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Heritage Lottery Fund supports project taking Magna Carta legacy nationwide

Posted on 11/04/2016
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The project will develop engaging online learning materials for schools up and down the country

Royal Holloway, University of London, has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the ‘Freedom and Justice: exploring Magna Carta’s legacy online, in the classroom and in the community’ project.

The project seeks to make the Magna Carta - and the tradition of protest, liberty and the rule of law it has inspired since 1215 – an enduring part of school and community life up and down the country.  It is a partnership between Royal Holloway, The Magna Carta School and Egham Museum.

Development funding of £20,200 has also been awarded to help Royal Holloway progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

To ensure that the Magna Carta is better explained and understood, engaging and entertaining online learning resources will be developed for use in in schools nationwide, in partnership with The Historical Association and the AQA exam board. The project will promote student Constitutional Conventions supported by the Supreme Court, community curated pop-up exhibitions and festivals of history, all hosted or showcased on a dedicated website. In addition, the project offers exciting new opportunities for volunteers to develop vocational skills and delivers and embeds the promise of an educational legacy of the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter.

Other elements of Royal Holloway’s Magna Carta Legacy programme include the launch of the Magna Carta Doctoral School funded by a generous grant from the Leverhulme Trust and a new 10 year series of public lectures, commencing on the 13 June 2016 with David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, delivering a talk entitled ‘Terrorism and Tolerance’.

Dr Matthew Smith, Magna Carta Legacy Project Manager at Royal Holloway, said:

'We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. This joint venture linking Runnymede’s university, secondary school and museum, is an exciting new way to explore our democratic heritage and the legacy of Magna Carta. This legacy is not found in parchment, stone or a meadow but resides in the stories of those who over eight centuries invoked the charter to defend and extend liberty and justice or made similarly seminal stands that have redefined the relationship between the state and the citizen.

'We want to tell the story of citizenship through our Magna Carta champions, people like Sir Edward Coke and ‘Freeborn’ John Lilburne, who reached for the charter in the prelude to and aftermath of the Civil War, Helena Normanton, the first female barrister in the UK, and Darcus Howe, who invoked the charter to assert the rights of women and the black community in the twentieth century. It’s a story some 800 years in the making, but it is a story that resonates powerfully in society today.'

Justin Champion, Professor of the Early Modern History of Ideas and Director of Magna Carta 2015 Legacy said:

‘This project promises to extend the 800 year legacy of the Magna Carta tradition of liberty, protest and freedom. It builds on Royal Holloway’s proven expertise in History, Law and Politics, established and developed in the very successful activities undertaken for 2015. Working again with partners in schools and local communities, the project will provide expert resources and activities to enable all, young and old, to explore and engage with this vibrant and important tradition.’


*Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.


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