Calls for Papers. Conference: Cold War Voices: Stories, Speech and Sound, 1945-1991 (Bristol)


Department of Historical Studies
University of Bristol, UK
22-23 January 2020

Voices were an integral element of the Cold War: from political speeches to surveillance technology, the spoken word took on a political, cultural and social significance in the post-1945 world. But voices could also be used to express anger or dissatisfaction with Cold War politics; to express fear or uncertainty for the future; or used to disseminate alternate viewpoints on current affairs.

Historians too have turned to voices to understand the history of the Cold War period, interviewing policymakers, diplomats and officials, but also “ordinary” people who lived through tension and conflict.

This conference aims to explore the relationship between the Cold War, voices and oral history in more detail, examining not only the gathering of voices during the Cold War, for cultural, political or intelligence purposes, but also historians’ use of voices, oral histories, oral culture and sound in writing histories of this period.

Taking a deliberately broad view of Cold War ‘voices’, we welcome papers on the following topics:

• Surveillance, ‘listening in’ and recording voices during the Cold War
• Voices from war, conflict and violence during the Cold War period, including the Korean War, Vietnam War and conflicts associated with decolonization
• Speaking out for peace: oral histories of nuclear disarmament and the peace movement
• Cultures of orality, folk culture, sound and song during the Cold War
• Narratives of subjectivity and selfhood during the Cold War
• Cold War anniversaries and the memory of the Cold War
• The use of oral history to understand the domestic, local or regional impact of the Cold War, across the world
• Oral histories with policymakers, diplomats or officials, or other ‘elite’ political actors
• The use of archived oral history interviews or official histories
• The dissemination of ‘voices’, via broadcast media and the politics of Cold War interviewing
• Innovative technologies for accessing, disseminating or displaying Cold War voices

Proposals must include a title and a 350-400 word abstract, plus a 200-word biography or one-page CV.

Please send your proposal to and by 1st October 2019.

We welcome applications from researchers from all career stages and disciplines. Successful speakers will be contacted by 1st November 2019.

The conference will take place at the University of Bristol, UK. For more information on the University of Bristol, see: Support for travel and accommodation will be available for early career researchers.

The workshop is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of Dr Grace Huxford’s AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship on ‘British Military Bases in Germany: Living with the Cold War and its Legacies, 1945-2000’ and is organized by Dr Grace Huxford and Dr Joel Morley. For more information on the wider project and the conference, see

For further information please contact: and

Discovering the Guildhall (Portsmouth)


Volunteer Duties: Oral History Timed Summary Volunteers and Archive Cataloguing Volunteers Needed!

The Guildhall, Portsmouth has a rich and varied past having housed Portsmouth Police Station and cells, been a civic centre for the city, was bombed during WWII, rebuilt and is now a Grade II listed building. As a music venue it has hosted famous ‘names’ including Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey, The Who, The Beatles, and so on, and it was the venue Pink Floyd first played Dark Side of the Moon. Politically and socially it has a very interesting history having been visited by Churchill, Moseley, and Christabel Pankhurst to figures such as President Clinton, Princess Diana, Thatcher, and members of the royal family.

The Discovering the Guildhall project focusses on capturing people’s memories of the Guildhall, gathering archive material, cataloguing and digitising these items to create an online resource. We are creating two short documentary films, an exhibition, and have delivered an outreach programme.

Oral History Timed Summary Volunteers:

As part of this project we have been gathering local residents memories through oral history interviews and we are now looking for volunteers to produce timed summaries.

If you have experience that would be helpful, however, we can provide training if not.

Oral history recordings will be emailed to you at home and completed timed summaries sent to the project team so you do not need to travel to the Guildhall.

Archive Cataloguing Volunteers:

As part of this project we have been gathering archive material (e.g. photographs, letters, documents about the rebuilding of the Guildhall after the bombing, concert tickets, programmes etc. ) and have had some items generously donated to us. We now need to catalogue all of the archive material before digitising it and making it available to people online via our website.

Ideally we are looking for one or two volunteers with cataloguing experience which they can bring to the project, as well as volunteers with no previous experience but who are interested in learning.

Organisation: The Guildhall Trust, Portsmouth Guildhall, PO1 2AB

Location: Archiving and oral history interviewing at Portsmouth Guildhall. Summarising interviews at home.
Expenses: Travel and parking expenses

Contact Name: Nicola Peacock
Email Address:

Closing Date of Project: April 2020