Establishing a unique partnership between MA History and MACE
Archives are crucial to the practice and experience of history students, particularly at post-graduate level, however, many students remain intimidated by using archives or engage with them on a superficial basis. In response to this problem, Dr Christine Grandy in the School of History & Heritage designed a new module with MACE (the Media Archive for Central England, located on the University’s Brayford campus as a partner) for the MA History programme involving archive professionals at all stages of it’s development.
On the new ‘Everyday Britain: Mace and the Historian’ module students are now required to present their research and public engagement proposals to a ‘Dragons Den’ style panel including MACE staff and academics. This development has given students an understanding of how a media archive works on a practical level and helped them build up their presentation skills, significantly increasing their confidence.
Developing the module further, in 2019 MA History students had the unique opportunity to co-curate a screen exhibition with MACE based on their individual research projects. As part of their assessment in the module, students were asked to translate their research project on MACE’s collections into a public engagement event on the subject of women’s history. Archivists at MACE worked with the students to shape material they selected into a short programme called ‘Reel Women’ that has been shown in Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester and Lincoln’s third annual Festival of Creativity (organised by the College of Arts).
The students introduced the screening, produced an informative pamphlet for the event and designed an interactive online poll for audiences to respond to a range of screen material from the 1920s through to the 1980s. Altogether, it featured a fantastic collaboration between the students, archivists at MACE and historians in the School.
Due to the success of this event the module team are now working with MACE to develop plans to make this a regular feature of the module.