The Project
Recent years have seen a renewed interest, both public and scholarly, in the history and cultural heritage of Benedictine monasticism from the Middle Ages to the present day. In 2019/20, Dr Benjamin Pohl from the University of Bristol launched the project ‘History for the Community: Monk-historians and Communal Heritage’, which capitalises on this momentum through an innovative, engagement-led approach for studying the production and promotion of historical writing and thought in monastic communities. Funded by the British Academy and conducted in collaboration with Downside Abbey and its community, the project showcases Benedictine monasteries as centres of history where historical knowledge has been collected and cultivated for centuries. You can learn more about the project and its associated activities and events on the Project Blog, as well as on its dedicated Twitter feed.

This exhibition marks the capstone of the project’s collaborative workshops and events held at Downside in 2019/20 that involved not just the team introduced below, but also members of the public and the wider academic community who took the opportunity to engage with and feed into the work-in-process. We would like to thank everyone for their enthusiastic participation. Special thanks go to Prof Leah Tether, Dr Will Pooley and Dr Amy Edwards from the University of Bristol, Prof Teresa Webber from the University of Cambridge and Chris Dickason from Chris Dickason Illustration for their kind help and assistance along the way.

Exhibition team:
  1. Dr Benjamin Pohl (Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Bristol; principal investigator)
  2. Alice Morrey (PhD candidate, University of Bristol; research assistant)
  3. María Abellán (MA student, University of Bristol; research assistant)
  4. Dr Simon Johnson (Director of Heritage, Downside Abbey)
  5. Steven Parsons (Abbey Outreach Officer, Downside Abbey)
  6. The monastic community of Downside Abbey
  7. Ian Bennett (web designer and digital developer)