Does History Matter? BBC NI’s Festival of History & Broadcasting

BBC NI Festival of History and BroadcastingI 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.

In association with the Heritage Lottery Fund, BBC Northern Ireland are running a series of free 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.

Does History Matter? is the title of a panel discussion between author/presenter Carlo Gébler and historians Pat Thane and Keith Jeffrey looking at the relevance of the past for policy-makers and politicians as well as the necessity and dangers of storytelling.

The festival team have also lined up a wide range of talks covering Pompeii, King James Bible, J. C. Beckett, the Acts of Union, Horrible Histories, unlocking the BBC Archive content, as well as the histories of RTÉ and the BBC. Personal insights into what thrills historians, and how the portrayal of history in the media has changed over time (and how it may continue to change).

Dan Cruickshank, Dame Jenny Abramsky, Roly Keating, Roman Krznaric, Alvin Jackson, Mary Beard, Diarmaid Ferriter, John Bew, Ian McBride, Andrew Holmes, John Bowman, Jean Seaton and more, hosted by William Crawley.

Most of the sessions are an hour long and free tickets can be reserved at the BBC Events website. While no two Slugger readers might agree on the same version of history, it’s clear that many have an interest in exploring the past!