I arrived at King’s in January 2015 with an initial brief to develop two new modules on the history of Victorian London and the 20th century metropolis. Conversations with welcoming colleagues from other departments within the Faculty of Arts & Humanities about this initiative then elicited information about multiple complementary modules; bespoke walking tours; longstanding partnerships with varied cultural institutions; and complementary reading lists on which I could draw and expand.
This experience, which convinced me of a rich, vibrant, diverse but so often untapped resource within King’s, prompted Ruth Craggs (Geography), James Grande (English), Neil Jakeman (King’s Digital Lab) and I to make a bid to the King’s Together Fund. The subsequent King’s@London project aimed to celebrate and innovate around London-themed research and teaching within King’s and to draw into dialogue colleagues with interests in common and collective expertise to share.
Outcomes of the project have included:
- action-focused teaching workshops and a ‘teaching manifesto’ derived from cross-disciplinary conversations and showcased pedagogical innovation – which have a direct legacy in the development of the new Education Strategy by the Curriculum 2029 working group (of which I am a member);
- the creation of a forum within King’s online learning platform, KEATS, to foster information exchange, to share engagement activities and to pool teaching resources – including three new podcasts created by this project – on the Strand Chapel, the Surrey Street ‘Roman’ Baths and the Maughan Library;
- seed funding for two large-scale, London-focused research bids, centred on interdisciplinary public engagement, non-HEI cultural bodies and cross-institutional partnerships;
- King’s London Collective a new resource, which illuminates the work of, remarkably, hundreds of academics at King’s who research and teach on London’s people, places and future posterity.
We hope that this resource, alongside the other outcomes of the project, will allow us to better disseminate information about our teaching and research on London. As such, we have sought to communicate and consolidate our vast and diverse insights into the city we make our home as well as our research ‘laboratories’ and ‘classrooms’.
By Dr Alana Harris, Lecturer in Modern British History, King’s College London