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History students run successful online international conference

Final year history students on the module ‘Seeds of Conflict in the Holy Land 1840-1923’ recently organised a hugely successful online international conference entitled The Holy Land: Peace, Promises, Problems (1096-1918).

The event provided students with a fantastic career enhancing opportunity to develop essential transferable skills, including event organisation, digital skills, design, promotion, networking and debating.

Organised in collaboration with Edge Hill’s international centre on racism, the conference discussed topics such as the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the relationship between Europeans, Palestinians, Jews and the Holy Land, and the roots and origins of European Orientalism, Palestinian nationalism, and Zionism. Professor of History and Co-Director of Edge Hill University’s International Centre on Racism, James Renton, says:

“I’m extremely proud of my students. They organised and promoted an international conference of leading scholars on the origins of one of the most difficult challenges in global politics. My class had the opportunity to get real-world experience of working with scholars, communications strategy development and implementation (including digital design and marketing), and international event organisation. Students managed their own working teams, problem solved in real-time, and, most importantly, made the event a huge success!”

Professor James Renton
Professor James Renton

The conference itself brought together leading scholars from the USA, Italy and the UK. It was the students’ responsibility to coordinate the event and liaise with the speakers to ensure the event ran smoothly and successfully. To achieve this, the students set up two committees for the pre-event organisation and promotion. This included a communications committee and an organisation committee. The communications group designed the digital poster, came up with the name for the conference, advertised the event via an email invitation campaign, social media, and list-serves.

The organisation committee arranged the pre-conference schedule and played a vital role in ensuring the event ran as planned once it had began.

Ayesha, talks about her experience being a part of the event:

An image of a poster that says "The Holy Land: Peace, Promises, Problems (1096-1918)

How did you become a part of the event and what was your role?

“I had selected to be in the communication team and was chosen by Professor James Renton to be the chair of the group. I was responsible for allocating the seven other group members to their roles. Two roles were to promote the event on the University Twitter account. Another two roles had the responsibility of sending email invitations to scholars who were not already presenting. Three other students roles’ were to promote the event on the academic website H-Net. My job also included using Eventbrite to make the tickets for the conference and assisting my groupmates with whatever they needed, as well as keeping Professor Renton updated on what was going on with booking and the rest of the group.”

How did the event go and what was the benefit to you and the other students involved?

“The conference ran extremely smoothly, thanks to the efforts of the organisation team, chaired by Sadiya. It was extremely interesting to hear the papers presented by the various international speakers and it was great to see my classmates chairing the individual presentations. For those in my team, it provided a great opportunity to learn networking and communication skills. Moreover, it gave excellent experience to reference for future employment opportunities. “

How has studying History at Edge Hill helped you develop employability skills?

“The BA (Hons) History course at Edge Hill has helped me to learn and develop various academic skills alongside writing and research. It also gives you opportunities, like this conference, to develop confidence, and skills like networking, communication, and teamwork.”

History student, Sadiya, who was chair of the organisational team also spoke to us about her experience being involved in the event:

“As chair of the organisational team, I was able to contact multiple international guest speakers, giving me an insight into the research of multiple dedicated professors. The conference as a whole created an enthused atmosphere for many students within the class and gave us an opportunity to organise and advertise an event. Professor Renton has not only provided continuous support in terms of assignments and content but created an interactive and proactive way of expanding our knowledge and bringing students together, all while giving us an insight into life after University within the field of History.”

BA (Hons) English Literature and History student Sadiya Mansur leaning on the glass bannister in the Hub. There is a purple ambient glow in the background.

Ready to gain real-world experience and skills to inspire people with History today? At Edge Hill, our unique work-placement module is the centre piece of a degree that provides you with carefully structured training in historical knowledge and skills, from the Crusades to digital media history, opening up a world of future careers.

June 4, 2022