Plymouth History Festival
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The 10th Plymouth History Festival celebrates Plymouth's unique heritage and showcases the community heritage work taking place across the city. 

The overarching themes for this year's event centre around the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park project and how Plymouth’s enduring connection with the water has come to shape the identities of the people and communities who have called this place home through history.

The festival features a range of talks, guided walks and behind the scenes tours, performances, family activities, exhibitions and displays. 

Plymouth History Festival is coordinated by The Box and delivered in partnership with a wide range of partner organisations, societies and individuals. The festival has, over the years, engaged with thousands of people, offering a diverse insight into Plymouth’s rich historical past.

Scroll down to view the events linked to the University.

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<p>Plymouth History Festival</p>

The Arts Institute Film Commission 2021 Premiere: Tall Tales and Wonder Rooms

Selected for The Arts Institute Film Commission 2021, the premiere of Tall Tales and Wonder Rooms will be introduced by winning filmmaker Mohini Chandra. 
Working closely with the film archive at The Box Plymouth, Mohini has created a beautiful piece delving into the tales and hidden histories of Plymouth’s waters and the city’s links to the wider world. Alongside Mohini, this film will have an additional introduction from Mallory Haas, Director of The SHIPS Project – a Plymouth based non-profit organisation that undertakes research and exploration of maritime historical sites and events, both on land and underwater. This enchanting film was produced in collaboration with The SHIPS Project.
Monday 9 May 2022 | 19:00-20:00 | Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth


Still from <i>Tall Tales and Wonder Rooms</i> by Mohini Chandra, winner of the 2021 Film Commission Prize


The Past, Present and Future of Drake's Island

A Historical Association and University of Plymouth History Department talk with Robert King, Drake's Island Warden.
Drake's Island has long been a fascination for the people of Plymouth. The talk will explore the history of the Island as a private place of pilgrimage for the Valletort Family, a tax collection centre, a refuge, fort, state prison and adventure centre. It will take a close look at how the garrison and adventure centre staff lived and worked on the Island. A photographic tour of the Island now, and how the Island will be incorporated into the desired vision of the current owner will be followed by ample opportunity to ask questions.
Tuesday 10 May 2022 | 19:00-20:30 | Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth

<p>Drake's Island - Robert King<br></p>

Drake's Island - image: Robert King


Lower Tamar Crossings: a historical view

A Historical Association and University of Plymouth History Department talk with Les Deering, Tamar AONB.
This talk grew out of a photography project Les began in 2017 which was to visit and photograph the Tamar, and in particular its various crossing points. Although the Tamar may be regarded by some as a small river its tenacity in reaching the sea is impressive. Its source is about 3.7 miles from the north Cornish coast but it chooses to flow southwards for 60 miles before entering Plymouth Sound. During its journey it almost succeeds in making the Cornish an island race and remains a formidable barrier and natural boundary for all, friends and enemies, tourists and invaders, to cross. Some crossings date back centuries whilst others are much more recent. Many have a rich heritage and iconic status.
Tuesday 17 May 2022 | 19:00-20:30 | Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth

<p>Les Deering, 2016, Cremyll Ferry, looking across to the Royal William Yard<br></p>

Les Deering, 2016, Cremyll Ferry, looking across to the Royal William Yard


Maritime History Seminar

Two maritime history talks that are open to all. We look forward to seeing you in person.
'The Royal Navy and the policy of foreign manning, from the French wars to the Crimean War' | speaker: Dr Sara Caputo, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge
'A water bawdy house: the experience of women at sea in the 17th century' | speaker: Dr Elaine Murphy, University of Plymouth
Wednesday 18 May 2022 | 16:00 | University of Plymouth (room to be advised)

<p>A fresh breeze off Portsmouth Harbour.&nbsp;William Adolphus Knell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons</p>

A fresh breeze off Portsmouth Harbour. William Adolphus Knell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Plymouth, a city steeped in maritime history

Find out how Plymouth played a role in history from 1588 until the present day.

Our Ocean City: Stories and Sounds of the Sea

Our Ocean City: Stories and Sounds of the Sea celebrates Plymouth’s maritime links with a series of talks.
The event is organised by the Plymouth Octopus Project’s Community Heritage Network in partnership with the Old Plymouth Society and Devon Family History Society. Speakers include University of Plymouth maritime archaeologist and chairman of the Plymouth Archaeology Society, Martin Read, who will talk about the Commercial Wharf Dig.
Saturday 21 May | 09:45-16:00 | Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth

<p>Plymouth Sound</p>

Bitesize: Rachel Whiteread – Making the Invisible Visible

Join University of Plymouth Art History Graduate, Clara Jackson as she discusses Rachel Whiteread's Untitled (6 Spaces). Clara will explore Whiteread’s practice of turning negative space into positive sculptural form and making the invisible, visible. Breaking the Mould is the first major survey and celebration of post-war British sculpture by women. In this Bitesize, Clara will examine Whiteread’s work, her role as one of the world’s leading sculptors and, most importantly, her position - and that of the other artists on display in the exhibition - in the context of the male-dominated narratives of sculpture.
Wednesday 25 May 2022 | 13:00-13:45 | The Levinsky Gallery, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth

<p>Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (6 Spaces), 1994,&nbsp;40 x 313 x 41.5cm (15 3/4 x 123 1/4 x 16 5/16") resin, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London 

Rachel Whiteread.<b></b><br></p>

Imperfect Cinema at Stonehouse Memories History Group

Imperfect Cinema will be giving an interactive multimedia lecture about Cinema in Stonehouse (1896–1999) as part of this gathering of fine folk with an interest in all things Stonehouse and the historical!
The event continues the Home of Movies research project which explores the truly incredible and largely completely forgotten film and cinema heritage of Plymouth’s Union Street. The project seeks to reengage the community with aspects of its history and in doing so, bring cultural capital and new value to the area.
Saturday 28 May from 10:00 | Oasis Cafe, 28 Manor Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth PL1 1TW

<p>Imperfect Cinema Stonehouse Memories Group image</p>

Plymouth's Powerful Women trail

The Powerful Women trail app celebrates 100 years of the important and influential women who lived or worked in the vicinity of The Hoe and who made a real difference to Plymouth, pushing boundaries, enhancing living conditions, promoting social justice and creating educational opportunities for all. 

Those featured include Nancy Astor MP, language school founder Suzanne Sparrow, scientist Marjorie Wilson, suffragist Clara Daymond and the South West’s first female GP Dr Rosa Bale, among others.

The 1.2 mile trail has been developed by the Hoe Neighbourhood Forum for their National Lottery Heritage Funded project, “100 Years of Plymouth Powerful Women” in association with the University of Plymouth. The research was conducted by Dr Judith Rowbotham (Honorary Professor) and content and images were sourced by Professor Kim Stevenson (Emeritus Professor) from the University. 

The free Plymouth Trails app is available from the AppStore or PlayStore.

<p>walking trails</p>

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are constantly monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. The University remains open with a safety-first approach to ensure our campuses are ‘covid-secure’ for our staff, students, local community and visitors, in accordance with government guidance.

University advice and guidance on COVID-19

Event photography and video

Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events (both online and offline) may be attended by University staff, photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If you, or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed or recorded, please let a member of staff know.