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Research in History at Chester spans sixteen centuries from the fifth to the twentieth. It is distinctive in combining this chronological range with a broad geographical coverage including Britain and Ireland, Continental Europe, and America, and in pursuing interdisciplinary approaches.   Research is located within the Department of History and Archaeology, encouraging interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation.  History and Archaeology researchers are organized into three overlapping Research Clusters representing key areas of expertise:

  1. Giving Voice: Diverse Narratives of People, Places, and Objects;
  2. Memory and Mortality: Death, Burial and Commemoration; and
  3. People and Place: Past Landscapes and Environments.

The University’s targeted research funding has been bolstered by external funders including: the AHRC, the Royal Historical Society and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

11 staff were identified as having significant responsibility for research in REF2021, leading to a requirement for 28 outputs to be submitted.

Research outputs submitted to REF2021 are included in the History and Archaeology Collection of ChesterRep, the University of Chester’s online research repository.

The impact of research in this unit was exemplified through the following case studies:

Revealing Diverse Narratives of the First World War to Inspire Communities to Research, Share and Act: Diverse Narratives transformed perceptions of the First World War through an exploration of the experiences of minority groups. An exhibition, hands-on teacher training and a website combined to reshape public understanding of the conflict in the UK and beyond. Training was provided for PGCE students, who taught some 400 History pupils and produced teaching packs for the website increasing understanding of this complexity amongst trainee teachers and their schools. This public engagement also inspired policy changes: it prompted an international company to renovate refugee graves, and Cheshire parish councils to investigate the history of minority groups. 

Landscapes and Gardens: Using History Approaches in 21st Century Practice: Work on the Landscapes and Gardens project transformed awareness of the significance of historic approaches to 21st century health and wellbeing. Through public storytelling, model gardens, interactive events, examples of historic practice, educational workshops, films, and immersive workshops, collaboration with the public, policymakers, and practitioners has been made possible. By connecting healthcare workers, policymakers, teachers, garden practitioners, and the public with the historic roots of gardening for health, this project generated new approaches to wellbeing in mental health, heritage, and education settings.

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