Dr Niamh Dillon joined the Oral History Collective @ Newcastle as an Associate Researcher in January 2023.
Her research is inspired by the long-form life-story methodology she has practised since 2004 at National Life Stories, where interviews are recorded over multiple sessions and archived in the core oral history collection as a permanent social history resource. After initially contributing to the pioneering Food: from Source to Salespoint, she went on to run Tesco: An Oral History. Today, she is director of Architects’ Lives, which is an oral history of architecture and the built environment.
Niamh is particularly interested in questions of migration, empire and identity. Her recent book, Homeward Bound: return migration from Ireland and India at the end of the British Empire (NYU Press, 2022) is a comparative study which uses first-hand testimony to investigate individual and collective narratives of belonging in the late British Empire.
Niamh works with institutions to promote the use of oral history including archival collections. She has given annual seminars at the Architectural Association and the Royal College of Art. She has also led seminars for Kingston University School of Art, the Getty’s ‘Keeping it Modern’ series, and Leiden University.
Her interest in oral history was sparked while volunteering at the Haringey Irish Centre in London. She subsequently worked as a researcher at Croydon Clocktower (one of the first museums to integrate oral history into its exhibition galleries) and in television, on documentaries, including the Academy Award-winning Into the Arms of Strangers: stories of the Kindertransport. Niamh completed an MA in Film Studies at UCL and a PhD in History at Goldsmiths.
Niamh chairs the monthly Oral History Collective Reading Group. This meets via zoom, to discuss reading on all aspects of oral history.