Department of History

Information for schools and colleges

Joe Merton and History Society volunteering project
Joe Merton (left) with history student volunteers


The Department of History works to nurture and expand the teaching and learning of history at all levels. We are keen to introduce pupils throughout the East Midlands region to different areas of historical study.

We offer a variety of ways for schools and colleges to engage. These are detailed below.

If you would like any more information please contact our Widening Participation and Schools Liaison Officer Dr Joe Merton:

Email Joe Merton

T: +44 (0)115 951 5938

Year 12 History taster events

The Department of History runs several taster events throughout the year to give Year 12 students a sample of academic life at the University of Nottingham.

The History Taster Day is open to any student studying History at AS or A level. It is a one-day event and features two interactive academic sessions, tours of the campus and Hallward Library, admissions and careers Q&As, and an opportunity to meet current staff and students from the Department of History. 

Download sample programme from the 2016 Taster Day

Further information about the History Taster Day can be obtained by emailing Dr Joe Merton or by calling 0115 951 5938.

The History Masterclass is open to any Year 12 student registered on the University of Nottingham’s Ambition Nottingham scheme. It features three short interactive academic sessions and an admissions Q&A across one afternoon.

Download sample programme from the 2016 Masterclass

NB Interested students will need to apply for the Ambition programme before they register for the History Masterclass.


Further information about the History Masterclass can be obtained from Sophie Partridge, Academic Enrichment Programmes Manager in the university’s Widening Participation team, or by emailing


Tailored masterclasses and tasters

The Department of History is happy to organise a bespoke taster session or masterclass for individual schools or colleges around a curriculum area of their choosing, depending on staff availability and/or whether there is a research and teaching match within the department. Events can be organised for on the university campus or in school, depending on staff availability.

Previous taster sessions and masterclasses have included:

Dr Sascha Auerbach, ‘Britain during World War I’

This session addresses gender and women’s roles in British society from 1913–1919. We discuss both changes and continuities in how women worked, their social practices, the public portrayals of gender roles, and women’s changing political status during these wartime years.

Dr Sheryllynne Haggerty, ‘The British Atlantic Slave Trade’

Using sources such as merchants’ letters, captains’ logs and contemporary histories, this session questions some of the myths surrounding the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In doing so we uncover some uncomfortable truths.

Dr Richard Goddard, ‘The Black Death’

This workshop examines one of the defining moments of Europe’s history: The Black Death of 1348, a disease so deadly and destructive that it laid waste to huge swathes of the European countryside. We look at the impact of the plague, what people at the time wrote about it, what happened to the survivors and how they adapted to living in this post-apocalyptic world.

Dr Onni Gust, ‘Monsters and the Idea of Modernity’

How a society perceives monstrosity tells historians a lot about the way that society imagines itself. In this seminar we look at changing representations of the famous monster Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (1818) across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in order to think about how British society constructed outsiders.

Dr Joe Merton, ‘The American City in the 1970s’

In the years following 1945, the American city symbolised the optimism and confidence of the post-war United States, but by the 1970s it had to come to signify racial conflict, entrenched poverty, rampant crime and the failings of government. This workshop examines the underlying motivations behind these narratives of urban decline and crisis during the 1970s, and their uses for later processes of political and ideological change.

Dr Sue Townsend, ‘Hiroshima in History and Memory’

The decision to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945 is highly controversial among historians. Secretary of War Henry Stimson claimed in 1947 that his purpose was ‘to end the war in victory with the least possible cost in the lives of the men in the armies which I had helped to raise’. But was it that simple? This workshop examines the documents and opinions and encourages you to engage in this fascinating debate.

Interested schools and colleges should email Joe Merton or telephone 0115 951 5938.

We also run a number of taster sessions in partnership with colleagues in the Hallward Library as part of the Step into University Libraries programme. These are useful for schools and colleges interested in the collections of the Hallward Library, or who have students working towards their EPQ (Extended Project Qualification). Schools and colleges interested in working with the Hallward Library should email Jane Maltby.


Summer schools

The Department of History contributes to the Sutton Trust summer school every year. Last year’s instalment featured History sessions from Dr Joe Merton on Black Power and Dr Onni Gust and Dr Spencer Mawby on the Kenyan Emergency.

The Sutton Trust summer school is a residential event designed to give students the fullest experience of university. Participants will live in halls of residence, attend academic sessions and enjoy various social activities in the evenings. It is open to Year 12 students at maintained schools and colleges in the UK.

More information about the Sutton Trust, including eligibility criteria, is available from the university’s Summer School Team on 0115 846 6962 or


Find out more

Why Study History – student videos

Modules in a Minute

Information for Schools and Colleges

History in the Community

Contact us

Schools liaison:
Dr Joe Merton
Widening Participation and Schools Liaison Officer
t: +44 (0)115 951 5938

Dr Richard Goddard
Director of UG admissions
t: +44 (0)115 951 6043

General enquiries:

Make an enquiry



Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details