The Oral History Collective is delighted to be associated with the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Living Deltas Hub. As part of a large, multi-disciplinary team, Professor Graham Smith and head of Newcastle University’s School of History, Professor Helen Berry, will lead a team of Research Associates and collaborative partners in history and oral history that will explore popular memories of environmental change across three of the world’s major delta regions. Here Graham reflects on just why the project is so exciting.
One of the organisational members of our Collective is the Newcastle University Special Collections & Archives team. As part of their commitment to opening up the archive, the Collected Voices project gathers the oral histories of those behind the materials. In this post, literary archivist Rachel Hawkes gives us an insight into their work.
In this Lug post, Andy Clark discusses a new network that he’s coordinating focused on deindustrialisation, heritage and memory. It aims to facilitate greater collaboration and discussion among academics, heritage groups, artists, and community historians interested in deindustrialisation and the memorialisation of manufacturing jobs and communities. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more, or to join the network’s mailing list.
How can oral historians interact with other forms of interviewing, voice recordings and publication of oral sources? In this Lug post, Andy Clark discusses his experiences of interviewing and producing features for BBC Radio Scotland. He considers the differences between this style and his oral history work, and the ways in which oral history training can be advantageous when undertaking broadcasting work.
Last week Matt Perry and I visited the Old Low Light Heritage Centre. Matt along with Sarah Campbell teaches oral history on the second year undergraduate module, Oral History and Memory. I’ll be writing more about the module next week, but want to acknowledge that our oral history teaching more broadly relies on community and institutional partners like the Old Low Light. So thank you to David Bavaird, chair of Trustees, Pearl Pearl Saddington, Community, Heritage and Events Manager, and Guy Moody, Operations Manager for their guidance and offers of help.
The Old Low Light is a fascinating community history venue. Give it a visit if you are in the area – they are a hospitable bunch and the exhibitions are great.
Many of the exhibits are a result of co-production between Centre staff and members of the local community. Much talked about, but much less practiced, co-production is neither easy nor quickly achieved. What is particularly striking about the approach at Old Low Light is the variety of ways that Centre staff have worked with volunteers and the rich range of outcomes that have been achieved. As well as a permanent exhibition to commercial fishing in the area, there are co-curated paintings, photography from ex-shipyard workers and my favourites: the memory table (the table itself was salvaged from a trawler) and a short video of fishing memories.
The Centre also features a series of talks and events throughout the year.
I’m looking forward to developing our partnership with the Centre.
Graham Smith, 21 September, 2017