Case Study: Hidden Histories

College Science
School / Department (list all where collaborative across more than one) Foundation Studies Centre
Project / Innovation Title Hidden Histories
Start & End Dates (where applicable) October 2021- present
Project Lead Name Ellie Davison and Tom Hobson
Additional Project Team Members Adam Kinsella, Adelaide Baron, Julia Wolkowicz, Nicola Wilton (Student Research-Developers)


The aim of Hidden Histories was to develop a staff-student partnership within which student researcher-developers (SRDs) were supported to research undercelebrated scholars in STEM and produce interactive learning activities for teaching sessions to embed the uncovered contributions and voices into the Science Foundation Year (SFY) curriculum.

Four SRDs (final year undergraduates or master’s students) were recruited through a stringent application process from a range of scientific disciplines (Life Sciences, Chemistry, Maths and Physics).  The Hidden Histories produced have focussed on scholars with diverse ethnicities, age, gender, disability and sexuality, with dedicated feedback and support from relevant module leads in the SFY teaching team.

An evaluation survey of the SFY cohort revealed that the Hidden History seminar activities had significantly diversified awareness of contributors to STEM, with students commenting on how interesting and engaging they found increasing their knowledge of undercelebrated scholars and the unheard stories behind the discovery of the concepts they were learning about in the curriculum; ‘It brings the true brilliant minds to the forefront as they deserve which overall makes me happy…’ ‘learning how people that were disadvantaged by society also contributed to society.’

Furthermore, being part of the project had a striking effect on students’ ‘sense of belonging in STEM’ for students from all backgrounds, especially for students from LGBTQ+ backgrounds and Asian communities.


The SRDs reported a variety of ways in which their own learning development had been impacted, including an increased awareness of how to meet accessibility guidelines when producing resources and how to design interactive activities to increase engagement and deepen learning.  They also broadened their presentation skills in order to tailor their outputs according to their audience, including differences between sharing findings with academic conference delegates and teaching discipline specific student cohorts.  SRDs also diversified their research skills to accommodate historical events, and developed a questioning mindset, inspired to look further into the stories behind discoveries rather than accepting the conventional narrative at face value.  Two of the SRDs are already utilising their enhanced pedagogic skills as they are now employed in educational fields of work alongside their studies.

This project was funded by the Association of Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE)

Davison, E. and Hobson, T. (2022) Embedding the voices of under-celebrated scholars into the curriculum fosters students’ sense of belonging. In: Student Success in Taught Student Education Conference.  University of Leeds, 8 November.

Davison, E. and Hobson, T. (2022) Utilising co-creation and active learning pedagogies to diversify the narrative in STEM curricula.  In: Advance HE EDI Colloquium: Decolonising Pedagogies, 21 July.

Davison, E., Hobson, T., Baron, A., Kinsella, A., Wilton, N and Wolkowicz, J. (2022) Hidden Histories: A student-staff partnership to diversify the narrative in curricula. In: Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) Conference.  University of Lincoln, 8 July.


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