Emerging practices changing histories

Event run by the University’s Centre for Visual & Oral History Research (programme unavailable online). Missed Dr Rob Perks’ intro but just picking up on the discussion: initial question about the availability & “archiving” (ie deposit)of HLF funded projects under the £82 million programme.

Now into series of presentations on “oral history & contested spaces”, a series of case studies on current research into areas as diverse as the Allied bombing of France in WW2, hitchhiking & experiencing gender. Looking at a variety of issues including the absence of “trauma” articulated in past experience and the therapeutic role (or not) of the interviewer, the impact of social networks on trust & also their use for research, and the use of film for recording of oral history. Audience questions grappling with hitching so far!

“Oral histories in practice” raising issues of over-familiarity with the interviewer, oral history as an(un)reliable source of facts, what/who is oral history for…. including the application in one of our 2nd year modules. Followed by session on “gender, identity & valuing past experience” touching on issues including empowerment of older women, language & translation.

“Changing agenda?the contribution of oral history” starts with a look at oral history in palliative care (Macmillan)

7th of 9 speakers begins with the disclaimer “I’m not an oral historian…” – a bit of doth protesting too much going on?! If you record interviews with any kind of purpose for looking at the past then aren’t you an oral historian?? “Framework for people telling stories” equally simple & complex.

Now into the community showcase element of the event – lots of activity, lots of connections being made.

Projects include: Huddersfield Giants heritage, RSPB Dove Stones, Sound System Culture, Bhangra Renaissance, Sharing Memories in the Holme Valley, Kirklees Community Covenant. I don’t have weblinks for these at the time of writing but will post if I get them.


One thought on “Emerging practices changing histories

  1. Rob Perks summing up the day. Key issues from all 22 presentations:
    – the “oralcy” of oral history: hearing the voices. moved on from initial transcription/publication. Canada uses aural history…both right!!
    – new-ish theme of place & landscape emerging, working with social geography developed last 5 yes
    – advocacy, filling in the missing voices from the majority history has been recent work (women, ethnic minority communities, LGBT) key strand now moving into medicine/patients/palliative care/mental health. Not new – reminiscence therapeutic benefits theory has been around since 70s
    – new trends: sport, music (bands, non-folk), regional radio/TV (maybe more celebratory than reflective!), the voluntary movement
    – don’t wait!! People won’t be around for ever

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