Researching the past: Scotland and the Wider World 1400-1800 is designed to share with the public recent and innovative research by historians at St Andrews. We are planning activities introducing children and young people to the fascinating study of history through interactive exercises, story telling and demonstrations by our researchers on using documents/artefacts to understand the past. We will hold several public lectures which will include a dramatised reading of eighteenth-century travelogues and letters as a means of engaging the public in the colourful minutiae available to researchers, while demonstrating to them how such detail informs trends and theories of historical thought. In keeping with a key strategic objective of the call to encourage people to embark on research as a profession, we will involve selected final-year undergraduate students by showcasing a poster exhibition, supervised by a researcher, who will invite the students to base their posters on his extensive database of information on Scottish political and social networks with Scandinavia and Northern Europe between 1580 and 1707. The exhibition will be open to all but will be targeted at secondary school children and new undergraduate students, to demonstrate the accessibility of research even in the early stages of a research career.
There will be opportunities for all members of the public to engage directly with this database through demonstrations, search portals and short talks. Our researchers will be available throughout the event to discuss their research and its significance and influence on society and the cultural heritage of Scotland within Britain, in Europe and in the wider world. With these activities we will demonstrate that historians have many varied interests and talents and that research careers do not exclude continued interaction with society beyond a chosen research area.