Professor Hilda Kean PhD, MA, BA, FHEA, FRHistS

Visiting Professor

Hilda Kean PhD, MA, BA, FHEA, FRHistS  is visiting professor of History. She was formerly Dean of Ruskin College, Oxford and Director of Public History. She was responsible for teaching and learning within the College. At Ruskin she established  (and ran) the first MA in Public History in Britain and organised numerous Public History conferences and a Public History discussion group that now meets at the Gordon Square premises of University College, London.

She has also worked as a senior manager in local authority education departments and as a school teacher and advisory teacher.

She has served as an advisor on various projects including Museum of London's modern galleries project and the Living with the Past at home project jointly run by the Geffrye museum and Queen Mary, University of London. She has served on the academic advisory committee of Minding Animals International, and on the editorial board of Brill's Human-Animal series and as Associate Editor (History) for Society and Animals and on the editorial board of Public History Review. She has served as a governor on various educational bodies. She has presented her work in USA, Britain, France, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand both to academic and popular audiences.

Hilda is an adjunct professor at the Centre for Australian Public History at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Hilda has researched and published widely on public and cultural history and animal-human history. She has broadcast about her research on various programmes including The One Show, (BBC1), Night waves (Radio 3), Saturday Live (Radio 4), Today programme (Radio 4), Women's Hour (Radio 4) and many other programmes on television and radio.

Research / Scholarly interests

Hilda's work focuses on public and cultural history and history and presentation of non-human animals. She is currently writing a book on animals on the Home Front in Britain during the Second World War for the University of Chicago Press. Chapters in handbooks on public history are due to be published by Sage Press and Oxford University Press in 2015.

Recent publications


2013 ed with Paul Martin, The Public History Reader, Routledge 

2012, ed with Paul Ashton, Public History and Heritage Today. People and their Pasts (paperback second edition of People and their Pasts, Palgrave Macmillan).

2011 Joint editor with Paul Ashton of Public History Review no 18

2009 ed with Paul Ashton People and their Pasts.  Public History Today Palgrave Macmillan.

2004 London stories. Personal Lives, Public Histories , Rivers Oram Press.                                         

2000 ed with Paul Martin, Sally Morgan, Seeing History. Public History  in Britain Now, Francis Boutle.

1999 ed with  Geoff Andrews, Jane Thompson, Ruskin College:Contesting Knowledge, Dissenting Politics, Lawrence and Wishart.

1998 Animal Rights : Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800,Reaktion Books (Paperback,2000).

1990 Deeds not Words: the Lives of Suffragette Teachers, Pluto Press.

1990 Challenging the State? The Socialist and Feminist Educational Experience  Falmer.

Selected recent articles in journals/books:

2014 The Home Front as a 'moment' for animals (and humans): the animal-human relationship in contemporary diaries and personal accounts in The British Home Front: Images, Myths and Memories ed Maggie Andrews, Janis Lomas, Palgrave Macmillan.

2013 Animal Protection in Britain in The Global Guide to Animal Protection ed Andrew Linzey, University of Illinois Press.

2013 Human and animal space in historic 'pet' cemeteries in London, New York and Paris in Animal Death ed. Fiona Probyn Rapsey and Jay Johnson, University of Sydney Press.

2012 Challenges for Historians Writing Animal-Human History. What is really enough?  Anthrozoos 25th anniversary issue.

2012 Animals and War Memorials: Different Approaches to Commemorating the Human-Animal Relationship ed Ryan Heidger Animals and War (Brill) pp 237 -262

2012 The transformation of political and cultural space in eds Joe Kerr and Andrew Gibbon London:from Punk to Blair  2nd edition (Reaktion Books).

2012 'Thinking about People and Public History' Graham Dawson (ed.), Memory, Narrative and Histories: Critical Debates, New Trajectories (Working Papers on Memory, Narrative and Histories, no. 1, Brighton: University of Brighton, 2012).    

2011  'English Labour movement festivals and the past: commemorating defeat and creating martyrs', in eds Laurajane Smith, Gary Campbell & Paul Shackel, Cultural Heritage and the Working Class, Routledge series key issues in cultural heritage, pp.266 -282.

2011 Commemorating Animals: Glorifying Humans?  Remembering and Forgetting animals in War Memorials eds Maggie Andrews, Charles Bagot–Jewitt, Nigel Hunt, Lest we Forget. Remembrance and Commemoration, History Press, pp.60 -70.

2011 Traces and representations: animal pasts in London's present, The London Journal (vol 36: 1) March, 54-71.

2010 People, Historians and Public History: De -mystifying the Process of History Making, Public Historian , vol.32, no 3 August, pp.25-38 (USA)

2009 with Brenda Kirsch, 'The teacher's mark-book, the pupils' memory. An exploration of the elision of the official and unofficial in creating new ideas of personal pasts' in Hilda Kean & Paul Ashton People & their Pasts Public History Today Palgrave , pp.187-202.

2009 Balto, the Alaskan dog and his statue in New York's Central Park : animal representation and national heritage, International Journal of Heritage Studies  15:5,pp.413-30.

Recent book reviews:

2014 Hannah Velten Beastly London Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals Anthrozoös 27(4) pp 622 -624

2013 Allyson N.May, The Fox-Hunting Controversy, 1781-2004.Class and Cruelty,  Ashgate 2013 in Archives XXXVIII no 126 (2013) pp.58 -59

2013 Ann Gray and Erin Bell History on Television (Routledge) The Public Historian 35 (3) pp.108 - 110

2013 Arthur MacGregor Animal Encounters. Human and Animal Interaction in Britain from the Norman Conquest to World War I." Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals 26.2 : 316-317.

2012 Dogs and Ravens: exploring the power of myths: Jan Bondeson, Amazing Dogs. A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, Cornell University Press, 2011 and Boria Sax, City of Ravens, Duckworth Overlook, 2011, Society and Animals

2012 Alan Rice  Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press) Journal of American Studies 46 (2012) 1, 229-232

2011 Paul Ashton and Paula Hamilton History at the Crossroads. Australians and the past Reviews in History IHR web review ( 20 January)

Other recent print / online publications:

2014 During World War 2 what happened to the majority of pets?  BBC History Magazine August.  

2014 'The newly restored bird bath memorial near the Thomas Carlyle statue on Chelsea Embankment' The Chelsea Society Report 2013, pp.66 -69.

2011 'Nervous dogs need ADMIN,son!' (Special issue on animals in adverts) Antennae  (online journal) 23, winter pp 61 -63.

2011 editorial Public History Review, 2011.

2010 December 'Public History in Britain today: a country obsessed with reinventions of the past' Hard Times  no 88 Herbst 2010 (Germany)

Selected Recent Presentations:

2014 ' Whose history? Whose past? Exploring the making of history today'  December Macquarie University, Sydney Invited keynote speaker for symposium organised by the History Teachers' Association of New South Wales
2014 'Writing in or /and ignoring animals ? A changing animal-human relationship in critical heritage ?'  International Critical Heritages conference, ANU, Canberra.

2014 John Ferry annual commemorative lecture at the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales. Invited public lecturer

2014 'Finding a man -and his horse - in the archive? Exploring an historian's dream', Public History Centre at UTS, Sydney , invited public lecturer.

2014 'Laurance, Mariana and Hilda: an exploration in reading archived diaries from 1937 – 50 of London advertising business man,Laurance Holman, (and his horse Mariana).' Diaries symposium, Manchester Metropolitan University.

2014 'The cat and dog massacre and the shifting animal-human relationship on the British Home Front during the Second World War' invited to give public lecture in Animal Worlds series at the Humanities in Public Centre, Manchester Metropolitan University.

2014  'Animals and the veterinary profession during the Second World War on the Home Front'. International veterinary history conference, invited keynote speaker.

2014  'Animals and Humans on the Home Front 1939 - 45:  exploring the animal-human relationship in diaries and letters', Raphael Samuel History Centre, Birkbeck College, University of London. Invited public lecturer.
2014 'Remembering the 11+ : what's in (and what isn't in ) the archive.'  Educating Londoners organised by Institute of Education and London Metropolitan Archives. Invited speaker.

2013 'Whose history? Whose past – and whose future?' Keynote presentation at Whose history is it anyway? Public history in perspective University of Central Lancashire.

2013 'Remembering Animals in War', Mid Ulster Friends of the Somme Association. Invited public lecturer.

2012 'Historians, people and brown rats: different roles in making histories', University College, London. Invited speaker heritage seminar series.

2012 'Commemorating animals in war' National Army Museum, public lecture.

2012 'The changing human-feline relationship in Britain c.1900 -1950' ISAZ conference, University of Cambridge.

2012 'Critical Public Histories: the role of public historians in the social construction of knowledge', Unofficial histories conference, Bishopsgate Institute , London.

2012  'Shifting relationships between women cats, and dogs: challenges to the 'People's war', Women on the Home Front conference, Midlands Region of the Women's History Network, National Memorial Arboretum.

2012 'Vets, and pets'- tensions between the veterinary profession, the state and animal charities in World War 2' Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Veterinary Science, University of Cambridge. Invited lecturer.

2011 'Britain as a nation of animal lovers?' Representing Animals conference, University of Rennes, Britanny. Invited keynote speaker.

2011 'Working class heritage and labour movements festivals' MMU  staff and student community history seminar, invited speaker.

2010 'Making radical and national heritages at English labour movement festivals' Australian National University, Canberra,invited speaker.

2010 'Public History in Britain today: elision or distinction?' International radical public history conference UTS Sydney Invited keynote speaker.

2010 'Traces of the past lives of animals in modern London', City of Westminster Guides Association. Invited public speaker.

2010  'A History of Animals in Battersea', Clapham Society invited public speaker

2010 'The great cat and dog massacre of World War 2, University of Greenwich'. Invited public lecturer

2010 'Commemorating animals: glorifying humans? Remembering and forgetting animals in war memorials' (Royal British Legion / National Memorial Arboretum/Staffordshire university invited speaker seminar series).

2009 'Reading the past and present in public animal statues.' University of Massey, Wellington, New Zealand (Postgraduate and staff seminar)

2009 'Where is Public History Today?' Colloquium organised by Raphael Samuel History Centre at Institute for Historical Research, University of London (invited speaker)

Recent Television and Radio Broadcasts and website/ CD material :2014 Contribution on the proposal to ban horses in New York, The Today Programme, Radio 4, December 12.

2014 Contributions on Louise Lind af Hageby and also the Brown Dog riots in 'Light in dark places. Anti vivisection from the Victorian era to the present day' National Museum of Animals and Society online exhibition curated by Julia Orr

2014 re. Mary Richardson on 'Venus in View', BBC Radio 4, 14 March

2014 The oldest firms in Britain: the Toyes (broadcast 22 January 2014) (BBC4)

2013 Time shift : The story of zoos,  (BBC4 website 13 November 2013' The importance of looking' )

2013 Contributions to the New Ruskin Archives: a public history project website including data entries on Arthur Wilfred Ashby, Marion Davies, R.M.Fox, Ann Zammit

2012 Whose archive? Whose history? History Workshop Online

2012 Saturday Live, BBC radio 4 on animals in war Sept 1st

2012 'Humane education and children' 'Comments on badges of ODFL and Animal Defence'  for online exhibition 'be kind: a Visual History of Humane Education 1880 -1945'a new exhibition organised by the National Museum of Animals and Society and curated by Keri Cronin.

2011 Contributor to programme on the effects of cuts in the Humanities in HE to working class students  (BBC Radio 4 iPM January 1st)

2010 The great cat and dog massacre on The One Show (BBC1 17th August)

2009 various on local Australian radio, Wellington community and New Zealand  state and commercial and community radio  (July)