Past Matters 2013

Past Matters Audience

Victorian Pompeii | Europe: The Struggle for SupremacyArt Inspired By History
The Scramble for China


Victorian Pompeii: Triumph or Disappointment?
14 March 2013, 6:00–7:30pm, City Hall (College Green, BS1 5TR)

Mary_Beard_Talk-CrowdToday Pompeii is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world, and it very rarely disappoints. And this summer thousands of people will be enjoying the blockbuster Pompeii exhibition at the British Museum. But has it always been such a hit? This lecture  looked at the experience of visiting Pompeii in the nineteenth century and at the complaints of some visitors at what they saw – and it asked what has changed.

Speaker: Professor Mary Beard, 2013 Visiting Deas Fellow in History and Society
Professor Mary Beard, University of Cambridge, is the 2013 Visiting Deas Fellow in History and Society. She is Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and author of the blog A Don’s Life. Her frequent media appearances and sometimes controversial public statements have led to her being described as ‘Britain’s best-known classicist’. She is general editor of the Wonders of the World Series and author of The Parthenon, The Roman Triumph and Pompeii: the Life of a Roman Town, among others.

Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, 1453 to the Present
23 April 2013, 6:00-7:30pm (Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road, Bristol, BS1 5TX)

struggle-supremacy-cover At the heart of Europe’s history lies a puzzle. In most of the world sprawling empires, kingdoms or republics appear to be the norm. By contrast Europe has remained stubbornly chaotic and fractured. This lecture tells the story of Europe’s constantly shifting geopolitics and the peculiar circumstances that have made it both so impossible to dominate, but also so dynamic and ferocious.

Speaker: Professor Brendan Simms, University of Cambridge

Brendan Simms is Professor of the History of International Relations at the University of Cambridge. His books include Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia, Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the British Empire 1714-1793 and Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, 1453 to the Present.

Art Inspired By History
23 March 2013, 11:00am-4:00pm, The Silai Centre (178 Easton Road, BS5 0ES)

This History Day was an event for all the family at Single Parent Action Network, including art activities for all ages, storytelling and more. It featured a crèche, and a café. The afternoon featured a women’s history taster session from 1pm – 2.30pm. Participants were encouraged to bring a photo or object which reminds them of their family’s history.

It was organised by the Department of History and the Centre for Public Engagement, University of Bristol, in association with the Bristol Festival of Ideas and was part of the 2013 InsideArts programme of public events.


The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Chinese Empire
28 May 2013, 6:00–7.45 pm, Watershed (1 Canon’s Rd, BS1 5TX)

The past matters in China today as never before. This talk explored the foreign impact on the nineteenth century Chinese empire, a tale largely forgotten overseas, especially in Britain, but always close to the surface in China itself.

Speaker: Professor Robert Bickers, University of Bristol
Professor Bickers is the author of the prize-winning Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai and The Scramble for China.