thomas Becket, his archbishop of Canterbury.
What does our new collection of materials, many of them previously unknown or unpublished, tell us that we did not previously know? What do the charters reveal, both of the extent of Henry's grip on power, in England, France and Ireland, and of his more personal relations, not only with Becket but with a wider circle of courtiers? The result of more than forty years of scholarly endeavour, the publication of this vast new resource is likely to alter for ever our image of one of medieval Europe's most fascinating kings.
Professor Nicholas Vincent has published a dozen books and some hundred academic articles on various aspects of English and European history in the 12th and 13th centuries, having arrived at Norwich via Oxford, Cambridge, Paris and Canterbury. He is currently finishing an edition of the charters of the Plantagenet kings and queens from Henry II to King John, and leads a major project researching the background to Magna Carta. He is a Fellow of the British Academy. Professor Vincent teaches courses in medieval European History and the Crusades, and a 3rd year special subject on the Norman Conquest of England. He also supervises graduate students in most subjects relating to English and European history 1000-1300AD.
The Stenton Symposium: 'English Royal Charters 1066-1215: Discoveries, Gaps and Opportunities'
Thursday 22nd November 2018, 01:00pm, 102, Palmer Building, Whiteknights campus. This symposium brings together half a dozen of the world's leading experts on English twelfth-century history, to discuss the usefulness of charters as a historical source, and the possibilities for their future exploitation.
Stenton Lecture - The Russian Revolution: A Hundred
Thursday 23rd November 2017, 7:30pm (doors open 7:00pm), G11 Henley Business School, Whiteknights campus.
The Russian Revolution transformed the face of an empire, established the world's first socialist state, and profoundly affected the course of world history for the rest of the twentieth century. A hundred years on, the master historian Professor Stephen Smith reflects on the tumultuous events of 1917 and our attempts to understand this epochal moment in history.
Harry Potter: A History of Magic
The History Department at the University of Reading is partnering with the British Library and bringing a mini version of the 'Harry Potter: A History of Magic' exhibition to Reading. The British Library exhibition, which runs from 20th October 2017 to 28th February 2018, delves into the topics of potions and alchemy, astronomy, charms and divination, magical creatures, the dark arts, herbology and local, national and international history of magic.
On Saturday 21st October, Anne Lawrence-Mathers, Jacqui Turner and Mara Oliva from the History Department will be taking part in a Harry Potter Day at Battle Library, Reading. They will run a Hogwarts-style 'School of Magic' for up to 60 children, aged eight upwards. There will be four 'lessons', on subjects taken from the Hogwarts curriculum and the British Library exhibition, but taught on the basis of medieval images and practices. These lessons will be on Charms (making a magical talisman), Potions (using powerful herbs and a magical stone), Divination (palmistry and moon magic), and Ancient Runes/Geomancy.
Suffrage and Citizenship Public Lecture: Dr Jacqui Turner
Wednesday 11th October 2017, 8:00pm (doors open 7:30pm), Palmer Building, Whiteknights campus.
Dr Jacqui Turner will explore and consider the parliamentary politics, the campaigns and the divisive issues of class, marriage and militancy that fractured the suffrage movement.
outreach programme opportunities
Please get in touch if you have any queries or require further information about our outreach programmes.