History of the Present

Ref: C3528768

We live in interesting times, as the saying goes, so let’s learn about them. What is the history of the present? How are social, technological, cultural and political events of the recent past shaping the world we live in today? Why have neoliberalism, digital technologies, Thatcherism and the ‘Conservative Revolution’ transformed societies since the 1970s? Can understanding the history of the contemporary world help us build a more democratic and equal society in the future? History of the Present will draw on archives, cultural theory and historical sources. We'll also reflect on what we already know about living within history today. History is now – let’s dive into it.

Course aim

History is now, so join us to explore the history of the present. Understand why neoliberalism, digital technologies, Thatcherism and the ‘Conservative Revolution’ have transformed societies since the 1970s.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Analyse legal, economic and technological changes that shape contemporary society
  • Use primary and secondary material to interpret social and historical events
  • Use digital archives to conduct independent research
  • Create sources that will enable people in future societies to understand history today
  • Describe the impact of key social, technological, political and cultural shifts such as neoliberalism, the digital and Thatcherism that have occurred since the 1970s.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • There will be a number of tasks appropriate to your course such as written work, creating art or craft, video, photography or small projects. Some of these may be marked to help you progress

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • This course could lead to a range of job opportunities. Follow link to National Careers Service for more details https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next

Download full Course information sheet

History of the Present

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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