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Research and Impact

At Durham we believe that our research benefits from collaboration and from being shared with others, whose ideas and support can give us greater confidence and ambition.

Very little matches the sheer pleasure and excitement of historical research, which might arise from the chance discovery of a document in an archive, the development of new insights, the testing of an argument, or the creative craft of writing. Historical research also matters. History is an anti-reductionist discipline that that fosters intellectual maturity, appreciation of (if not agreement with) the views of others, and awareness of the complex relationship between the present and the past.
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An open historic textbook

Research and Impact

At Durham we seek:

  • to encourage all colleagues to pursue research that is innovative and that addresses significant and ambitious historical problems and question
  • to foster a vibrant, diverse, and intellectually stimulating research community that includes not only academic staff, but doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, as well as visiting scholars
  • to promote engagement and impact activities beyond the academic world
  • to enhance the department’s international reputation for research

Our research engages with a wide range of non-academic audiences and users across the world. Colleagues in the department play advisory roles for a number of governments in both foreign and domestic policy, including the US State Department, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the UK Parliamentary Petitions service, the Swiss Foreign Office, and a wide range of NGOs and charities. We work in the creative arts sector, with leading global sound and light companies, with schools in the region, in the UK, and internationally, from Germany to India, and with youth movements in South Africa. Our research into medieval food is to be found in a Newcastle restaurant, on heat and cities in East Asia, and on debates on confederate statues in the USA.


Transformative Humanities

Transformative Humanities

Discover the Faculty of Arts and Humanities' new Transformative Humanities framework which brings together distinctive approaches to humanities research and education within the academy and across a wide range of partners and communities.

Visit Transformative Humanities website

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Find out about our research in our Departmental Clusters, Research Centres and University Research Institutes and our outreach activities.

Clusters, Centres and Institutes

Academic members of the Department lead a number of Research Clusters and Centres and are actively involved in a number of Institutes within the University.
Exterior shot of the front of the Department of History building


Our world-leading research is grounded in its outstanding collections (e.g. the Oriental Museum) and in the extensive international research networks of its staff.
A panoramic view of the library collections