Introducing Special Interest Groups
1. What is a “Special Interest Group” (SIG)?
To begin with, the Oral History Society is an educational, membership-based charity. Its aims are:
“To further the methods and encourage participation in the practice of oral history in all appropriate fields; To encourage the discussion of methodology, technical issues, problems and all relevant matters by the publication of a journal, and by the organisation of conferences, training, meetings, a regional network and other relevant activities.”
A Special Interest Group is one of those “relevant activities”. They are a recent innovation of the Society, in response to increasing interest among members for ways to develop networks and facilitate discussion and activities with others who share common interests and concerns.
There are currently five Special Interest Groups:
- Creative Oral History
- Environment and Climate Change
- [Psycho-Social Therapies and Care Environments] (currently in abeyance)
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ)
2. Who can set up a Special Interest Group? And how?
Any member or group of members of the Oral History Society can submit a proposal to the Trustees of the Society (also known as “The Committee”) to create a Special Interest Group. Proposals should be discussed in the first instance with the Special Interest Group Coordinator, who will shepherd them for ultimate consideration and discussion by the Committee. For more detail, please see “OHS Special Interest Groups – What they are, how they work, and how to create a new one“. If a proposal is successful, each Group will have at least one Trustee member as a formal liaison between the Group and the Committee.
3. Why is there a Liaison Trustee Member?
Because Special Interest Groups are part of the formal work of the Society, can claim up to £250 a year from the funds of the Society, and represent the Society and its membership on a wider public stage. Clear lines of accountability and communication between the groups and the Committee are essential.
4. What can a Special Interest Group do?
Once agreed by the Committee, a Special Interest Group can elect its own officers and develop its own plan of work and activities. It can draw up to £250 from the funds of the Society annually, in support of its work, and can apply for additional funds. With the agreement of Trustees it can establish an additional membership fee and raise its own additional funds to support its work.
5. Who can join a Special Interest Group?
Any paid-up member of the Oral History Society can join a Special Interest Group. Please see the Group’s webpage for further information on conveners and their contact details.