Building on research carried out since 2008 on gender relations, mobilisation for war and memory of war in twentieth-century Germany, Matthew has since delivered classes to groups of school pupils and teachers. He also worked alongside GCSE and A-level examiners and professional actors to produce a theatre show for a school-based audience.
The underpinning research consists of two book chapters, both on different aspects of World War I captivity and post-war reintegration of POWs into society – a thematic book on Weimar Germany which offers new ways of looking at the legacy of the First World War in the 1920s and early 1930s, and a peer-reviewed journal article on gender, empire and war in Nazi Germany.
All of these items have provided the groundwork for specialist GCSE and A-level sessions which offer students fresh ways of looking at established themes in German history. At the same time, the use of source material from Matthew's publications has given students a deeper understanding of what historical research is, how it is done, how it generates new knowledge, and how that new knowledge can lead to re-interpretations of the past.
The impact of Matthew's work has impacted
- locally – sixth form master classes at Sheffield Hallam University delivered to students from Barnsley College
- regionally – participation in an A-level day conference in Manchester on German history aimed at students from the north-west
- nationally – contributions to an A-level teachers' conference at Keele University and to a GCSE conference-cum-theatre show on Germany 1918–1945 at the Adelphi theatre in London
The A-level teachers' conference at Keele, which was co-organised by Tristram Hunt MP (shadow secretary of state for education) involved Matthew delivering an hour long session to two separate groups of 25 teachers exploring recent trends and developments in the historiography of Nazi Germany.
The GCSE show at the Adelphi theatre involved, in the first instance, 10 hours of rehearsals in which he not only improved his own material, but gave expert advice to professional actors and GCSE examiners who were also taking part. On the day of the show Matthew had walk-on parts in Acts I, III and IV, and helped produce an information pack for the students to take away. The show was organised by Keynote Educational Ltd, and was attended by 1,350 students and 125 teachers from 43 schools across England.