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Professor Helen Berry 

New Head of the Department of History - Professor Helen Berry

‘I’m looking forward very much to this exciting new role’ says Helen, who joins Exeter from her previous appointment as Head of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle University. ‘These are really challenging times, especially for Humanities subjects, but the Department of History has an outstanding international reputation, a diverse and highly dedicated group of historians, and buoyant student recruitment.  I’m confident there will be new and exciting opportunities for History to engage more widely both within the University and in the wider world. 


Exeter History is very well placed to be front and centre of some of the most significant and pressing issues of global concern, such as the call to Decolonize the Curriculum in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.  A specialist in the social history of the eighteenth century, Professor Berry is well known internationally: her most recent book Orphans of Empire: the Fate of London’s Foundlings (Oxford University Press, 2019) was shortlisted for the Cundill Prize, ‘for the best history books of global significance’.  Her interest in interdisciplinary climate change research led her to co-found the Anthropocene Research Group while at Newcastle, which went on to secure a major GCRF grant.  A significant factor in her coming to Exeter, she says, is the exciting potential it offers to involve historians in innovative, cross-cutting research and education.

Date: 5 October 2020

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