Friday, 5 April 2013

History Quest, University of Birmingham, 26 March

My quest: to inspire historians of the future at the University of Birmingham's annual event for local school groups. At 11.25am, 30 year 9s from Moseley school bustled into my classroom, having been treated to a rousing lecture by Prof Carl Chinn (attended by 300 students!), which they described as being really 'fun'.

Over the course of my hour-long workshop, I told them all about Digbeth Speaks, showed them lots of photographs of what we've been up to and played them some vox pops, in order to really get them thinking about history. We talked about 'what is history?' and thought about 'whose history' we usually study. They were rather surprised to hear that I was leading a project on the history of Digbeth which researches the 'here and now' of their own city. We thought about how the project was different to the history that they study at school, and whether documenting history today and of everyday people was important (they thought that it was! Phew!).

For the last half of the session the students split into small groups to make their own time capsule, 'Moseley Speaks'! I got them thinking about who they would talk to and why, what 3 questions they would ask, which buildings they would photograph, which events they would document and what viewers of the time capsule would learn about Moseley in 2013. It was great to get them talking about what Moseley means to them, and they had some fantastic ideas.... they'll be doing my job in no time, I'm sure.

They left for lunch and a campus tour with smiling faces and Digbeth Speaks stickers and postcards. Later in the afternoon they all took part in a big history quiz, hosted by Carl Chinn, which went down a storm: it was lovely to hear the chatter of young people being inspired and engaged by history. It was a great day, and a real privilege to have been invited by the Outreach Team to be involved.

Carly Hegenbarth, Project Manager

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