Animals in store: the Book Trade and Animal Histories

Here, Sue Bradley finds some half-forgotten animals and resolves to listen out for more. Sue is a member of the Newcastle University Oral History Unit and Collective and a Research Associate on FIELD (Farm-level Interdisciplinary Approaches to Endemic Livestock Disease) in Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy. Her article, ‘Hobday’s hands: recollections of touch in veterinary practice’ appeared in Oral History, vol 49, no 1, 2021.

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“The timing has gone wrong”: Environmental history

Re-visiting environmental oral histories recorded over 20 years ago

As COP26 gets underway Siobhan Warrington who currently is working on the Living Deltas Hub, revisits a collection of oral histories recorded over 20 years ago with women and men living in mountain and highland regions around the world.

The timing has gone wrong,” stated Yagjung, a 59-year-old female weaver from Uttarkhand, India, interviewed in December 1996. She was referring to the weather, to the timing of the rain and the harvests, but the idea that ‘the timing has gone wrong’ has wider relevance.  Campaigners and journalists talk about climate change ‘happening now’ but for Yagjung and other mountain farmers around the world, the ‘now’ of environmental degradation and climatic changes, was 25 years ago. 

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“Older people are more concerned with environmental change…”: Living Deltas Hub

In this Lug piece, Siobhan Warrington (NUOHUC) and her colleagues Hue Nguyen (An Giang University) and Laura Beckwith (Northumbria University) provide an update on the participatory oral history, mapping and photography work with two rural communities in the Mekong Delta as part of the Living Deltas Hub. Siobhan, Laura and Hue are working with a student-staff research team at An Giang University: Mai Thị Minh Thuy and Nguyễn Xuân Lan (research coordinators); and Hoang Uyen Cao, Huynh Linh, Lam Duy and Phan Cuong (student researchers). This is a follow-up to the post which introduced this project.

Note: Due to increasing Covid-19 infection rates in Vietnam, it has not been possible for the team to visit the communities since early July; this post is based on their visits between May and July 2021.

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“I used to love standing barefoot in the river”: Living Deltas Hub

In this Lug piece, Siobhan Warrington  introduces the Living Deltas Hub and provides an update on how the Newcastle Oral History Unit & Collective is contributing to this large, five-year (2019-2024) international and interdisciplinary project. 

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Silence and remote interviewing: methodological reflections

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.

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Podcast Episode – Jack Hepworth

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.

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Podcast Episode – Wendy Rickard

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.

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Happy birthday, Metro!

August 11th 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Tyne and Wear Metro. In this Lug Post, Andy Clark confesses to his enthusiasm for all things railway-related and discusses a new oral history project that NOHUC are supporting on forty years of the Metro.

The iconic Metro ‘M’ at Four Lane Ends Interchange. Author’s picture
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‘I never knew which school I was going to be in’: Disrupted education in World War Two

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.

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Podcast Episode – Mary Stewart

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.

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