The Future of Public History Programs in Canada

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Active History is proud to present a video each week from New Directions in Active History. The conference took place at Huron University College on October 2-4, 2015 and brought together scholars, students, professionals and community members to discuss a wide range of topics pertaining to active history.

Continuing the conversation on the future of Public History programs in Canada is Dr. John Walsh, co-ordinator of the Master’s of Public History program at Carleton University. Walsh discusses the tension often present in Public History programs between theory and practice. He advocates for programs to offer a combination of reading and hands-on projects. Walsh points out that students in the program come from all over Canada and from diverse academic backgrounds. He stresses the range of projects that students can undertake apart from a traditional thesis, including documentary film making, dance and theatre, etc. He adds that graduates from the program have gone on to work in a multitude of fields including academia, government agencies and in the private sector. Lastly, Walsh raises the point that the Public History program is at an “interesting moment” as many MA graduates are choosing to complete a PhD on a Public History topic. He questions what this would mean for the structure of a PhD program in Public History versus a traditional PhD of History.

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