Oral history seminars kick off on October 12


We’re delighted to unveil our programme of seminars at the Institute of Historical Research for the next academic year.

The programmes start with a seminar by Rebecca Pearce from Exeter University who will be talking about her research of the historic drought oral history collection. Traditionally, scientists and historians have not collaborated to study the impact of extreme weather events on individuals, however this oral history collection provides an opportunity to look at how individuals interpret historic events and how this affects their views on future risk.

Rebecca’s talk is entitled Building resilience through shuttlework: the positive contribution oral testimony can make to climate risk assessments. It takes place at 6pm on October 12 in the John S Cohen room (203), Senate House (north block), Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

The seminar is free, open to all and there is no need to book.

The programme for the coming year is as follows (all seminars take place in the same room and same time as above unless otherwise stated):

  • Revising The Voice of the Past: oral history’s role in a changing world
    Joanna Bornat, Open University, and Paul Thompson, Essex University
    November 9 in Senate House south block, room SH246
    Since Paul Thompson’s first edition in 1978, The Voice of the Past has been a classic in making the case for oral history. Nearly 40 years later, the fourth edition, expanded and revised jointly with Joanna Bornat, explores oral history’s worldwide development and activity, continues to argue and explain key principles, proposes reliable approaches and sets out ethical guidance for both new and experienced oral historians. This seminar will be chaired by Graham Smith, professor of oral history at Newcastle University.

    A discount offer for copies is available. We welcome you to this discussion and celebration.

  • The troubles with a lower case ‘t’: memory, deindustrialisation and urban redevelopment in Belfast
    Sean O’Connell, Queen’s University, Belfast,
    February 15
  • With care in the community everything goes: oral histories of people giving and receiving care in Nottingham mental hospitals
    Verusca Calabria, Nottingham University
    March 15

  • Social history without people: capturing the voices of Welsh Jewry
    Cai Parry-Jones, Royal Horticultural Society
    April 19

  • Carry on sergeant: exploring National Service in personal and popular memory
    Joel Morley, University of Essex
    June 14

Map of LGBTQ Oral Histories launched


Oral history is one of the most exciting methods for recording, preserving, and celebrating the lives and experiences of LGBTQ people. For several decades numerous projects have sought to record the lives of our queer forbears. Many of these important collections, however, remain uncatalogued or held in in places unknown to most researchers. The map of LGBTQ Oral Histories is a crowd-sourced initiative sponsored by the OHS LGBTQ Special Interest Group and the Queer Beyond London research project that seeks to identify, locate and map these important collections so that students, researchers and community members may have fuller access to our past.

You can access the map here https://www.historypin.org/en/lgbtq-oral-history or use the interactive box below. 


Are you a PhD student using oral history?


Questionnaire for PhD Students using oral history


The OHS Higher Education group is exploring ways of supporting PhD students and their supervisors. As part of this process, we are conducting a survey to find out about students’ experiences of supervision. If you are using oral history in your doctoral research, please help us by filling out our questionnaire:

Are you using oral history in your PhD research?

At which University are you registered? (optional)

In which department are you based? (optional)

In which year of your doctoral studies are you? 1234+

How many supervisors do you have?

Does either your first or second supervisor have experience of using oral history in their own research?

Had you had any experience of using oral history before beginning your doctoral research?

Have you attended any courses or training on aspects of oral history? If yes, could you describe these, please?

Were they helpful or not? How?

If you have discussed your team of examiners with your supervisor(s), is it planned that one of these should be an oral historian?

How happy are you with the overall PhD supervision you have received so far?

How happy are you with the PhD supervision specifically related to oral history that you have received so far?

Is there anything that you found particularly helpful that you would recommend to other students and supervisors?

What, if anything, could be improved in the supervision you have received so far?

Is there any area of oral history research in which you would like to receive teaching/training?

Is there any else you would like to mention in relation to your PhD supervision?