Call for Participation: History From Elsewhere

History From Elsewhere: The Use of Archives and Recollection of Memory

Digital platforms have become a popular mode for community organisations and individuals from minority backgrounds to use their version of events and history to recollect memory and reimagine their heritage. Equally, heritage organisations are broadening their collections to meet the needs of a wide range of communities in order to promote an inclusive heritage. Yet such platforms also bring out new challenges and questions – Does the separation of space between the community organisations/individuals and heritage organisations reinforce marginalisation of minority history? And given the diversity that exists within the communities in Britain, what kinds of framework are being employed by heritage organisations to ensure that their collections are truly representative and democratic? This Symposium aims to explore the possibilities and also the pitfalls of using local and national archives in recollection of memory by minority and marginalised communities.

Call for Participation

The London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) will be holding a symposium to provide a platform to discuss a ‘history from below’ approach in recollecting memory. The aim is to explore ways that can make engagement with archive institutions more inclusive, democratic and ethical. We are looking for participants to engage with LMA collections related to minority communities/ invisible voices; and submission of papers from Post-graduate students, academics and heritage practitioners, related to archives and minority community history and/or history of marginalised sections of communities in Britain.

In the past three decades there has been a debate between the postmodern cultural theorists and the heritage sector over the power held by archives as institutions. Archives are seen as not only being able to wield power over the shape and direction of historical scholarship, collective memory, and national identity but also over how we know ourselves as individuals, groups and societies. The introduction of digital discovery tools and mass digitisation and online delivery of contents has provided the platform to democratise the experience and interpretation of heritage collections, however the inclusion of minority heritage and the accommodation of minority conception of national heritage requires further exploration. The post-colonial heritage theory suggests that individuals belonging to a national community have different experiences to the same past and do not share an identical memory related to the same spaces, places and events and therefore conceive their heritage through multiple frames of reference. The symposium therefore aims to explore the way archives are accommodating the multiple frames of conception of the past and also discuss the challenges in making archives more accessible, engaging and inclusive.

The Symposium will take place on 18 September 2015 at The London Metropolitan Archives.


Recollection of memory in shaping Identity and sense of belonging

Our Collections:

We have collections related to various communities whose voices are often missing from the national narratives. These collections include materials that were deposited by community members and organisations which include materials related to civil rights and human rights activists, oral history and publications. We also have collections from government bodies such as Greater London Authority and from the media related to campaigns and activism, workers’ rights, and minority communities.

How to Apply:

The symposium is seeking participants to:

1.Engage with LMA collections and share their reflections in how using LMA archives can recollect/reinvent community memories. To apply please email an ‘Expression of interest in participation’ explaining why you would like to get involved and which collection you would like to explore.

Please email:

(A document viewing event will be organised to explore the materials based on the interest expressed) For more information about our collections please visit our online catalogue via the link below.

Below are some examples of collections held at LMA:

a.Chinese Oral History project

b.Paul Robeson

c.Holloway women’s prison

d.Jessica and Eric Huntley collection

e.Limehouse oral history project

2.Postgraduate students of heritage/history, heritage practitioners and academics to present their paper in promoting minority history through archives/ role of archives in promoting ‘history from below’.

We are inviting paper suggestions of 300 words for 20 minute presentations.

At the symposium the participants will be given 20 minutes to present their research. The symposium will include a panel from various archival and cultural organisations.

Deadline for submission: June 12 2015

Contact the list owner for assistance at ARCHIVES-NRA-request@JISCMAIL.AC.UK

For information about joining, leaving and suspending mail (e.g. during a holiday) see the list website at

More information about this article can be found at: this link.

This guide is for people who record oral history interviews, and organisations and individuals who keep collections of oral history recordings in the four nations of the United Kingdom. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland comprise the UK and amongst them have three legal systems. However so far as the law is referred to in this document it is safe to assume that all come within the wider context of UK and European law. The Oral History Society promotes the use of oral history techniques to record the memories of those whose life stories would otherwise be lost to future generations, and encourages researchers and teachers to make use of oral history in their work.

It is essential that interviewees should have confidence and trust in interviewers, and that recordings should be available for research and other use within a legal and ethical framework which protects the interests of interviewees. The following information and guidelines are aimed at ensuring that these objectives are achieved.

Anyone involved with the creation and preservation of oral history interviews should take steps to safeguard their reputation for trustworthiness. This means ensuring that what they do is within the various UK and European laws that apply to oral history and that they have not been acting illegally. Oral historians generally speaking have a good reputation in this respect. This guidance is therefore offered as reassurance and advice to both interviewers and interviewees.

The Oral History Society believes that, while oral history work must comply with the law, legal requirements alone do not provide an adequate framework for good practice. No UK law was designed specifically to regulate oral history work; in fact no law even mentions it. Beyond legal considerations we have long held the view that oral historians should abide by a voluntary set of ethical guidelines.

For these reasons this guide covers responsibilities and obligations beyond legal requirements. Members of the Oral History Society, including those who are custodians, archivists and librarians, have agreed to abide by these guidelines.

The guidance reflects the workflow of a typical oral history interview. Much of the legal and technical detail is available not within the main guidance text but via hypertext links so that the key steps and terms can be understood and followed. There are also links to sample documents and resources.