X Close

International Centre for Historical Research in Education


International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE) at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a leading centre for historical research into education



ICHRE runs the History of Education Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research. The seminar attracts speakers from around the world, providing a forum for established historians as well as early-career researchers to present their work. For further information please contact Gary McCulloch or Mark Freeman at ioe.ichre@ucl.ac.uk.

All seminars will be held in ‘hybrid’ mode, with both face-to-face and online attenders. Details of rooms and Zoom links are given below. The passcode in each case is ICHRE. All seminars will start at 5.30pm UK time unless stated.


7 March 2024

Julia Jeanes (UCL): Mechanics’ Institutes and Schools of Science and Art: industry art education for workers in the consumer culture of mid-late nineteenth century England

Room 675, IOE building, 20 Bedford Way

Zoom link (passcode = ICHRE): https://ucl.zoom.us/j/92392790558?pwd=RUcwSFd3clNBeVBlNk1wVmtydXhsZz09

In a modern visual and consumer culture, Mechanics’ Institutes and Schools of Science and Art were one of the first institutions to advance access to industrial art education for the working classes and promote attendance to public exhibitions. Widely critiqued for their unsuccessful attempts to improve workers’ education, and as a middle-class form of social control, recent studies claim that after 1840 Mechanics’ Institutes aligned their curriculum to the labour needs of local industry. Contrary to arguments that employment rates declined, the demand for semi-skilled, skilled and artisan workers in art-labour increased.

Historical discourse on the proletarianisation of art-labour, the denigration of craft skills through mechanisation and ideological distaste for Victorian design, undermines discussion of the artistic processes and skills required between industrial worker and machine. In this paper I focus on archival material from Mechanics’ Institutes and Schools of Science and Art in Barnsley and Leeds as well as the Yorkshire Union of Mechanics’ Institutes. I argue that mechanics’ institutes supported workers’ pursuit of art-industry skills and that associations existed between Mechanics’ Institutes and local manufacturers, which underpinned the formation of the School of Science and Art, School of Art and government School of Design.


2 May 2024

Vincent Carpentier (UCL): Academic workforce in France and the UK: a long view  

Room 731, IOE building, 20 Bedford Way

Zoom link (passcode = ICHRE):


In this seminar, I propose to explore the long-term expansion and transformation of academic workforce in higher education in the United Kingdom and France which, despite their differences and national specificities, share remarkably similar debates around working conditions, segmentation and institutional differentiation. The analysis is based on historical data from the early 1920s onwards collected as part of a project from the Centre for Global Higher Education. The study reveals recurrent tensions between the historical trajectories of staff recruitment, student enrolment and the level and structure of funding. It also points to a strong association in both countries between the expansion of the academic profession and its professional segmentation which tends to reflect, beyond functional diversification, a process of casualisation. The study also reveals a process of institutional differentiation of the academic workforce illustrating alongside the diversity of missions a stratification of HE systems characterised by unequal distribution of resources. Overall, the study suggests that the interconnections and tensions between the processes of expansion, segmentation and differentiation of the academic workforce are historically contingent with the crises of 1973 and 2008 as key turning points. This suggests the possibility to address some of the inequalities (impacting institutions, staff and students) associated with the massification process in both countries by a revival of public investment and a reorganisation of HE systems.

Carpentier, V. and E. Picard. (2023) Academic Workforce in France and the UK in Historical Perspectives Comparative Education.


6 June 2024

Cornelia Dinsleder (Pädagogische Hochschule Luzern) and Maja Lorbek (University of Applied Arts, Vienna): Constructing schools: examples of multilateral solutions in the 20th and 21st  centuries

Room 731, IOE building, 20 Bedford Way

Zoom link (passcode = ICHRE):


The Union Internationale des Architects (UIA) was the first global network of architects, founded in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1948. Three years later, the Commission des Constructions Scolaires (CSC) was constituted within the framework of the UIA (Lorbek, 2022). The Swiss architect Alfred Roth chaired the working group and under him it was dedicated to establishing transnational knowledge exchange on design and technical solutions in school construction. The CSC (School Construction Commission), which was modelled on the working methods of the International Bureau of Education, focused on universal standards and typification, but with due regard for the different financial and material resources in developing and industrialised countries (Lorbek, 2022). However, the interest in developing universal standards for school construction on a transnational level was lost at the beginning of the 21st century.

In the 21st century, there is a spatially consequential change in forms of teaching in mainstream schools concerning individualisation and differentiation. The spatial structures of a corridor school diverge with the needs of the teachers and the extended time spent at the school. One consequence of the developments of the 21st century in the German-speaking world is that the necessity of dialogue between planners and schools is increasingly being formulated as a condition for success in school construction (Berdelmann et al., 2016). Making the school fit for school construction as a stakeholder capable of having a say and participating is becoming a concern that is not yet well established in architectural chambers or associations such as the sia, but is increasingly regarded as important by the building owners – the municipalities and cities. Cross-institutional associations, alliances or even the dedication of the activities of foundations are emerging to address this issue: For example, the first further training courses for school building consultants (Montag Stiftungen) or learning space developers – the internationally working PULS-Verbund (Weyland & Watschinger, 2017) are being organised so that school participation processes can be organised and supported in school building.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email