Using imagination to connect with the recent and deep past

For many – maybe most – of us, imagination is what gets us interested in history in the first place. Recently, the oral history collective have been having a lot of conversations about the connections between oral history and creative practice, including creative interpretation of history. In this post, Alison Atkinson-Phillips takes us on a winding journey of reflection on oral history and imagination, and offers a round-up of some local examples. 

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Introducing Sue Bradley, our third Research Associate

Sue Bradley joined Oral History @ Newcastle as our third Research Associate in February this year. Sue is an experienced oral historian and was instrumental in developing a network of like-minded researchers at the university before the Oral History Unit came along. Her first project has been to work with Special Collections at the Philip Robinson Library to develop shared processes for the collection and archiving of oral histories. Having worked in the Centre for Rural Economy for the past ten years, Sue brings a non-urban focus to the unit’s work.

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We are searching for voices from region’s shipbuilding past

Full Media Release: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/articles/latest/2018/08/saveourshipyardshistory/

Voices from a historic campaign to save the North East’s shipyards are being sought in a bid to remember the real life experiences of those involved.

The Oral History Unit’s Dr Alison Atkinson-Phillips wants to track down people who took part in the ‘Save our Shipyards’ campaign that took place from 1983-84 in a bid to stop the closure of yards on the Tyne and Wear. Workers from Swan Hunter on the Tyne and Austin & Pickersgill on the Wear, their families, union leaders and local politicians, were interviewed for two short films known collectively as the ‘Shipyard Tapes’.

The first film ‘The Price of Ships’ explains the economics of the global shipping industry, highlights the strengths of the yards on the Tyne and the Wear and argues for further government support. The second film ‘Down the Road Again’ warns of the dangers of the yards returning to private ownership, cautioning that it risked returning to the type of unsecure, casual labour that shipbuilding was known for before nationalisation.

Originally commissioned by the Tyne and Wear County Council, the two twenty minute films have been preserved and are part of the collections of North East Film Archive, who are working with Newcastle University on the project.

Email oralhistory@newcastle.ac.uk for more information.

Deindustrialisation, heritage and memory

In this Lug post, Andy Clark discusses a new network that he’s coordinating focused on deindustrialisation, heritage and memory. It aims to facilitate greater collaboration and discussion among academics, heritage groups, artists, and community historians interested in deindustrialisation and the memorialisation of manufacturing jobs and communities. Email andy.clark@newcastle.ac.uk to find out more, or to join the network’s mailing list.

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Community Experiences of Serious Organised Crime in Scotland

In this Lug post, Andy Clark discusses his experience conducting research for the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Along with a team of researchers, he contributed to, and co-authored, a major report focused on community experiences of Serious Organised Crime in Scotland. He reflects on utilising oral history methods to examine current experiences and problems in relation to organised crime, and contributing to a policy report.

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In His Own Voice: Dr Julian Tudor Hart (b. 9 March 1927, d. 1 July 2018)

In this blog post Graham Smith remembers the pioneering general practitioner Dr Julian Tudor Hart who died on the 1st of July. Graham interviewed him in June 1999.

Click HERE for a .mp3 audio extract from the interview and for a .pdf transcript of that extract: Tudor Hart in His Own Voice pt 1 extract 1

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Digital humanities and oral history

The Oral History Collective’s Seminar Series brings scholars to Newcastle so we can learn about their work on a range of interesting project and topics. Primarily, though, the seminar series allows us to explore methodological questions. In June, Anisa Puri visits to talk about Australian Generations: Creating a Digital Oral History Project. It’s got Alison Atkinson-Phillips thinking about the relationship between oral history and digital humanities (and digital culture here at Newcastle). 

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Starting out as an Oral Historian – Rosie Bush

How can Oral History Society (OHS) training meet the vastly different needs of academic and non-academic historians with diverse interests? In this Lug post, our Associate Researcher, Rosie Bush, shares her experiences of the OHS ‘Introduction to Oral History’ course. She outlines the areas the course covers and considers the steps that follow when starting out.

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Workshop on factory occupations in British Labour History, Friday 8 June 2018

With sponsorship from the Labour and Society Research Group at Newcastle University, Andy Clark is organising a workshop on Friday 8 June focussed on factory occupations in Britain, particularly in the period 1970-1990. Andy’s PhD thesis (2017) considered three instances of factory occupations led by Scottish women. Here he explains why he is looking forward to welcoming key scholars in the field for a thoroughly engaging day. Continue reading

Talking film with the Oral History Collective

We’ve been getting into movies lately…

Our Alison Atkinson-Phillips has been working with Leeds University to plan the Post-Work Mini Film Season (see bottom of the page for event listing) on behalf of Newcastle’s Labour & Society research group. The films shown explore the way ‘work’ has changed and the impact of deindustrialisation and neoliberalism.

In May, our regular Seminar Series is kicking off with a visit from Steve Humphries of Testimony Films on Tuesday 9 May. Although best known as a film-maker, Humphries is possibly one of the most prolific oral historians in the UK, basing his documentaries on detailed interviews with his sources.

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