Professor Michael Wood events

For thirty years now, historian and broadcaster Michael Wood has made compelling journeys into the past, bringing history alive.

Professor Michael Wood
Michael Wood joined the university in 2013 as Professor of Public History.

Michael Wood is the University's Professor in Public History. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University, leads historical field trips and gives three public lectures a year. 

He is the author of several highly praised books on English history including In Search of the Dark Ages, Domesday, and In Search of England.

He has now made well over one hundred documentary films, among them Art of the Western World, In Search of the Trojan War, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, Conquistadors and The Story of India – all of which were accompanied by bestselling books.

His recent series, Story of England, the tale of one village (Kibworth in Leicestershire) through history, was praised by the Independent as 'the most innovative TV history series ever.'

Public lectures

The Story of England - People's History Museum

Inspired by his BBC series The Story of England, Wood traced the lost history of one village in the Midlands as it lived through the Black Death, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and World War II bombings, and uses it to reflect the experiences of ordinary people throughout the country.

Themes of Wood’s talk, from communities hit by turbulent politics to the resilience of the labouring classes, resonated strongly with the museum, which tells the story of British people’s fight for democracy.

Lectures in schools

Professor Wood undertook a series of talks to schools and colleges in Greater Manchester during the 2014-15 academic year, covering a range of topics and tailored to fit in with their curriculum and interests.

Michael Wood "in Conversation" with Tristram Hunt MP

Tristram Hunt has served as the Member of Parliament (Labour Party) for Stoke-on-Trent Central since May 2010. He is a shadow education spokesman, with responsibilities for youth services, further education and junior apprenticeships.

Previously, he was a Member of the Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform, Member of the Joint Committee on Reform of the House of Lords and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Energy Intensive Industries.

Tristram Hunt is a history broadcaster for the BBC and Channel 4, writes for the Guardian and The Observer and is the author of several books, including the award-winning biography, The Frock-coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels.

Professor Michael Wood "in Conversation" with Professor Dame Jinty Nelson FBA

Professor Dame Jinty Nelson FBA studied History at Newnham College, Cambridge, taking a BA in 1964 and a PhD. in 1967. From 1970 until 2008, she taught at King’s College London, and since retirement holds the title of Emeritus Professor.

She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1996 and a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America in 2000. She served as Vice-President of the British Academy from 1999-2001, and as President of the Royal Historical Society from 2000-2004.

She was appointed a DBE for services to History in 2006. She holds honorary degrees from the Universities of East Anglia, St Andrew’s, Queen’s Belfast, York, Liverpool, Nottingham, and Glasgow.

Student workshops

The Story of England in One Village

Can you study the whole history of England in one place? In this ground-breaking series, Michael Wood helped the people of Kibworth in Leicestershire dig up and interpret over 2,000 years of their fascinating history, from medieval peasants to suffragettes.

This session was aimed at anyone thinking about careers in heritage or the media. Michael talked about how the series captured the experience of a community discovering its own history while also creating a narrative to excite a wider audience.

The Story of India

How do you represent the richness and diversity of the history of an entire sub-continent in a six-part documentary series? In The Story of India, Michael Wood travelled across India’s to trace history from the first migrations of people from Africa to the end of the British Raj. Michael will talk about the choices made and challenges he faced creating these programmes.

This session was designed to appeal both to students interested in the history of India and careers in media and television production.

In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great

In this innovative series, Michael Wood retraced the journey of Alexander the Great over 20,000 miles and over 16 modern-day countries including Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan and India.

In this session, Michael talked about the practical experience of making such an ambitious programme and how meeting modern-day storytellers in these countries helped him to vividly convey the profound impact of Alexander on the history of these countries.

Conquistadors: Spanish Explorers and the Discovery of the New World

In Conquistadors, Michael Wood explored the history of the Spanish conquests of the Americas, following the footsteps of the Spanish adventurers. On his journey, Wood encountered stories of both heroism and the complex moral legacy of colonisation.

This session was aimed at anyone interested in the history of imperial conquest, Spain and South America, as well as students interested in the challenges of making a history documentary in extreme terrains ranging from rainforests to deserts.