Informal Historical Learning – Ethnographical Research in Children’s Play Spaces

22nd May 2019 : 16:00 - 17:30

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Qualitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Christoph Kühberger (Professor of History and Civic Education, University of Salzburg)

Location: Seminar Room G, Department of Education

Convener: Katharine Burn

In general, teachers know little about what representations of history are consumed or used by their pupils.

This seminar focuses on aspects of historical culture that children encounter in their private spheres – aspects that are often very different from the topics taught in history lessons. It is the world of children’s bookshops and/or toyshops that comes into focus, as do private play spaces.

The presentation will report on an ethnographic project that is particularly concerned with the children’s rooms as play spaces from the perspective of history education. These rooms contain various toys as well as memorabilia that influence children’s historical thinking. Using a case study, an attempt will be made to approach informal historical learning and playing in private. One aim of the work is to generate insights that will inform our understanding of, and approach to, historical learning in schools.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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