HA Annual Conference round-up 2014

Published: 21st May 2014

This year it was in Stratford upon Avon.

Just what the home of literature needed, over 350 historians to descend on it - well that is what it got! It was a hugely successful event (if we say ourselves) with three keynote lectures and over 55 workshop sessions plus walking tours.

The conference was suitably started by a lecture from the outgoing President Professor Jackie Eales talking on ‘No more cakes and ale': Puritan attitudes towards plays and pleasure in the Age of Shakespeare. And whilst the tones of the bard may have had a presence over the two days the content of the sessions certainly stretched the historical mind covering prehistory through to events of the twentieth century.

The Saturday morning keynote by Anna Keay from the Landmark Trust on ‘James, Duke of Monmouth' was a fascinating lecture on a man most of us pass over as we explore the history of the Stuarts. Here was a real lesson in re-evaluation and who gets to write the history of the time, and how one man can affect a whole age whilst being dismissed by history.

Once again the conference was well attended by commercial stall holders and historical supporters. I'll be using my free memory stick this year from English Heritage, along with all the post it notes, rulers, pens and pencils that I gathered from others. The pop-up book shop cost many of the delegates dearly.

What is more, despite the beautiful weather outside and a lovely terrace to enjoy it, all the workshop sessions and keynotes were full. Workshops covering both content and guidance for delivery on the new National Curriculum were popular for Primary and Secondary teachers. Evidence that teachers are fully engaged with tackling the changes that are on the horizon.

It wasn't just us who thought it was a success, many of those in attendance were scribbling down the date and venue for next year as they left.

We will be in Bristol in 2015 on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 May - looking forward to seeing you!