WW1 Research by former student

Former Exploring the Past student presents at University-wide exhibition

Continuing & Professional Education is pleased to congratulate Dan Jewson, (pictured) presenting his research on Cardiff’s experience of World War One at a university-wide exhibition last Friday morning.

This was the result of work that Dan conducted in the Glamorgan archives in the summer of 2014, collaborating with academics and local heritage institutions and looking particularly at the impact of the war on women, children and immigrants in Cardiff.

His research was made possible by a £1300 grant from the Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP), which supports summer research placements for Cardiff University students.

Dan is a great example to those returning to learning little later in life. He started his journey at the Centre on the Exploring the Past Pathway and is now flying through the second year of a History degree at Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

Exploring the Past is a unique progression pathway providing adults returning to education with a route onto degrees in History, Archaeology and Religious Studies. It is designed specifically for people with busy lives and is taught by tutors who are recognised experts in their subjects. No prior qualifications or subject knowledge are needed – an enthusiasm for learning about the past is all that is required

The pathway’s co-ordinator Dr Richard Marsden said: “It is fantastic to see Dan’s research getting such recognition. What this shows is that adult learners have a vast amount to offer universities. Lecturers are always chuffed to have mature students in their classes for precisely this reason. Dan is just one of many former Exploring the Past students now doing great things on their degrees. I am really looking forward to working with the next group of pathway students looking to start their degrees in September 2015.


Continuing & Professional Education currently offers pathways to the following degrees: Accounting and Finance; Business Management; Modern Languages, Translation Studies; Social Science; Journalism, and Media Studies and English Language, Literature and Philosophy.


Why ideals defeated common culture in WW1

Ideology triumphed over common culture in the First World War, historian Sir Hew Strachan told a packed Cardiff University public lecture on 21 May 2014.  The celebrated war historian told 250 eager listeners that the war took just weeks to break common cultural links and replace them with the crude ideologies of war.

The event’s organiser Dr Richard Marsden said, ‘It is fantastic to see so many people from all walks of life here this evening. This lecture series is all about taking research out of the ivory tower and putting it at the disposal of the public. We hear a lot about ’research impact’ in universities these days. Sir Hew’s research has certainly had an impact on hundreds of people here tonight, and he was given a run for his money with some great questions at the end.’


Attendees also enjoyed a cheese and wine reception before the lecture. The reception showcased some of the community-focused history courses and outreach projects at Continuing & Professional Education and also the School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

This lecture was part of the Exploring the Past Free Lecture series offered by Continuing & Professional Education in collaboration with the Historical Association. These talks run on a monthly basis and offer members of the public the chance to find out about cutting-edge research in the Humanities.

The lecture series itself is an off-shoot of the Exploring the Past pathway, which offers a flexible route onto degrees in History, Archaeology and Religion to adult learners without formal qualifications. This is just one of a number of similar routes run by Continuing & Professional Education as part of its Pathways to a Degree programme.

To find out more about part time courses visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or call 029 2087 0000

To find out more about Pathways to undergraduate degrees visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn/pathways

The Ideas of War, 1914 by Professor Sir Hew Strachan


This lecture will address how World War I became driven by ideologies very quickly after its outbreak despite the commonalities of culture and even religion in Europe before it.

Continuing & Professional Education is pleased to welcome Professor Sir Hew Strachan (All Souls College, University of Oxford) to deliver this lecture which is part of an exciting series from the Exploring the Past FREE Lecture series offered in collaboration with the Historical Association.

Professor Sir Hew Strachan is Chichele professor of the history of war at Oxford University, director of its Changing Character of War programme, and author of The Politics of the British Army.

Advance booking for the Public Lecture is not essential and last minute attendees are most welcome. However if you definitely intend to come to one or more of the lectures, it would be most useful if you could register via our “Book now” facility or by clicking the link below:


To find out more about part time courses visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or call 029 2087 0000

To find out more about Pathways to undergraduate degrees visit

Learn more about our other Exploring the Past talks here:

Exploring the Past Pathway Celebrates 3rd Birthday

third_birthday_for_etpThe Exploring the Past pathway, an innovative widening access route offering adults without formal educations the chance to access degrees in history, archaeology and religion, has just turned three.

The birthday was marked with a reception on the evening of 6 November at Continuing & Professional Education. In particular, the event highlighted the achievements of the students who have completed the pathway over the past three years and are now studying on degrees in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University. Current students and university staff also attended to show their support for the pathway and celebrate its successes over the last three years.

The event also inaugurated a new collaboration between the Exploring the Past free lecture series, and the Cardiff branch of the Historical Association. These monthly lectures are aimed at the general public and present an exciting window into research undertaken in history, archaeology and religion. This academic year, four of the ten talks will be Historical Association guest lectures delivered by renowned scholars from universities across the UK.

All the courses on the Exploring the Past pathway are informed by research and by an ethos of inclusion and open access to Higher Education. The collaboration with the Historical Association is very much in that spirit and is intended to bring the work of leading academics to a new audience who would not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with it.

The first Historical Association guest lecture was delivered after the birthday reception by Professor Gareth Steadman-Jones of King’s College Cambridge, who spoke to an audience of over fifty pathway students, undergraduates, postgraduates, lecturing staff and members of the public on ‘Karl Marx and the Village Community’

Richard Marsden, Exploring the Past Co-ordinator, said: “Since 2010 no less than thirteen adults from a wide range of backgrounds have returned to education via the Exploring the Past pathway and gone onto degrees in History, Archaeology and Religion. That is a fantastic achievement and they should be all immensely proud of themselves. Our free lecture series is a great way for anyone interested in doing the same to get a taste of what the pathway is all about. This new collaboration with the Historical Association means that we can lay on an even more varied and exciting programme of speakers – it is a very exciting time for Exploring the Past.”

These sentiments were echoed by Professor Peter Edbury, chair of the Cardiff Historical association, who said “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Exploring the Past Free Lecture Series, and we look forward to working together to bring cutting-edge research to a wide public audience in the future.”

These free lectures are open to all and are held at Continuing & Professional Education. The next talk scheduled is Two Centuries of “Pride and Prejudice” – Why Celebrate? With Dr Anthony Mandal from Cardiff University at 7:15pm, Wednesday 11 December 2013.

To find out more about Exploring the Past and the free lecture series visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn/choices/exploring-the-past.

Six adult learners have progressed onto degrees at Cardiff University

Exploring the Past BrochureContinuing & Professional Education is pleased to announce that six students have successfully completed the Exploring the Past Pathway and will be starting their degrees at Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion in the next few weeks.

Dan Jewson, one of the students progressing, said: “I will be starting an undergraduate degree in history in September 2013.  This would not have been possible without Exploring the Past. I have been given an opportunity to get back into academic study after a long break. The courses have helped me gain the necessary credits to progress to an undergraduate degree programme. Further, they have given me the confidence and self-belief to feel I can be successful at undergraduate study. Thank you to everyone associated with Exploring the Past.  Everyone has been so supportive and helpful.”

As part of the pathway students were encouraged to take part in a series of archaeological digs alongside professional archaeologists at Ham Hill, Dinas Powys and Caerau. Student Janet Maurice attended the dig on an iron-age hillfort at Ham Hill. She said: “The excavation technique was entirely new to me but also how the lead archaeologists took the bits of evidence from many different sections of the dig and from different techniques. The most interesting thing was the discovery of the artefacts. When I was there quite a few were revealed including two pig skulls, pots and bits of pots and best of all a Neolithic flint scraper. I am totally convinced I want to do archaeology. The collating of the information is very time consuming but produces amazing results.”

Exploring the Past is a unique progression pathway that is made up of six 10-credit modules in archaeology, religious studies and history. The pathway is collaboration between Continuing & Professional Education and the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University and its framework and environment is designed specifically to cater for the needs of busy adult learners.

The Pathway Co-ordinator Dr Richard Marsden said: “All of us who work on Exploring the Past are incredibly proud to be involved in it and with the students who study it. This year another group of adults from a wide range of backgrounds are progressing onto degrees. Their achievement really shows that hard work and enthusiasm does pay off.”

Continuing & Professional Education currently offers another five Pathways, including: Accounting and Finance; Business and Management; Modern Languages or Translation; and Social Sciences. Two new pathways we will be added to the programme in January, leading to degrees in English Literature, English Language, Philosophy and Journalism.

Ancient Empires

Course Description

The ancient world is defined by its empires, its written history focusing on the rise and fall of great powers. Indeed, the story of empires, the thirst for political, military and cultural dominance, is almost as old as the history of civilisation itself. This course will consider some of the great empires of the ancient world, from Assyria to Rome, and will seek to identify the causes of imperial expansion, the ways in which empires were won and maintained, and the ideological justifications for imperial rule. Students will have the opportunity to examine a series of case studies in ancient empire, and engage with a wide variety of archaeological and literary evidence. In addition, we will explore the origins and meanings of such terms as ‘empire’ and ‘imperialism’ and consider the extent to which they are appropriate for discussing the ancient world.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in ancient history and the enthusiasm to take that interest further. It operates as part of the Exploring the Past pathway, and will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills that will help you to study other courses in the pathway.

Learning and Teaching

This course will be taught over three day schools running on consecutive Saturdays, These sessions will include lectures, class discussions, debates, group-work and pair-work. Activities will focus on the analysis of sources, the interpretation of events, and exercises to develop your academic skills. In addition, there will be support both before and after the day schools themselves, facilitated via email contact and through Learning Central, the university’s Virtual Learning Environment.

Coursework and Assessment

Students will be expected to complete two pieces of assessed work: a short presentation with accompanying handout and a 1000 word essay. Advice and support will be provided for both assignments and you will receive detailed feedback relating to strengths and areas for improvement on both pieces of work.

Reading suggestions

  • C. Champion (ed) Roman Imperialism: Readings and Sources (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Pub., 2004)
  • C. Freeman, Egypt, Greece and Rome: Civilisations of the Ancient Mediterranean (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • W.V. Harris, War and Imperialism in Republican Rome 327-70BC (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979). DG89.H2
  • K. Raaflaub & N. Rosenstein (eds), War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe, and Mesoamerica (Washington, D.C. : Center for
  • Hellenic Studies; Cambridge, Mass.: Distributed by Harvard University Press, 1999), Chapters 4-9.
  • P.J. Rhodes, The Athenian Empire (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985).
  • F.W. Walbank, The Hellenistic World (London: Fontana, 1992).

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing us on
(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact us on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.

Any questions?

Just get in touch with our pathway coordinator Sara Jones.

Quick links

Exploring the Past for a better future

Joanne Wesley WilliamsJoanne Wesley Williams

Exploring the Past, a unique access route to higher education at Cardiff University, has this year helped another seven local adult learners to transform their lives and progress onto a degree scheme.

Joanne Wesley-Williams, 40, and Penni Bestic, 59, are two of the seven students in total who have successfully completed the Exploring the Past Pathway through the Continuing & Professional Education and are now embarking on a degree at Cardiff University.

The award-winning Pathway is celebrating the completion of its second year having already secured degree places for two adult learners in the 2010/11 academic year. Run collaboratively by the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, it is designed to give adult learners the opportunity to experience research-led teaching first hand and progress towards studying a degree in archaeology, history or religion.

Like many other adult learners, Joanne missed out on higher education after leaving school. She decided to try the Pathway as a route back into education and used it as a means to better her life.

Joanne said: “As a mother of three young children it’s important to be a positive role model, but educationally I had nothing to sing about after leaving school 25 years ago with just my GCSEs. I’ve now found a way to change that and feel much better placed when encouraging my children to study hard for the future. Each course has provided me with a different set of skills, broadening my knowledge and boosting my confidence. By the time I had completed a few modules I felt I was ready to further my education and now I have a completely new outlook for the future. I have been given an opportunity to return to study and hopefully carve a new career doing something I love.”

After failing to find employment after redundancy and also battling with mental health issues, Penni decided to enrol on the Pathway and do something useful with her time.

Penni said: “I think when I started Exploring the Past I didn’t really believe I would be doing a history degree but the amount of support from the tutors, both academic and pastoral, made it seem achievable. I think it has also helped my mental health, I still have a lot of self-management to do, but help from the student support services has makes this possible. I’m really enjoying my degree course so far. It’s stretching but manageable. I am aware that I’m the oldest student but there are three of us who are definitely mature and we give it each other a lot of support. I’m very glad I did Exploring the Past as it was brilliant preparation. As to what I want to do when I finish: I’m not really sure as I will be close to retirement age. I think I would like to try and do a Masters.”

The Exploring the Past Pathway provides students with real life changing opportunities which have been recognised by the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) – the national body which represents part-time education in universities. The Pathway received a highly commended award from UALL in April 2012.

Courses are taught by people with both expert subject knowledge and the ability to support, inspire adult learners in a flexible timescale, framework and environment. More courses will be starting in January 2013.

National award for pioneering Cardiff history course for adult learners

A new course offering adult learners a route to a Cardiff history degree has won a national award from the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning.

Dave Wyatt receives national UALL award

The Exploring the Past programme is a joint project by Continuing & Professional Education and the School of History, Archaeology and Religion. Adult learners take courses at Continuing & Professional Education which can count toward the first year of a part-time degree scheme.

The project won a Highly Commended award at the ceremony hosted by the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) – the national body which represents part-time education in universities.

Dean of Lifelong Learning Dr Richard Evans, who accepted the prize for Cardiff University, said: “The Exploring the Past programme was designed to reach people from backgrounds with little higher education tradition and to introduce them to undergraduate study. I’m delighted that the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning has recognised the programme and the benefits it offers people in our local communities.”

Dr David Wyatt, Founder of the Exploring the Past Pathway, said: “This is an amazing achievement for all those involved with the Pathway. Exploring the Past provides life changing opportunities for adult learners to undertake degrees in history, archaeology and religion at Cardiff. Many of our students begin with little previous academic experience and face significant barriers to education. Exploring the Past provides an opportunity for them to study and progress in a nurturing and supportive environment designed for mature students. Indeed, the imperative to create a positive impact on our students’ lives is one of the driving motivations of the Pathway – I’d like to thank UALL for recognising this through bestowing this prestigious award.”

For more information about Exploring the Past and other Continuing & Professional Education courses, please see www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn/ .

Learning no longer in the past

A unique access route to higher education has opened new avenues for a mother from Port Talbot who thought she’d left learning in the past long ago.

Hayley Bassett, 40, has successfully completed the ‘Exploring the Past Foundation Pathway’ through Continuing & Professional Education and is now embarking on a degree in Archaeology and History at the University.

The Foundation Pathway is run as a collaboration between Continuing & Professional Education and the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion. It is designed to give adult learners the opportunity to experience research-led teaching first hand and progress towards studying a degree in archaeology or history.

Hayley didn’t have the opportunity to continue with higher education straight from school, and has for some time been a full-time carer for her autistic daughter. She decided to try the Foundation Pathway as a route back into education and was one of the first students to enrol at the Centre.

Just eight months later she was accepted to study a part-time degree course in Ancient and Medieval History.

The flexibility of the Foundation Pathway enabled Hayley to manage her home life as well as achieving something for herself which for the past few years has been put on hold. She said: “I didn’t have the opportunity to study at university straight from school. I joined the pathway as a personal outlet because after a few very difficult years my self-confidence was very low. I was extremely nervous but soon started to enjoy the classes. The course has given me confidence in my abilities and made me realise that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.

“Studying history is something I really enjoy and I’m excited to continue with this journey. I am looking forward to becoming a ‘proper’ student, although I must admit I’m also feeling a bit nervous.”

Hayley will begin her studies at the University this September. She believes that if you are willing to learn and can commit to studying, you should take every opportunity presented to you.

Exploring the Past

An innovative new access route to higher education designed to give adult learners the chance to experience research-led teaching first-hand and progress towards studying a degree in archaeology or history has been launched by the University.

Exploring the Past is a new part-time foundation pathway into the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion that has been developed to help people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds to realise their ambition to study at degree level.

The foundation pathway combines Continuing & Professional Education’s experience of progressing and supporting adult learners with the internationally recognised research and teaching expertise in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

Exploring the Past will help participants understand more about their origins, identity and the nature of modern day society with teaching covering everything from pre-historic societies to ancient civilizations, medieval institutions to twentieth-century politics and culture.

As well as enhancing their understanding of the past and developing writing, reading and interpretation skills, all students successfully completing the course will automatically qualify for an interview for either a full-time or part-time degree scheme in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

Dr David Wyatt foundation pathway co-ordinator commented: “I am really excited about Exploring the Past! We have an amazing programme of courses lined up that are bound together by some very big themes like conceptions of power, gender, religion, national identities and, of course, the uses and relevance of history today.

Exploring the Past is specifically for adults returning to education, it allows them to study within a time-scale, framework and environment designed to specifically cater for their needs. Most importantly our courses have the potential to contribute directly towards a degree: students successfully completing the pathway and interview can enter into their first year of undergraduate study having already completed half of it.

“The foundation pathway courses are free for individuals claiming benefits who have not previously studied at degree level. So Exploring the Past provides an ideal opportunity for the unemployed to re-skill and gain a higher education qualification in the humanities. I wish something like this had been available when I came to university as a mature student!”

Exploring the Past is made up of six 10 credit courses and is equivalent to 50% of the first year of a degree. The course will start on Thursday 14th October, 7-9pm in room 3.58, Humanities Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff. To reserve a place or for more information, please call Dr David Wyatt on 02920 870404 or at Continuing & Professional Education on 02920 870000.