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.
You may have heard that some UK universities, including Newcastle, are involved in a pensions dispute (see https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastle-durham-university-strikes-begin-14323108 for just one of the Chronicle articles on this issue).
As oral historians, we are always interested in hearing people’s voices–literally as well as figuratively. We knew that the experience of 14 days of striking had been a significant one for many other those involved–we knew through our own informal conversations, through Twitter posts (see the #USSstrikes hashtag for some of this), and indeed through our own varied experiences. But when we decided, on Monday 12 March, that we would take our recording equipment the next day’s picket, we had no idea what was about to happen.
Ben Houston, a member of the the Newcastle University Oral History Collective has a new exhibition opening at the Great North Museum on 7th October. The exhibition depicts elements of race relations and the civil rights struggle in Pittsburgh, USA, by combining the oral histories of black Pittsburghers (recorded by the Remembering African American Pittsburgh oral history project at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy) with historic photos from the world-class Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive held by the Carnegie Museum of Art.
We also feature Ben in the first of a number of occasional podcasts from Newcastle’s Oral History Collective. Listen at: The Lug Podcast #1. You can also listen to an extract of one of the interviews from the exhibition. Here Sala Udin offers an overview of the key themes of the exhibition.
By using Pittsburgh as a case-study, this exhibition embodies one of the central messages of Dr Martin Luther King’s speech: that racism looms over our world and yet the thirst for freedom and dignity remains unquenchable.
The exhibition runs in parallel with the “Teenie Harris Photographs: In Their Own Voice” exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh which takes place from 29 July 2017 – 28 February 2018.
Poster Image: Charles “Teenie” Harris
Elderly woman holding Pittsburgh Courier newspaper with headline reading “Reverend King Freed: Albany Tense” seated in armchair, July 1962
Black and white: Kodak Safety Film
H: 5 in. x W: 4 in. (12.70 x 10.20 cm)
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.7018 © Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive