Research project to promote tolerance by reshaping history teaching | On


A new research project led by an academic at the University of Stirling aims to revolutionize the way British history is taught to schoolchildren and presented to the public in order to promote tolerance.

Heritage expert Dr Chiara Bonacchi will work with teachers from Scotland, England and Wales, and partner with nine major museums and heritage sites, to improve education spanning age iron and Roman periods.

The project is coordinated by Dr Chiara Bonacchi, in collaboration with archaeologists, Professor Richard Hingley and Dr Kate Sharpe from Durham University. It builds on previous research on the contemporary relevance of Britain’s Iron Age and Roman past.

Dr Bonacchi, who received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the project, said: sometimes barbarians and rebels, people of the Iron Age, through cartoons and oppositions.

The team found that many outdoor heritage sites in England often feature the Iron Age and Roman periods as opposing poles, or in Scotland and Wales, often via exaggerated unique depictions of one or the other period, including through practical experiences that reinforce stereotypes about old identities.

Dr Kate Sharpe said: “For example, Roman sites typically invite children to participate in military exercises, while Iron Age locations typically offer activities such as building cob or cob walls. or baking bread. “

Dr Bonacchi explained that: “Research has also suggested that, later in their adulthood, people rely on these first impressions and understandings of the past and those they have acquired in school to justify the idea. antagonism towards particular groups defined on the basis of ethnicity, culture and race.

“It is therefore of particular concern that binary interpretations of the Iron Age and the Roman past remain prevalent at heritage sites and in classrooms.”

The project will see the creation of a unique new interactive digital artwork that will reinterpret and visualize social media data collected from the online discussions people have had on social media about Britain’s relationship with Europe. It will guide the user through recurring Iron Age and Roman history-centered metaphors and myths that are used to exclude or bring people together in contemporary British society. The aim is to expose and challenge these metaphors and myths.

The artwork is slated to be on display in April 2022 via a pop-up installation at three heritage locations across Britain: the Hunterian Museum (Glasgow), Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery (Carlisle) and Great North Museum: Hancock (Newcastle).

In collaboration with these museums and six others across the UK, the research team will also create new downloadable educational resources to help 500 heritage educators and history teachers in England, Scotland and Wales, to design and teach in tolerant ways of understanding “the other”. using the Iron Age and the Roman past.

The research project, titled “Co-Producing Tolerant Futures through Ancient Identities”, will start in January 2022.

The full list of museums acting as partners in this project are:

• Hunterian Museum
• National Museums of Scotland
• Scottish Center Crannog
• Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
• Museum of the Far North: Hancock
• Leeds Museums and Galleries
• Former farm of Butser
• Château Henllys
• Roman Fort and Museum of Vindolanda


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