Over the last several months, oral historians have been acclimatising to remote interviewing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This shift for many (but not all) has led to a range of new methodological questions. In this Lug piece, Andy Clark reflects on the different nature of silence in remote interactions as compared with in-person encounters. Drawing on experience of both personal and professional remote conversations, he asks whether the changing dynamic of silence could have an impacts on the nature of the materials that we collect during the pandemic. Please feel free to join in the discussion using the comments section below.Continue reading
In this episode, historian of modern Ireland and Britain, Jack Hepworth, discusses his research interviewing Irish republican ex-prisoners. He outlines the background to his project, before analysing contested memories and identities among republican ex-combatants in ‘post-conflict’ Ireland.Continue reading
The first episode in Series 2 of the Newcastle Oral History Podcast features a conversation between Graham Smith and Wendy Rickard. Wendy is a renowned oral historian who has worked on a number of ‘taboo’ and difficult subjects, including sex working and the ongoing relationships between interviewer and interviewees. She has experience of working with medical researchers on the impact and experience of HIV/AIDS and pandemics such as Ebola and SARS. Throughout the episode, Graham and Wendy discuss the ethics of researching pandemic illness, the ‘new normal’ in the age of Covid-19, and the pros and cons of using videoconferencing tools in oral history interviews.
With Government guidelines changing, indoor gatherings and meetings are now possible, meaning that oral historians are once again able to conduct face-to-face interviews. However, the interview situation in August 2020 is vastly different from any time before. What impact does this have on the interview as an event, and what steps should oral historians take to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone invovled? In this Lug post, Andy Clark discusses his approach and experience to conducting in-person interviewing in the ‘Covid-19 era’.Continue reading
By Kath Smith, Associate Researcher, Newcastle University OHU and Manager of Remembering the Past*Continue reading
Over ten years ago, Liz O’Donnell recorded the memories of more than 40 people in the North East who, as children during the 2nd World War, had experienced the huge dislocation caused by mass evacuation. Current discussions about the damaging impact of disrupted education caused by the pandemic led her to dig out her research notes, to look at the evacuees’ recollections of their own disturbed schooling, especially their feelings about its long-term effects. All the examples here are of evacuation to villages in Northumberland, mostly from the industrial areas of Tyneside. Summaries and recordings of all the interviews are available at Northumberland Archives, Woodhorn.Continue reading
Mary Stewart is Curator of Oral History and Deputy Director of National Life Stories at the British Library. In this podcast, she discusses the family history that contributed to her Masters Thesis, how she came to work with the British Library, the process of archiving, and the practicalities of managing the British Library Oral History collection.