Wednesday 28th – Friday 30th August

The History Educators International Research Network [HEIRNET] hosts an annual conference which brings together colleagues from all around the world who are interested in history’s civilising, cultural, educational, moral, social, political and citizenship roles.

HEIRNET is a small but friendly informal organisation and 2024 marks our 20th year of existence. This year we are delighted that the Stirling Centre for Research into Curriculum Making in Scotland is hosting HEIRNET 2024.

Stirling has been called ‘the buckle on the belt of Scotland.’ Until the construction of the iconic Forth Bridge in 1890, anyone travelling to or from the highlands needed to pass within 20 miles of the city, making it a meeting point of armies throughout history. It is impossible to tell the story of Scotland (or Britain) without the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge (the first Scottish victory of England in the wars of independence) and the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn (when Scottish independence was achieved). Next to the university, the Wallace Monument pays homage to William Wallace, a symbol of Scotland’s struggle for independence.

The city is overlooked by an imposing medieval castle whose magnificence befits Stirling’s strategic importance. The favourite residence of the Stuart kings in the sixteenth century, the castle reflects the popularity of continental European culture in Scotland at the time. From the castle, visitors can look North to the stunning highlands and its stunning landscapes, or along the Forth Valley, the extensive area of low-lying land between Glasgow and Edinburgh in which Scotland’s industrial history was written.

The breath-taking combination of natural beauty and historic significance in a place where national identity has been so often contested makes Stirling the perfect backdrop for scholars, educators and enthusiasts alike to meet and discuss issues relating to the teaching of history.


HEIRNET prides itself on history education playing a crucial role in young people developing essential historical knowledge and understanding of the world they live in, learning whatever lessons it is that this knowledge can help teach them. Our 2024 conference theme reflects on just what those lessons might be and how they might be taught and learned.

History education can serve many purposes – epistemic (building critical perspectives), aesthetic (conveying passionate engagement with the past), and identitarian (shaping national, individual or other senses of self) purposes are just three examples.

For millennia, history has been thought to have a pedagogic function – to teach ‘lessons’ for the present and future. ‘Historia magister vitae,’ Cicero said, and history education is often expected to provide prudential lessons, about how to act in the light of experience, and ontological lessons, about what human beings, societies and polities have been, are and might, perhaps, become.

Can the past be any kind of guide to the future? Can history teach lessons for the future in our unprecedented and troubled times? If yes, what might these lessons be and how can they best be understood, taught and learned?

This year’s HEIRNET conference will address these issues from as plural a set of perspectives as possible. History educators in schools, universities, heritage, museum and other sectors are invited to submit proposals to contribute to these wide-ranging discussions, hosted in the Centre for Research into Curriculum Making at the University of Stirling, Scotland, between the 28th and the 30th of August 2024.

The HEIRNET 2024 conference invites proposals for presentations from across the conference’s 7 themes with 24 sub-themes and over 300 separate topics, a schematic network that maps the History Education world.

To explore the network, click on the Conference Areas Submissions, Themes and Topics link.