University Students

Community history is an increasingly popular topic for students to study at University. Here, Dr. Alison Twells of Sheffield Hallam University explains what it meant by 'Community History'.

"Community History was inspired by the commitment of many historians in the 1960s and 1970s to 'history from below', to telling the stories of people who have been traditionally excluded from history. In the beginning, the focus was largely on working-class communities, but now includes other (overlapping) groups, including women and people from different immigrant communities. More recently, community history has become popular as part of 'Regeneration' projects. It is seen as a means of inspiring interest in wider community concerns such as education and employment, and the formation of local history projects is one way of bringing people together to plan for the future. The popularity of community history has also been helped by the success of television history programmes, such as 'Restoration' and 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

At Sheffield Hallam University, we teach a third year module on Community History, which sees students, individually or in small groups, 'attached' to a community history organisation in the Sheffield area. The idea is for students to 'do something useful' for the organisation concerned. This might involve undertaking a small piece of research in the local archives, conducting oral history interviews, or writing part of an education pack for KS2 or 3. Some of last year's most successful projects included an oral history of women from ex-mining families in Kiveton Park and an education resource based on the census detailing servants at Abbeyfield House in Pitsmoor."

Here at Kiveton we had several SHU students with us over the course of the project, all of whom made very welcome contributions. Two students worked hard in their own time during the term and over the summer to make contributions to our website.

Helen Dobson created an oral history archive focused on gender, clips of which are in the oral history section and Helen has written a special section for this site, Kiveton Women.

Graham is an experienced genealogist and over several months painstakingly transcribed census records so that the people of Kiveton Park can examine what this area was like in the 19th century. This is a very testing and difficult task to do accurately and we, on behalf of everyone in Kiveton Park and Wales, are very grateful to Graham for his hard work.

Other students made very welcome contributions, including providing well-thought out and designed teaching resources, which provided the basis for our KS2 resource sheets, and doing research into WWI servicemen.

We owe lots of thanks to all the students who have been with us over the last year. CHEERS!