Who We Are


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 3-25 year olds.

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 next year, something we have continued to do annually ever since.  Last year we were in Vienna with around 100 delegates;  this year we will meet in Amsterdam, the Venice of the North, city of canals, flowers and bicycles.

Our Acronym

HEIRNET, the acronym for the History Educators’ International Research Network reflects several musings, including:

  • 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;
  • as a digital age social and professional network
  • as a world wide web

Where we are 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.

The HEIRNET and HERJ [History Education Research Journal] team

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.

Jon Nichol pioneered role play, simulations and history games; Artificial Intelligence software using PROL0G [PROgramming in LOGIc]  from 1980-2003; series of evidence based textbooks for 7-16 year olds extensively adopted nationally and internationally; examination curricula and syllabi for the 14-21 age range; has run numerous curriculum development projects and published widely on History Education for 5-18 year olds.

Hilary and Jon co-founded HEIRNET and was co-editor of the International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, IJHLTR from 2003-17 and its successor, the History Education Research Journal from 2017-19. Both have been editors of the Historical Association’s professional journal for the Early Years and Primary phase, Primary History.

Michael Mitchell is a specialist in citizenship education and its assessment. He recently wrote the most popular English national examination syllabus for the teaching of Citizenship to 14-16 year olds and was the Chief Examiner for Citizenship for the country’s leading Awarding [examination] Body.

Additionally, he has written the leading Citizenship textbook for citizenship as well as having worked for the UK government in relationship to British citizenship and its Citizenship test, composing examples of Citizenship Test questions that many leading British figures failed to answer correctly.

For more about HEIRNET’s academic publications with reference to the History Education Research Journal, click on the link below to view the website’s PUBLICATIONS section.

HEIRNET’s future management

We have established a transition committee to oversee the management of HEIRNET in the future as the current co-chairs fade away, the transition committee will be drawn from the HEIRNET conference committee members. See the HOW WE DO IT sub-section, to consult it, please click on the link below.

We would be grateful for any thoughts, comments and suggestions for HEIRNET’s transition phase and development – please send these to heirnet@gmail.com