Photo of Professor Ricarda Schmidt

Professor Ricarda Schmidt

Public engagement

Info on impact of AHRC-funded research project on 'Kleist, Education and Violence'

PI: Ricarda Schmidt (Exeter)
CI: Sean Allan (Warwick)
ARF: Steven Howe (Exeter)

Impacts on Education

The research has been used to enhance learning of the national curriculum in A-Level Citizenship, Law, History and German by means of symposia at Warwick University in November 2012, March 2013, November 2013, and at the University of Exeter in November 2013. The screening and detailed discussion of the film The Jack Bull (1999), which is based on Kleist's short story Michael Kohlhaas, enabled the students to explore and debate competing notions of fairness, justice and democracy with reference to the tension between universal ideals and changing historical settings. 91% of students gained a new perspective on central legal concepts which can contribute to improving their ability to achieve Assessment Objective (AO) 2 of A Level Law requiring students to be able to analyse issues and situations and apply the appropriate legal rules and principles (Ofqual/11/4991). For nearly half the group (45.65%) engaging with the story of Michael Kohlhaas changed their own ideas about crime and punishment and contributed to their knowledge and understanding of the 'different concepts of citizenship and citizenship issues (such as power and authority, fairness and justice, equality and the rule of law)' (Ofqual/11/4962). As well as enhancing the students' understanding of legal, moral and social issues, the conference developed other skills which are assessed at A-level. Students improved their analytical and communication skills through collaborative work and delivering presentations (with 38% of participants reporting that this exercise made a significant difference to their comprehension and communication skills). This contributes towards students fulfilling the following objectives: History AO1: 'communicate knowledge and understanding in a clear and effective manner' (Ofqual/11/4989); Law AO3: 'present logical and coherent argument and communicate in clear and effective manner' (Ofqual/11/4991); and Citizenship AO3: 'select, organise and present relevant information and arguments clearly and logically' (Ofqual/11/4962). 38% of students reported that they gained knowledge in how to interpret a film for study purposes, thereby equipping them 'to research, evaluate and communicate understanding of a range of sources of information' (Citizenship, Ofqual/11/4962).

Digital Impact (general public in the UK and beyond)

The AHRC project members working on Kleist, Education and Violence recorded a series of 6 podcasts about Kleist's life and work in the context of the European Enlightenment. These podcasts form part of an open access platform targeted at interested members of the general public and have been available for download via the project website and iTunesU from July 2012. As of June 2013, the podcasts had been downloaded 11,383 times.

The podcasts are accessible at:


Contribution to discipline

I was external examiner for the BA in German at the Universities of Glasgow, Southampton and Nottingham, and I examined PhD these in London and Cambridge. I have edited a number of books, often with other colleagues (Moray McGowan, Nicholas Saul, Gert Vonhoff, Sean Allan and Steven Howe).


In spring 2010, BBC Radio 3 invited me to contribute to a radio programme on Robert Schumann which explored the influence of literature on the composer. I talked on E.T.A. Hoffmann who inspired Schumann’s ‘Kreisleriana’. The programme was broadcast on Saturday 29th May at 12.15 on Radio 3, with the title The Fantastical World of Robert Schumann.

More details: