A photo of Helen WeinsteinProfessor Helen Weinstein

Director of the Institute for Public Understanding, University of York

I am a historian and media producer, and have been the director of the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past at the University of York since its foundation in 2006. My career has been centred on the past in both academic and public mileux, and throughout I have maintained an interest in the ways in which the past can be understood. I have spent time as a historical advisor to media institutions such as the BBC, as well as producing over eighty documentaries and history programmes for both radio and television. I have acted to bring the past into different environments and to find different methods of interpretation, through my role as an advisor to various funding and policy bodies such as the AHRC and HLF, in addition to broadcast media and the heritage sector.

My aim at IPUP is to use those skills and experiences to find new ways of working with the past, and to facilitate conversations between practitioners in different fields of expertise. I have been involved in setting up several research and Knowledge Transfer projects, as well as an IPUP internship programme for graduate students so that they can have an experience of translating their academic skills in to tv, radio, museum and heritage site products and exhibtions. I have also been able to act as policy advisor and consultant to several national bodies, including English Heritage , Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Mayor’s Office.Research Interests

My research interests broadly cover interpretation and narrative, and the ways in which the past is packaged for mass audiences. I am interested in how mass audiences consume the past, and in the interaction of audiences with museums, heritage sites, media – see for example the recent ‘1807 commemorated’ project, an AHRC-funded Knowledge Transfer project which I devised for IPUP with seven partner museums. Within that range I have also focussed specifically on issues such as Britishness, Identities, and Migrations, on the production and presentation of the past on radio and television, as well as on the web.

For full biographical details please visit the York University website.

Arts & Humanities Research Council: Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,000 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. See Arts & Humanities Research Council website.