Posted on: November 21st 2023

LAE / Forest School Annual History Symposium

LAE were delighted to meet with colleagues and peers at Forest School for the highly anticipated London Academy of Excellence and Forest School's annual History Symposium. The History Symposium, started in 2019, is a wonderful initiative that provides an opportunity for our engaged and academic young historians to research and present on a subject of their choice. 

Dr David Smith from Selwyn College, Cambridge, kickstarted the Symposium with a lecture entitled "Why was Charles I executed?".  Students asked some extremely insightful questions, and the lively discussion continued over lunch.

Then, selecting topics based on their own interests and curiosity, students impressed their audience with presentations on a wide range of topics including:  the exploration of coercion, control, and state-sanctioned violence in the contributions on colonial wars in Canada; the fascist rule in Czechoslovakia;  and the Punic Wars in ancient Rome.  We learned more about the long-term effects of imperialism and race in the Rwandan genocide; about race relations in the 1960’s in the contributions on the politics surrounding immigration in Britain; and on policing of Algerian rebels in France.

Concerns around ethnicity and nationalism were juxtaposed with a focus on gender and feminism  through a study of representations of women in classical literature; a contribution on the struggle for female suffrage in the US; and on developments in medicine and society in relation to sexuality and pregnancy.

These serious and profound themes clearly exposed how our young historians are deeply engaged with the world they are living in and how important it is for them to explore the origins of the issues we are dealing with today. By exploring the past students are able to face current issues with knowledge and courage. 

Our thanks go to Forest School for hosting us in their beautiful school. We are already looking forward to next year's Symposium.