History Fringe Sessions: BBC History Weekend Chester 2019

Our History Fringe programme on 26–27 October 2019 showcases FREE 15-minute sessions (held between talks), hosted by scholars from the University of Chester. These will cover a range of diverse and engaging topics, you can view the full programme below

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All sessions are limited capacity, seats allocated on a first-come, first-served basis 

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History Fringe Sessions: Saturday 26 October

11:10–11:25

Through the Key-Hole: Looking Around Late Medieval Homes Using Inventories

In this session Dr Sarah Hinds will discuss how we can use surviving inventories to peek inside medieval homes. We will follow the inventory-makers in these documents as they walked around these houses and glimpse some examples of everyday domestic life in the later Middle-Ages

Speaker: Dr Sarah Hinds is a PhD student at the University of York researching late medieval domestic material culture. She is particularly interested in everyday household objects and their use. Sarah was born in Chester, completed a BA in History at the University of Chester, and still lives locally.


13:30–13:45

Chester, Cavaliers and Cannons

This presentation will look at Chester’s role in the Civil War, the day-to-day activities of the siege of Chester, and the actions of the troops and commanders, supported by one of the key weapons of the time: artillery.

Speaker: Dr Sam Chadwick is a a former PhD student and visiting lecturer at Chester. He is interested in all aspects of British warfare, but tends to limit his focus toward the English Civil Wars, in particular, the first English Civil War. He has just completed a PhD thesis, focusing on artillery in sieges.


15:15–15:30

Isaac Newton at the Royal Mint

In addition to his famous scientific work, Isaac Newton was Warden and then Master of the Royal Mint between 1696 and 1727. This presentation explores his wide-ranging activities in these roles during the Financial Revolution, including his prosecution of coin clippers and counterfeiters, and the Great Recoinage of 1696.

Speaker: Dr Alice Marples is a Research Associate in History at the University of Oxford. She completed a PhD on Hans Sloane’s collections and correspondence networks at King’s College London in 2016. Since then she has held research fellowships at the John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester and The Royal Society.


16:55–17:10

“Britain’s Promise to Remember” or Britain’s Promise to Forget? Holocaust Remembrance in the 21st Century

In 2015 it was announced that a new national memorial to commemorate the Holocaust would be built in central London. Although there was widespread praise for the initiative many also issued caution suggesting that an act designed to ensure national remembrance may, paradoxically, lead to national forgetting. Using the proposed memorial as point of departure this paper will explore the politics of Holocaust memorialisation and the role of the Holocaust in British memory.

Speaker: Dr Kara Critchell is a Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Chester. She completed her PhD on Holocaust education in British Society and Culture at the University of Winchester. Since then she has held research fellowships at the University of Leeds and University of Sussex.


History Fringe Sessions: Sunday 27 October

11:40–11:55

Looking for Insults in Medieval Sources

Our written sources for the medieval period are full of instances of insult. In this session we look at some of the juiciest examples of insult from the Norman world and ask what studying insult might tell us about our sources and about the societies in which they were written.

Speaker: Dr Dale Copley completed her PhD at the University of Chester. Her research looked at how medieval insult was represented by the 12th-century, monastic chronicler Orderic Vitalis in his famous Ecclesiastical History.  She is now working on a wider project looking for insults in other Norman narrative sources.


13:30–13:45

Maritime Nightmares: Alien Invasion and Immigrant Jews in Britain c1900

In 1900, ‘alien’ immigration was high on Britain’s political agenda. Whilst the popular press led the charge to demonise incomers, such as Jews, as ‘alien invaders’, fiction writers also seized the opportunity to make their name by reviling in the idea of Britain being ‘under attack’ in the seas encircling the nation.

Speaker: Dr Hannah Ewence is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Chester. She is a specialist on British responses to, and the experiences of, immigrants and refugees across the 19th and 20th century. Her latest book, The Alien Jew in the British Imagination,will be published later this year.


15:15–15:30

The Hidden Narratives of Medieval Art

The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck is a world-renowned painting. This talk will explore the hidden narratives behind medieval artworks, revealing that far from reflecting their owners’ power and status, these objects conveyed the uncertainty of everyday life and the fragility of princely rule during the Middle Ages.

Speaker: Dr Katherine A Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Later Medieval History at the University of Chester. Her work focuses on using luxury and everyday objects to examine social and cultural change in 14th and 15th-century Europe. She is the author of The Power of Textiles. Tapestries in the Burgundian Dominions 1363-1477.


16.50–17.05

How Did Medieval People Handle ‘Ancient’ Discoveries?

What happened in medieval England when people discovered pieces of the ancient past– artefacts, burials, ruins? How did they know it was old? What tests did they run? What did they do with ‘ancient’ discoveries? And what can we, as modern historians, learn from their ideas?

Speaker: As an historical archaeologist, Dr Ruth Nugent combines archaeological, written, and image evidence from the 5th-19th centuries AD. She studies how people used touch to express their emotions and beliefs, and to understand the world around them. She particularly specialises in how people physically interacted with the dead, particularly in cathedrals.

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Find out more about the 2019 BBC History Magazine Weekends in Chester and Winchester here

You can find more information on the Chester University History department here.