In association with the Heritage Lottery Fund, BBC Northern Ireland are running a series of talks and events next week in Broadcasting House (Ormeau Avenue) combining the subjects of history and broadcasting.
BBC NI has a growing track record of producing history programmes for BBC Four and BBC Two, as well as examining the twists and turns of events on this island.
We will be ranging across centuries, continents and ways of thinking about history and will be featuring lots of programme clips and recordings. Our aim is to have a big local conversation about the past and why it still matters today.
Historians, presenters and producers will be sharing their ideas on why history matters. The current schedule includes:
- Jenny Abramsky – Why history matters to me
- Dan Cruickshank – Adventure in history: places, people and discovery
- Roman Krznaric – History as a guide to living (through his eyes as a cultural historian)
- Roly Keating – Unlocking the BBC’s Archives (challenges, new technologies and partnerships)
- Adam Nicolson – Books and broadcasting: God’s secretaries (including discussion about his recent work on the King James Bible)
- Carlo Gébler, Pat Thane and Keith Jeffrey – Does History Matter?
- Alvin Jackson – Celebrating J.,C, Beckett, Ulster’s first media don (also talking about Jackson’s new book on the Acts of Union)
- Mary Beard – Classical history: still relevant? (talking about what prompted her interest in the past and her TV series on Pompeii)
- Richard Bradley – Horrible Histories [the CBBC series]: alternative ways of looking at the past
- Martin Davidson – Small screen, big stories: bringing the past to life (showcasing the diversity of history-related programming and reflecting on how the media’s approach to history has changed over time)
- Diarmaid Ferriter – Island stories: understanding who we are
- John Bew, Ian McBride, Andrew Holmes – Telling it straight: writing histories of Ireland
- David Reynolds – History about elsewhere: making connections (with a focus on north America, looking at the centrality of narrative history and how a good story can attract the interest of a general audience)
- Aaqil Ahmed and Francesca Stavrakopoulou – Religion and history: past in present (including discussion about the sensitivities involved in programming about faith traditions and belief)
- John Bowman and Jean Seaton – Window and mirror: broadcasting histories (speaking about their experiences of writing about the history of RTÉ and BBC)
I gave up history at the age of 14. Keeping on three sciences meant that it was a straight choice between geography and history. As a result, my knowledge of history is confined to the legend of Finn McCool, the Roundheads and the Cavaliers, and a link between the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in an open top charabanc and the start of the First World War.
Maybe if Horrible Histories had been around twenty five years ago I might have been lured into the understanding the world of the past? My young daughter reads little else at the moment.
If you’re a history buff, or just interesting in exploring the ideas, asking questions and listening to other opinions, head over the BBC Events website where you can register for free tickets.