Your HA Virtual Branch

Keep learning with our online programme of talks

Your branch from home

The HA Virtual Branch is a great way to keep your history up-to-date, whether you are working or relaxing, all from the comfort of your home. The branch is available to everybody, and recordings of the talks are made available online after the event for HA members.

Upcoming talks 

*LIVE - Wednesday 26 January 2022, 7.30pm

Why does the massacre of the Armenians in the First World War still get overlooked?

Why is the term 'Armenian Genocide' controversial, with many countries still not acknowledging a genocide at all? What do we know about the event of 1915 and the plight of the Armenian community in Turkey? How can we grapple with a history that many people want to forget? In this talk, Paula Kitching will explore what was reported about the events of 1915 at the time; how the post-war period affected what was discussed; and how what happened to the Armenians continues to cause tensions today.  

Paula Kitching FHA, is a historian and writer and project manager. She specialises in 20th century conflicts, genocides and cultural history. Paula has written for educational publications, books, museums, and website publication. As a freelancer Paula has advised, initiated and led projects on the Holocaust, 20th century conflicts and minority and ethnic histories.  She has worked for: The Department of Education and Skills; The Royal British Legion; the Historical Association; the London Jewish Cultural Centre; and Believe in Me.  

She currently works for the Historical Association and The Association of Jewish ex-servicemen and women (AJEX). In February 2019 her book Britain’s Jews and the First World War (Amberley) was published. 

Book here


*LIVE - Wednesday 9 February 2022, 7.30pm

“The Talk Should Not Be Broadcast”: Homosexuality and the BBC before 1967

This talk relates the strange tale of how the BBC did and did not broadcast about homosexuality in the 1950s and 1960s and what it tells us about sexuality, broadcasting and the origins of permissiveness in mid-twentieth century Britain. The BBC’s ill-starred attempts to engage with the topic included two talks recorded with the express intention of not being broadcast. Its reasoning was that it had a public duty to produce something more worthy than tabloid stories about importuning but that the same public duty prevented it from broadcasting anything explicit. One programme remained mothballed, while the other was eventually aired the week after the Wolfenden Report was issued in 1957.

Marcus Collins is Reader in Contemporary History at Loughborough University and has been appointed AHRC/BBC 100 History Fellow for 2022. He is author of The Beatles and Sixties Britain (2020) and Modern Love (2003), co-author of Why Study History? (2020) and editor of The Permissive Society and Its Enemies (2007). He is currently writing the second volume of his study of the Beatles (The Beatles’ World) and Arrested Development: Broadcasting and Homosexuality from Wolfenden to AIDS, and is researching British public opinion towards decolonisation and a comparative study of social attitudes in the ‘global sixties’. 

Book here


*LIVE - Wednesday 27 April 2022, 7.30pm

Dartington Hall: Building Utopia in Devon After the First World War

Dartington Hall was a social and educational experiment set up in Devon in 1925. In this talk Anna Neima will explore the early decades of this far-reaching community in the West Country and its place within the wider context of international interwar reform.

Anna Neima is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick. Before this, she completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of two books. The Utopians: Six Attempts to Build the Perfect Society (2021) tells the story of the experimental communities that sprang up around the globe in the aftermath of the First World War: Santiniketan-Sriniketan in India, Dartington Hall in England, Atarashiki Mura in Japan, the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France, the Bruderhof in Germany and Trabuco College in America. Her most recent book is Practical Utopias: The Many Lives of Dartington Hall (2022). Anna’s grandfather began a small-scale eco-commune in Devon after he retired from farming and, ever since witnessing this developing in her childhood, she has been fascinated by people who try to turn their ideals into a practical example that they hope will influence others.

Book here

*LIVE - Rescheduled date tbc

The Secret Horsepower Race: Western Front fighter engine development 

Calum E. Douglas will join us in conversation about his book The Secret Horse Power Race about World War 2 aviation engine development in Europe. His book explores the fight to be the best engineers during wartime and how that was crucial to winning the technology battle that could help to dominate the skies. Following six years of research and writing, the book has been a huge success amongst those with an interest in aviation and technological history, military historians and anyone keen to know how the conflicts of the twentieth century have made huge differences to all our lives. In this talk we will discuss the writing of the book and some of the key themes that it addresses.  

Calum E Douglas is a trained mechanical engineer specialising in piston engine design and development who is just as interested in how technology developed and impacted on history as he is in the machines themselves. 

Booking coming soon 

Past lecture recordings

If you missed our Virtual Branch talks from earlier this year, recordings of a number of the talks are available here:

Local HA Branches at the Virtual Branch

The HA has over 45 local branches around the country. Some of these have been able to return to their venues for their monthly talks around lockdown. Others have decided to make their branch programmes online via Zoom – this provides a wonderful opportunity for you to see some of the great lectures that occur across the country as part of the HA. Check our branch calendar for full listings.

About the HA Virtual Branch talks

Your HA virtual branch is open to all – whether you are a member or not; for general interest, teachers and students alike. Some of the talks are pre-recorded, and others allow you the opportunity to listen live and pitch your questions to the historian presenting. This page will be updated as new talks are agreed.

If you're a teacher don't forget that we will also continue to run our regular calendar of CPD webinars - view the secondary webinar calendar here and the primary calendar here.