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.