We make economic history more accessible by removing jargon and translating academic research. We encourage and support academics to embrace economic history in new and exciting ways.
CEPH’s outreach objectives are divided into four categories, each designed to inform and influence a specific audience.
We believe economic history offers a unique opportunity for pupils in secondary education to understand the world in which they live, while ensuring they develop a well-rounded and extremely employable skillset. The economic history discipline’s natural balance between quantification and contextualisation opens up interesting and lucrative career paths. Yet economic history remains underrated and understudied in the school curriculum, not featuring very much in either economics or history syllabi.
CEPH aims to engage with school pupils before they embark on their university journey and demonstrate how useful and fulfilling economic history can be. This will be achieved through targeted outreach activities, including school visits across the island by CEPH staff, holding access events at Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast, and delivering CPD training to secondary school teachers.
Our outreach agenda will allow school pupils to make a more informed decision when selecting their Leaving Certificate or A Level subjects, or when applying to university through CAO or UCAS. We hope this will facilitate the growth of economic history as a discipline, securing its place in economics-related degree pathways.
Our school activities are carried out in association with other similar initiatives, including Discover Economics, a Royal Economic Society-funded project which champions the discipline of economics more broadly.
Although economic history enjoyed a significant rise in popularity from the 1970s, the 1990s heralded a bleak time for the discipline, with plummeting student numbers forcing the closure of most university economic history departments across Ireland and the UK. Academic economic historians were initially consolidated into either history or economics, but the discipline was not priorities in either.
CEPH aims to re-install economic history as a key part of the academic fabric of Irish and UK universities. We will revive interest in the field by demonstrating its value to academics who may not appreciate the benefits it can offer to their research and teaching. We will achieve our goal through the dissemination of new teaching and learning resources, as well as organising pedagogical research seminars, roundtable discussions and CPD courses for new lecturers.
Alongside academics, CEPH will also encourage undergraduate and pre-doctoral university students to consider further study of economic history. We will create a sustainable pipeline across the island of Ireland by inspiring a new generation into the economic history discipline.
We work closely with other organisations that champion economics and economic history pedagogy, including the Economics Network, the Economic History Society and the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland.
Public policy is rarely experimental and must instead ground itself in what came before. Truly effective policymaking combines a deep understanding of the policy context with robust modelling of potential outcomes. Economic history helps with both.
CEPH aims to ensure that learning from the past is not lost in the policymaking process. We aim to help improve policy decisions by providing the necessary economic history context. And we intend to develop new rigorous policy evaluation methods that take history seriously.
We will accomplish our goals by running CPD courses aimed at policy professionals, as well as networking with key policymakers in the Irish and UK governments. We will also host workshops and roundtable discussions which will tackle prevalent issues through a historical lens, including nationalism, globalisation and climate change. We will provide the platform through which economic historians can discuss wicked problems and grand challenges with industry experts and government policymakers.
We work alongside other organisations which aim to improve the policymaking process, including the Long Run Institute, the Economic and Social Research Institute and the Centre for Economic Policy Research.
Sparking an interest in economic history
Whether they realise it or not, most people care directly about the economy. It has an impact on every aspect of our lives, and its study can help us to better understand our standard of living, wages, housing situation and more.
Economic history enjoys a unique position as it has the potential to inform almost any level of economic query. Questions like ‘why did a land war in Europe change the price of bread in Ireland?’ or ‘how does inflation affect me?’ can all be addressed by drawing on our economic past. The challenge is demonstrating this utility to the public in an accessible manner.
CEPH aims to bring this economic history perspective to the public in a wide array of avenues. These range from a sustained and informative social media campaign, to public events, book launches and curated, jargon-free articles exploring current events. By ensuring our outputs are current, accessible and potentially entertaining, we can inform and educate as many people as possible and spark a wider interest in economic history.