Online course: Teaching empire through material culture

HA online course for primary and secondary teachers

The topic of empire lends itself ideally to a material approach – the objects often provide the opportunity to bring in indigenous voices to our study of the imperial past, while our classroom experience has shown that objects provide a powerful channel through which to access complex and sometimes uncomfortable histories. Objects engage students of all abilities (at school and university level) and the narratives around them are memorable and engaging, giving students tangible examples through which to understand wider concepts of imperial expansion, the maintenance of imperial power and resistance to empire. Teaching empire in this way enables you to draw on the latest academic research and scholarship.

This series of online CPD workshops will provide interactive and engaging training in how to incorporate an object-based approach into your teaching. Led by Dr Sarah Longair (University of Lincoln) and Sasha Smith (Sir Robert Pattinson Academy, Lincoln), it will focus on teaching the history of empire with material culture. The course focuses on Key Stages 2 and 3, but is also applicable for Key Stages 4 and 5.

This course will equip you with the skills and confidence to:

  • teach effectively with objects
  • develop your own enquiries
  • consider how to insert objects across a curriculum

It will be interactive with opportunities for groupwork and individual support. Successful applicants will be expected to do small-scale preparatory tasks before seminars 5-7 to enable you to make the most of the experience.

Applications for this course are now closed.

For enquiries please contact

All Historical Association CPD is subject to the HA CPD terms and conditions.


Seminar 1: Why objects? The materiality of the British Empire
Tuesday 20 February 2024, 4pm–5pm

Seminar 2: Teaching with objects: approaches, methods and curriculum planning
Tuesday 27 February 2024, 4pm–5pm

Seminar 3: Object workshop: inspiration and case studies
Tuesday 5 March 2024, 4pm–5pm

Seminar 4: Designing the task
Tuesday 12 March 2024, 4pm–5pm

Seminar 5: Individual feedback sessions – your objects and enquiry ideas
Tuesday 26 March 2024, 4pm–5pm

Seminar 6: Presenting object-based lesson plans and conclusions
Tuesday 16 April 2024, 4pm–5pm

Seminar 7: Presenting object-based lesson plans and conclusions (continued)
Tuesday 23 April 2024, 4pm–5pm