Two-day AHRC-funded workshop on Sustainable Farming Practices Past and Present, Bangalore, India, 21-22 February 2018

The AHRC-funded Changing Farmers’ Lives Past and Present research project held its first event in Bangalore, co-organised by Dr. Sandip Hazareesingh, Director of the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, Open University and the Karnataka based NGO Green Foundation. A variety of presentations by academic researchers and development practitioners explored the potential, first, of Arts and Humanities approaches, in particular aspects of oral history, stories, drama, and film, to document and support small farmer creativity in developing resilience to livelihood challenges in relation to food, biodiversity, and climate issues; and second, of participatory methods aimed at local community conservation of agricultural biodiversity and revival and control of indigenous seeds. Each session was followed by lively discussions. A very original feature of the Workshop was a visit to the Janadhanya Women’s Federation in nearby Terubeedi village. At the community seed bank centre, workshop participants met with local women farmers who presented their work on seed conservation and provided delicious tasters of some of the foods produced by the group, including millet-based papadoms and savoury snacks.

Crime, Policing and Technology in the 20th century seminar, Friday 10th November 2017

On Friday 10th November 2017, the International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice at the Open University will be hosting the next event in its regular seminar series. Four papers will be presented, paper titles and presenters are below. Full details of the seminar, including how to reserve a place, are in the document at the end of this blog post; please click on the link to access the document.

Alison Adam (Sheffield Hallam University)

Science in the service of detection: the British ‚Äėscientific aids‚Äô movement of the 1930s

Ian Burney (University of Manchester)

Spatters and Lies: Technologies of Truth in the Sam Sheppard Case, 1954-1966

Chris Williams (Open University)

The Home Office, Information and Communications, 1950-1975

Paul Lawrence (Open University)

The Curious Case of the Adoption of Photo-FIT

Crime Policing and Technology – Seminar Day Programme 10Nov2017


PhD Research Day 2017

A PhD research day took place in The Open University Library Seminar rooms 1-2, Milton Keynes, on 26 May 2017. The event was organised by Dr Silvia De Renzi and Dr Anna Plassart and provided OU History department PhD candidates an opportunity to present their work and exchange ideas.

For further details, see the full programme below.


  • 10.00: Registration and coffee
  • 10.20: Welcome and introduction
  • 10.30: Chris Mains, ‘Plots and religious conflicts in Elizabethan time: the view of Sir Robert Cecil’
  • 11.10: Katherine Lucas, ‘Developments in the political thinking of Wolfe Tone’
  • 11.50: Break
  • 12.00: Louise Ryland Epton, ‘Welfare provision in the late eighteenth century’
  • 12.40: Lunch
  • 14.00: Lucinda Borkett-Jones, ‘Representations of Anglo-German relations before the First World War’
  • 14.40: Sam Aylett, ‘Museums and the legacies of the British Empire: key questions and methods’
  • 15.20: Coffee break
  • 15.30: Tom Probert, ‘The changing historiography of counterinsurgency: from minimum to exemplary force’
  • 16.10: Concluding remarks


Criminal Justice History seminar, 24 March 2017

The Open University’s criminal justice history centre, (the ICPCJH) is holding the latest in its series of criminal justice history seminars on Friday 24 March 2017.  The event is being held in Library Seminar Rooms 1&2 , Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

The speakers and topics are:

(11.15) Donald Fyson, Laval University, Canada ‚Äď ‚ÄúThe Spectacle of State Violence: Executions in Quebec, 1759-1872‚ÄĚ

(12.15) Maryse Tennant, Canterbury Christ Church ‚Äď ‚ÄúThe Police That Never Was: Peel, Melbourne and the Cheshire Constabulary (1829-1857)‚ÄĚ

(2.15) Chris Fevre, Dundee University –¬† ‚ÄúThe origins of black community resistance to policing in London, 1945-1959‚ÄĚ

To register a place please email If you are not an OU staff member or student you will need to pay ¬£10 for lunch.¬† Please send cheques made payable to ‚ÄėThe Open University‚Äô for the attention of Carol Fuller, School of History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University, Walton Hall, MK7 6AA.

Women and Gender in Early Modern Britain and Ireland: A Conference in Honour of Anne Laurence

Organised by members of the History Department (Gemma Allen, Suzanne Forbes, Amanda Goodrich, Karl Hack, Janice Holmes and Neil Younger), ‘Women and Gender in Early Modern Britain and Ireland: A Conference in Honour of Anne Laurence’ was held at the Institute of Historical Research in London on the 4th June 2016.

Anne Laurence addressing delegates at the Women  Gender in Early Modern Britain and Ireland Conference
Anne Laurence addressing delegates at the conference

This highly successful event, attended by over sixty delegates, celebrated the research of a recently-retired member of the History Department, whilst showcasing new directions in women’s and gender history. Speakers included¬†Amanda Capern, Amy Erickson, James Daybell, Jane Humphries, Mary O’Dowd,¬†¬†Judith Spicksley,¬†Rosalind Carr, and Frances Nolan.¬†Follow this link to access the full conference programme.

Women and Gender Conference
Delegates at the Women and Gender Conference, 4 June 2016

Representing the History Department amongst the speakers was Gemma Allen who talked about her new research uncovering the important (but hitherto ignored) role of the early modern ambassadress, whilst Janice Holmes reflected on the significance of Anne Laurence’s long academic career.

Janice Holmes addressing delegates at the conference

Delegates described ‘feeling suitably inspired after a wonderful conference honouring the career of Anne Laurence’ and noted that it was ‘a privilege and a¬†pleasure to see such accomplished historians … in action’.

The Open University History Department and the conference organisers would like to thank all of the speakers and delegates for making the conference such a success.

Talk: Carolin Schmitz ‚ÄėCrossing healing spaces: the sick and their mobility in early modern Spain‚Äô

On 18 June 2015 our visiting PhD student in history Carolin Schmitz (Instituto de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia “L√≥pez Pi√Īero”,¬†University of Valencia) gave a talk on ‚ÄėCrossing healing spaces:¬† the sick and their mobility in early modern Spain‚Äô. Carolin works on health care in early modern Spain. She is using trial records to recover the perceptions and actions taken by sick people seeking help and care.


Conference in honour of David Vincent

On Saturday 27 June 2015, the Open University and the Social History Society hosted¬†a one-day conference ‚ÄėPrivacy, literacy and the self‚Äô in honour of David Vincent. The conference, held at The Open University in London, included¬†established scholars and newer researchers, with papers considering the significance of David‚Äôs scholarship and the new directions it points to. The¬†programme¬†and¬†registration details¬†are online.


Seminar: ‚ÄėOccupations and Professions in British and Irish History‚Äô, 5 March 2014

A key purpose of the British and Irish Research Group is to encourage and support members in the advancement of their research projects. This seminar will showcase the work of three members of the History department and provide a forum for discussion. The formal papers will be followed by a general planning session for the Group‚Äôs activities in 2014-15. Everyone is welcome to attend; feel free to come for only part, or all, of the event. For further information see the¬†British and Irish History Research Group’s website.

Time: 2:00 ‚Äď 4:00pm
Venue: Open University Milton Keynes Campus, Faculty of Arts, Meeting Rooms 1 and 2, Wilson A Ground floor


Seminar: Criminal Justice History, 12 July 2013

We are holding the next seminar in our criminal justice history series on Friday July 12th, at the Open University’s campus, Walton Hall, in Milton Keynes. The speakers are all researchers who have conducted, or are in the process of conducting, ground-breaking research into the criminal justice systems of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

10.30: Open, Tea, coffee, biscuits.
11.00: Bob Love (University of Leicester) ‘Somerset before the police – policing the county 1830 – 1856’
12.00: Elaine Saunders (Open University) ‘Policing a rural county: eighteenth-century systems of policing in Hertfordshire’
13.00: Lunch
14.00: Dr. Francis Boorman (University of London) ‘The spatiality of policing, crime and disorder in Chancery Lane, c.1760-1815’.
15.00: Dr. Dave Churchill (University of Leicester) ‘The police and the public in Leeds, 1850-1900: the contexts and content of popular animosity’
16.00: Close

If you would like to attend, please could you register by contacting Yvonne Bartley ( There is a charge of ¬£10 for lunch and refreshments for non-OU attendees. If you’ve got any special dietary requirements, please let us know.