The History Educators International Research Network [HEIRNET]


The History Educators International Research Network [HEIRNET] brings together colleagues from around the world interested in History’s civilising, cultural, educational, moral, social, political and citizenship roles.We are a small, informal and hopefully warm and welcoming community; as such, we look forward to your interest and involvement in HEIRNET.

HEIRNET’s purpose is to share and discuss international research into the aims, purposes and scope of history education for 3-21 year olds.

Our aims

The control of history education is politically important world-wide. At one extreme is the proliferation of governmental ‘Closed Society’ narrow-minded positivistic nationalistic history curricula grounded in populist canons, narratives, stories and histories that promulgate and endorse unquestioned, unthinking national identity, loyalty and commitment. Conversely, there are ‘Open Society’[1], open-minded history curricula that are patriotic but also highlight history as an enquiry that develops the sceptical, evidentially based critical thinking of liberal democracies. Such curricula’s pedagogy embeds history’s processes, procedures and protocols that centre on questioning, investigation, creativity, imagination, hypothesizing, argument, discussion, debate and the reaching of evidentially based conclusions.


History education in its ‘closed’ and ‘open’ minded manifestations is a central concern to all states’ and jurisdictions’ whose constituencies include politicians, government agencies, cultural institutions and organisations, the armed forces & police, security service, the judiciary, capitalists, educationalists, academia, the media, parents and children and the public at large.

Our acronym

HEIRNET, the acronym for the History Educators’ International Research Network reflects several musings: as an heir of history; as a protective hairnet; as being wild, fleeting hare like with even hare-brained ideas; as a catch all net for all aspects of history education; as a semantic historical network of nodes and filaments; and as a digital age social and professional network.

Our origins

In 2004 Dr. Hilary Cooper, Professor of History and Pedagogy at the University of Cumbria and Dr Jon Nichol of Exeter University’s History Education Centre organized a conference for history educators at Ambleside, Cumbria, in northern England. Amazingly, about 40 people from every continent attended what turned out to be, a very exciting conference, the hallmark of which was its friendly atmosphere. We decided to meet annually, something we have continued to do ever since.

What we do: annual conferences, 2004-18

The Ambleside conference led to increasingly patronized and successful conferences, which were characterized by friendliness and informality, irrespective of academic status. Conferences have annually taken in place in varied locations, significantly usually where history is a hotly contested subject, including South Africa, the USA, Brazil, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Cyprus and Slovenia as well as England. This year we are meeting in Vienna, Austria, home of our patron saint, Karl Popper. Our ethos continues to be friendliness and acceptance, with all HEIRNETers being on an equal footing and treated equally.

What we do: publications, 2002-2018

2002-2018 From 2002-18 HEIRNET published the International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research (IJHLTR, r.i.p.) in association with the Universities of Exeter, Cumbria and the Historical Association.

2018 In 2018 the University College London, Institute of Education Pres, [UCL IOE Press] became the publisher of IJHLTR, relaunched as the History Education Research Journal (HERJ) that Arthur Chapman of UCL IOE, Hilary Cooper and Jon Nichol edit with the support of an editorial board.

Figure 2 to follow

HERJ is a peer-reviewed journal published on line with free, world wide access, twice each year. Please note that HERJ will make available the 30 previous editions of IJHLTR – see the HERJ section of this website.

HEIRNET Annual Conference and HERJ

  • Presenters of papers at the HEIRNET annual conference can submit papers for possible publication in HERJ.
  • Papers that are successfully refereed for HERJ but which the journal is unable to publish, for reasons of space mainly, will be posted on the PUBLICATIONS section of the HEIRNET website.
  • The website will also separately publish HEIRNET conference papers, reports, resources, PowerPoints, abstracts for conference presentations, list of presentations with authors, titles, affiliation and contact details – see the PUBLICATIONS section of this website.


Jon Nichol and Hilary Cooper, with Michael Mitchell, continue to organize the annual HEIRNET conferences, supported by a conference committee of past, current and future conference hosts. HEIRNET responds in particular to the advice of its conference committee, see table below, making annual changes to reflect the interests of colleagues and the evolving nature of and challenges to history education. Two significant such 2018 changes are the launch of the History Education Research Journal, HERJ, whose publisher is the University College London Institute of Education [UCL IOE] and a permanent HEIRNET website.

Committee Members Email Country
Hilary Cooper Cumbria, England
Jon Nichol Devon, England
Michael Mitchell Devon, England
Arthur Chapman London, England
Terry Haydn E. Anglia, England
Andreas Körber Hamburg, Germany
Roland Bernhard Salzburg, Austria
Thomas Hellmuth Vienna, Austria
Andrea Brait Vienna, Austria
Bernhard Trautwein Vienna, Austria
Arie Wilschut Amsterdam, Netherlands
Carla Van Boxtel Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nicole Roussou Corfu, Greece
Charalambos Kourgiantakis Corfu, Greece
Eleni Apostolidou Ioannina, Greece
Caitriona Ni Cassaithe Dublin, Ireland
Fionnuala Waldron Dublin, Ireland
Yosanne Vella Malta
Alejandro Egea Murcia, Spain
Laura Arias Murcia, Spain
Jorge Ortuño Molina Murcia, Spain
Terrie Epstein New York, USA
Lukas Perikleous Nicosia, Cyprus
Helena Pinto Porto, Portugal
Isabel Barca Minho, Portugal
Marcelo Fronza Brazil
Dolinha Schmidt Brazil
Christian Mathis Switzerland
Andre Sokolov Yaroslavl, Russia
Judith Breitfuss Vienna, Austria

Where is HEIRNET based?

HEIRNET is based in England, with extremely close links to the University College London Institute of Education and the Historical Association of Great Britain.

Who We Are

Hilary Cooper is an acknowledged international authority on history education for the early years and primary phases, 3-11. She has published widely in several languages, see the PUBLICATIONS page.

Jon Nichol pioneered role play, simulations and history games; series of evidence based textbooks for 7-16 year olds extensively adopted internationally; and examination curricula and syllabi for the 14-19 age range.

Michael Mitchell is a specialist in citizenship education and its assessment whose initial specialism was history. He has written a number of textbooks regarding citizenship and its assessment as well as having undertaken work of behalf of UK government departments relating to British citizenship.

Arthur Chapman is an Associate Professor, History in Education, at UCL Institute of Education and a fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Historical Association.

[1] Popper, K. (1945) The Open Society and Its Enemies, Routledge