Centre

Centre for Public History

Part of Department of History

Essex students making their mark on the Berlin Wall, 1989

About us

The Centre for Public History provides a forum for research and teaching concerned with the place of history in public life. 

We explore the rich and diverse ways history is represented and debated 'in public', from museums and heritage sites, film and media, to policy, business and tourism.

We continue the work pioneered by the Centre for Local and Regional History, building relationships with communities and organisations in Colchester, Essex and East Anglia through lectures, student placements and public engagement projects. At the same time, we are active in national and global conversations in the new and dynamic field of public history, from mapping the memories of war to staging the trans-atlantic slave trade.

Community engagements and MA placements

Members of the Centre for Public History are involved in a number of community engagements. Our MA students can also choose to take a placement in the local community as part of their studies.

Essex County Hospital Remembered

Essex County Hospital Remembered

Essex County Hospital, which has served patients from Colchester and the surrounding area since 1820, closed in Spring 2018 when the transfer of its services into the community and to Colchester General Hospital was completed. The Essex County Hospital Remembered project aimed to help preserve the history of this popular Colchester hospital by documenting it's story in the NHS era of 1948 to the present day.

Research outputs

A Peril of the Sea

Dr Jeremy Krikler carried out research into the eighteenth century British slave trade. Bringing his research to the public, he put on a play which was shown at both the Lakeside Theatre and the Bloomsbury Studio. The play focused on the story of the slave ship Zong and explored the atrocities which occurred in the Caribbean in 1781.

Body Games - Capoeira and Ancestry

The documentary Body Games - Capoeira and Ancestry is one of the major outcomes of the research project The Angolan Roots of Capoeira: Transatlantic Links of a Globalised Performing Art.

The film is co-directed by Richard Pakleppa, Professor Matthias Röhrig Assunção and capoeira master Cobra Mansa, and follows Cobra Mansa on travels through Angola and Brazil in search of the historical roots of his art. The journey explores deeper connections between slavery, identity and society.

I Remember the Fall of Singapore

I Remember the Fall of Singapore written and conceptualized by Dr Mark R. Frost and directed by Michel Cayla, was commissioned by Channel News Asia for the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942.