Historical Association Annual Conference 2024 in Birmingham

10–11 May 2024, Birmingham | The Eastside Rooms

Published: 26th January 2024

Book your place at Early Bird rates

Birmingham – it has been the greenest city in Britain, the industrial heart of a nation, the fastest growing city in the 19th century and a home of the Commonwealth Games. It has a long, sometimes difficult but rich history of diversity, immigration and cultural change. It also has a really good hotel and conference centre and plenty of train stations – so it is no surprise that the Historical Association chose it as the venue for our Annual Conference 2024.

The venue is new and so are many of our speakers. Our Presidential Lecture is being given by Professor Alexandra Walsham, an expert on religion in early modern Britain. She became President of the HA last summer and this is her first HA Conference in this role. Her talk will be on ‘A short history of forgetting in England’s Long Reformation’.

The Saturday morning keynote speaker this year is the highly respected and prolific historian and author William Dalrymple. Most of us have one of his books on our shelves, such as White Mughals, Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India or The Anarchy: the Relentless Rise of the East India Company. And if you don’t have one of his books yet, you probably will do following the Conference (although this is not mandatory).

Other keynotes include Alison Kitson and Michael Riley talking about their work with UCL’s Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education, and Dr Penelope Harnett, who will be giving the Dawson Lecture for Education.

There are a wide range of talks and workshops across all our areas of membership.

For the general interest strand, we have academics from across the higher education sphere of the Midlands, including Birmingham University, Keele and Leicester. Talks include: 'Slaves, Celts and sagas in Viking Age Iceland', 'Ripe for Dachau: the German people and the concentration camps', 'The subaltern in the forgotten European colony: the Cypriot peasant under British rule', and 'Double monasteries in early medieval England'.

For those intending to develop their CPD for secondary teaching, we have a range of speakers and educators talking on pedagogy and curriculum issues, knowledge development, and combining the two in a wide range of topics, including environmental history, 'Artificial intelligence: friend or foe?', 'Improving students’ historical arguments through talk', 'Teaching neurodivergent pupils to succeed in GCSE history' and 'No more mark schemes: doing assessment differently'.

As always, we also have workshops specifically for primary teachers and these include: 'Teaching historical significance in Key Stage 1', 'Using historical scholarship and interpretations in Key Stage 2', ,'From Trinadad to Solihull: celebrating Windrush' and 'What did we ever do for the Romans?'. There are also workshops that go across the different sectors and a whole strand supporting Initial Teacher Education.

One of the strengths of HA Conference is that it does not insist that those attending stick to only one strand – teachers and educators are welcome at the general strand talks and vice versa.

It wouldn’t be HA Conference without a walking tour or two, and we have the latter, with one around Birmingham exploring its wide history and one at Bournville village, focusing on its role as an innovator of social progression. We also have a trip to the School of Jewellery – be prepared to fan-spot the building and workshops if you are a TV viewer of All that Glitters.

Of course, all work and no play would be bad and not how we like to do things at the HA – which means that the Big Quiz is back and this time it follows on from a curry night on the Friday. It might sound like a cliché, but what could be more community-engaging than a Madras and a music round?

That is because HA Annual Conference is not just about the venue and the talks or the quiz – it is about the people and the friends and community that are formed through discussion, cups of tea and coffee, a glass of something red or white and/or a sticky pudding. It is about listening to experts in the world of history and education, making new friends, brainstorming ideas and collecting a tote bag or two to proudly show off your history nerd credentials once you are back home.

So don’t delay – book now to join us at our Annual Conference in May 2024! We also have some great options to join us through a virtual programme; it just depends on how much you want to listen but forgo that curry.

See you in Birmingham.

HA members can take advantage of discounted Early Bird booking for in-person tickets until Wednesday 20 March.