Oral History Specialist (Alnwick)


We are seeking a freelance oral history specialist to support the delivery of the ‘Out of Town’ Museum project. This is a Heritage Lottery Funded contract worth up to £20,000 which will start in February 2019 and run until the end of the OOT project in June 2022.

The role will include:

  • Providing oral history training to volunteers
  • Supporting volunteers to collect and record oral histories
  • Reviewing all oral history records and preparing them for archive within the Northumberland Archive held at Woodhorn Museum
  • Updating the OOT website and uploading information and oral history

Submissions should include the applicant’s cv, a methodology and scope for the work, timetable for delivery and likely project outputs. The fee proposal to include a time-based fee and expenses.

Further details available from www.bailiffgatemuseum.co.uk

Applications should be addressed to ask@bailiffgatemuseum.co.uk

Closing date for submissions: Noon on Monday 21st January 2019

Post Duration: Three and a half years 
Post Hours: Variable per week

Salary:£20k over lifetime of project (approx £6k pa)

Oral Historian for the Stanmer Restoration Project (Brighton & Hove )


Stanmer Park Restoration Project – Oral History Project
Brighton & Hove City Council

Tenders are invited from an inspiring individual to work as a Freelance Oral Historian to help to deliver a participatory, heritage focused, oral history and memory collection project which includes creative, interpretative outputs using the oral history for the Stanmer Park Restoration Project.

With funding and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, together with other stakeholders we are engaged in a programme of restoration of Stanmer Park.

The oral historian will collect oral histories and memories from a wide range of people. The oral historian will then support project participants, project staff and stakeholders to use these memories to contribute to the development of interpretive outputs, including tours, exhibition and heritage activities and events.

It will be important for the appointee to work flexibly over the lifetime of the Oral History project and to respond to external deadlines, as these may change.

The Budget for £12,000.00 has been allocated for this role.

If you are interested in this project please email stella.richardson@brighton-hove.gov.uk for a copy of the tender or call 01273 292217.

Closing date for tenders: 28th January 2019

‘Ships in the Sky’ – an oral history, film and exhibition project


Project summary

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”                 

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden    

‘Ships in the Sky’ is an oral history, film and exhibition project that celebrates the social history of Hull’s former central flagship Co-Operative Society store built after its predecessor was bombed in 1941. The store later became BHS and now lies abandoned in the city centre.

The project also looks at the ‘Three Ships’ mural – a curved concrete 66 x 64 ft screen depicting three stylised trawlers that spell ‘HULL’ in the masts and bears the motto ‘prosper through industry’. Commissioned by the Co-op in 1963 to adorn the front of the building, it comprises 4,224 foot square slabs set with Italian glass tesserae; the spectacular result is a mosaic encompassing 1,061,775 individual cubes that is regarded as the largest mosaic in the UK. The Co-Op’s public art brief was to “unite the community through art” and to “celebrate Hull’s maritime heritage” both statements being at the heart of the ‘Ships in the Sky’ project.

“Growing up in Hull, this unmissable piece of public art was formative in my love of modernism and wanting to study art. My Dad comes from a long line of trawler-men, and during our weekly trip for fried egg sandwiches to Fletchers opposite, he’d tell me tales of his first trawler trip at the age of 12 to Murmansk and beyond the Arctic Circle. Aside from an avid fondness for Boyson’s graphic modernist aesthetic, I associate the Three Ships with stories of fantastical voyages that began in Hull, and as a metaphor for where life might lead me; its destruction would break my heart.” – Esther Johnson (artist/filmmaker)

Oral histories are being collected to record the memories of Co-Op and BHS store shoppers and employees; architects and designers; local and national opinions on the building; memories of club-going in the various incarnations of the nightclub at the top of the building. Central themes include a look at the Hull fishing and maritime heritage connection and whether people believe the mural is important in terms of geographical and historical local identity. There will also be attention to the effects of this remarkable piece of public art on peoples’ navigation and memories of the unique public realm of Hull City Centre.

https://threeshipsmural.weebly.com         @shipsinthesky63

Project Support

The first phase of this project is funded by James Reckitt Library Trust with the support of Hull Culture and Leisure, Hull Central Libraries; Hull Trinity Old Boys’ Association and the Art and Design Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

Artist Biography

Esther Johnson (MA Royal College of Art) is an artist and filmmaker working at the intersection of artist moving image and documentary. Project themes include social histories, heritage, regeneration, and exploration of architectural vernaculars and the inhabited environment. Johnson is Professor of Film and Media Arts in the Art and Design Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. http://blanchepictures.com

Project duration 24 months


Have co-authored (with Leigh Bird) an article for The Modernist magazine:                                                                      



Other outputs: https://shipsinthesky.weebly.com

The project has just started but the following is planned:

– series of oral history interviews that will be added to ‘Untold Hull’ collection – travelling exhibition around Hull Libraries and other community venues – an artist film – a Hull Modernist Architecture tour – a Hull Modernist Architecture app – Final project exhibition – Symposium – Printed summary of project.

Contact details

Esther Johnson, Professor of Film and Media Arts

Sheffield Hallam University, Harmer 2418b, Sheffield, S1 1WB

Telephone:07866 586 248

Email: esther.johnson@blanchepictures.com





Morecambe Bay Lives


Project summary:  

Morecambe Bay Lives is an intergenerational oral history project delivered within the communities around Morecambe Bay.  It was a distinct project within the wider Heritage Lottery funded Headlands to Headspace led by Morecambe Bay Partnership.

Morecambe Bay Lives comprised of three main elements, the first of which was the recording of oral histories around Morecambe Bay. The second aspect was an intergenerational strand and saw the delivery of projects in primary schools. The school projects focused on engaging pupils both in the process of collecting oral history and exploring memory and in creating opportunities for pupils to meet and share memories with older members of the community. Morecambe Bay Lives also included an element of reminiscence.

Morecambe Bay is an area which straddles Lancashire and Cumbria. The communities around the Bay are diverse with each having its own distinctive character. At the north west end of Morecambe Bay is Barrow-in-Furness, home to BAE shipyard, whilst eastwards, towards the south of the Bay, is the seaside resort of Morecambe and the Port of Heysham. The communities large and small around the Bay are connected by their proximity to Morecambe Bay itself which is the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sands in the UK and an important area for wildlife.

The criteria for the collection of oral histories was simply that memories were related to Morecambe Bay – either land or sea (a  separate Morecambe Bay Partnership project looked specifically at fishing). The range of topics covered by the recordings is quite diverse from, for example, recollections of the Barrow Blitz, to memories of the local lidos, to experiences of working at Morecambe Bay’s ports or childhood exploration of the shore and sands.

Alongside, the recording of oral histories, Morecambe Bay Lives ran projects in 8 primary schools. The school projects explored memory, aging and local identity and responded to how the pupils wished to explore these topics. Pupils were able to develop new interviewing, recording and photography skills and share their own memories. Each project culminated in a memory share. For these sessions, pupils invited in older members of the community for an informal afternoon gathering, where local memories were shared and pupils made recordings of their visitors. The memory shares were successful both in terms of intergenerational dialogue and in strengthening a sense of local identity through local stories.

A local creative practitioner with a background in oral history and specialism in working with primary pupils facilitated the project. Over 80 individual recordings collected during the project are available via an on-line archive.

Duration 36 (months)

 eflections on the project:

The project’s Intergenerational oral history sessions were a wonderful way for young and old to engage with each other through the sharing of their own and local memories. The ‘scaffolding’ provided for the children beforehand and a trust in their ability to not only engage with the older visitors but to record their visitors’ memories worked really well. The sense of nerves from pupils and visitors when they first met melted away very quickly and the recordings the pupils made during the session are testament to how young and old engaged with and listened to each other. Teachers were impressed by how their children responded and some have started to run similar sessions in their schools themselves.

A particularly successful approach was to take a class out of school and into a community setting to meet and record members of a specific community. Although each school was also offered the opportunity to extend the intergenerational aspect into additional shared sessions the constraints of the school timetable meant that unfortunately schools weren’t able to take up this offer.

Without a narrow oral history focus and with a large geographical area covered by the project it was difficult at first to find ways to engage potential interviewees. Despite publicity, posters, community engagement and outreach by Morecambe Bay Partnership it became apparent that the only real effective way of engaging potential interviewees was by personal contact. There have been quite a few lessons learnt along the way and the project has responded flexibly.

The positive effects on wellbeing for some of the interviewees through the process of meeting sharing and recording became an important aspect of this project. The connection to older, perhaps isolated people who are ‘opening up’ past memories  was an important temporary connection between the interviewer and interviewee. In a way that wasn’t expected at the beginning of the project the time spent with the interviewee before and after the interview became an important space, The positive elements of utilising oral history to facilitate children and older people being given the space to communicate and enjoy each other’s company and for the positive effects of older people being given the space to be heard and to share their stories are outcomes which are hard to quantify in evaluations, but which were a very real outcome of this project.

Publications: Project booklet containing extracts from oral recordings Other outputs:

Project website –  morecambebaylives.org

On-line archive – recordingmorecambebay.org.uk

Project Address:

Morecambe Bay Partnership

The Factory

Castle Mills, Aynam Rd


Kendal LA9 7DE


Email: morecambebaystories@gmail.com

Call for Papers. International conference “Oral History in Action”, Poland, Cracow, March 28-30, 2019

Polish Oral History Association (PTHM), established in 2009 in Krakow, brings together people and the circles that use oral history in their work in various areas of academic, cultural or social life. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the POHA, together with the Institute of History of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and the Wrocław “Remembrance and Future” Centre, we would like to invite you to take part in the international conference Oral History in Action, that will take place in Krakow on 28-30 March 2019.

The history of oral history started from practice of first recorded interviews. Therefore, oral history, like no other branch of the humanities, is intrinsically linked to social, civic or interpersonal engagement of an oral historian and oral history itself. Because of that we would like to pose a question whether oral history do (or should do) change social reality: for good or for bad, intentionally or accidentally? Reflection about that engagement, its characteristics, problems and consequences, especially in countries of Central and Eastern Europe, is located in the centre of the conference’s topic. Profiting from the transdisciplinary character of oral history, we hope that our meeting in Krakow will create a space for confrontation and discussion about different approaches to oral history presented by the academia, museums and other cultural institutions, or by NGOs. We are convinced that this multitude character of oral history in historiography, sociology, anthropology, psychology etc., as well as in our contemporary (digital) culture and public life, is both the biggest chance and main challenge for oral historians and their discipline.

We are seeking for papers reflecting oral history as an activity and considering its consequences, touching at least one of the following topics:

  • oral history in contemporary social sciences and humanities: innovative projects and approaches, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary character as an epistemological challenge;
  • practical and conceptual challenges of doing oral history in minority groups (e.g. discriminated, advanced aged etc.)
  • oral history as a public history: local, national and international level;
  • oral history and politics, or political dimension of practising and promoting oral history;
  • oral history as a tool of intentional social change vs. researcher’s neutrality: epistemological and ethical dilemmas;
  • oral history as a form of social and communal activity;
  • oral history as a form of therapy;
  • place of oral history in theory and practise of contemporary museums and NGOs;
  • interviewees in the education projects: aims, forms and limits of engagement;
  • new media and oral history: usage and abusage of memories in the Internet;
  • legal problems of doing oral history

To apply with a paper please send an abstract in English (approx. 300 words) along with your presentation title and your short bio to: oralhistoryinaction@pthm.pl

Deadline for submissions: 30 November 2018

The list of the chosen participants will be announced on 20 December 2018.

There is no fee for taking part in the conference. Chosen texts will be published in peer-reviewed journal “Wrocław Yearbook of Oral History”(https://wrhm.pl/wrhm/about). 


Polish Oral History Association, Institute of History, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, The “Remembrance and Future” Centre in Wrocław

Partners: Fundacja “Dobra Wola”

The honorary committee:

Zbigniew Gluza (The Karta Center in Warsaw)

Professor Kaja Kaźmierska (Institute of Sociology, University of Łódź)

Dr hab. Grażyna Kubica-Heller (Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University in Krakow)

Dr Wojciech Kucharski (The “Remembrance and Future” Centre in Wroclaw) 

Tomasz Pietrasiewicz (The “Grodzka Gate ‐ NN Theatre” Centre in Lublin)

Organising committee members:

Katarzyna Bock-Matuszyk, Alina Doboszewska, Jakub Gałęziowski, Marcin Jarząbek, Dobrochna Kałwa, Wiktoria Kudela-Świątek, Agata Stolarz, Karolina Żłobecka


London Vagabond: the life of Henry Mayhew, pioneer of oral history


London Vagabond tells the story of one of the pioneers of oral history, Henry Mayhew. His London Labour and the London Poor, 1851-52, gave life and substance to the voices of the poor, the outcast and the labouring Londoners. It gripped the country and was recognised as a unique work. Yet when Mayhew died in 1887 one newspaper commented, ‘The chief impression created in the public mind by the announcement of the death of Henry Mayhew, was one of surprise that he should still be alive’. By then out of print, London Labour only began to resurface after the second world war, when the London Mayhew had loved lay in ruins. By the late 1960s, a full version of London Labour was available once more, riding the wave of a Victoriana revival. By the 1970s academics fought over his legacy; for the left Mayhew was a proto-Marxist; for the right he was a debunker of progressive myths about the poor, and a dilettante; for others his London Labour was simply a wonder. ‘It is a book’, wrote W. H. Auden, ‘in which one can browse for a lifetime without exhausting its treasures.’ From the 1980s it was a fixture on courses on literature, history, criminology, culture studies and more, with Mayhew feted in schools as a philanthropist. London Labour continues to inspire writers and filmmakers who seek to understand and show the reality of Victorian poverty. The historian E. P. Thompson observed ‘he was the subject of no biography and there is something like a conspiracy of silence about him in some of the reminiscences and biographies of his contemporaries […] Mayhew remains a puzzling character, and some final clue seems to be missing.’ Although Terry Pratchett dedicated his last novel, Dodger, to Mayhew, the character of the real Henry Mayhew has remained obscure, until now.

Born into a wealthy family, Mayhew’s public school years were cut short and he was shipped off to Calcutta as a midshipman. Taken on at his father’s law firm upon his return, he soon left when he accidentally got his father arrested. He became a journalist and dramatist in 1830s London, neither considered respectable occupations, and he crowned the decade by founding Punch. It became the most successful magazine of the century and should have set him up for life. Instead, his path led to bankruptcy and prison. He spent years in exile, in Guernsey and in Germany. In between he became famous for his revelations about the poor and brought out ‘London Labour and the London Poor’ in 1851. He was a respected children’s author, a popular comic novelist, a criminologist who gave evidence to Parliamentary Select committees and a war correspondent. He wrote for the stage, tried to enter politics, and was the darling of both radicals and conservatives for attacking the liberal mantra of Free Trade. Known as a philosopher, and as a scientist, he revered his friend Michael Faraday, and sought to bring electric lighting to London decades before it arrived. It was his scientific approach to the issue of poverty that led him to develop his unique approach. Mental illness haunted him, his periodic peaks switching to deep troughs. He mixed with Dickens, Thackeray and stood at the centre of the burgeoning literary world, met with government ministers to advocate social reforms, and mingled with costers, dockers and the underworld too, keeping an open house for thieves and paroled prisoners. His closeness to some of them backfired in blackmail and death threats. His wife, who dealt with the bailiffs for him and secretly co-wrote much of his work, left him when their children had grown up and insisted on being buried under her maiden name. Forgotten, he spent his last decades moving from one Bloomsbury bedsit to another, plotting new schemes, new books, until the last.

Chris Anderson read History at Gonville & Caius, Cambridge. He is a freelance London historian, and edited ‘Of Street Piemen’ on Mayhew for the Penguin Little Black Classics series. Visit www.londonlabourlondonpoor.com for more information, or search London Vagabond on Amazon.

Farmland Voices


Project summary

Back in 1970 my son was given a tape recorder and his Great Aunt suggested he interview some of her friends (born before WW1) as each would have a story to tell.  The family collected old farm machines and memorabilia which became known as the Farmland Museum (now at Denny Abbey near Cambridge). Interest was taken in the collection and a neighbour, Professor Margaret Spufford, realised these ‘old fen boys’ and their way of living was dying out and she managed to get a grant from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Trust to cover the costs of listening posts in the museum so that visitors could ‘tune in’  and hear the dialect and stories. For many years I used excerpts from the tapes when I gave talks to organisations such as Women’s Insititute, Over Sixties clubs etc. and I used many of the stories in publications such as Bog Oak Country and Ten Miles from Ely. A chance comment on local Cambridge Radio resulted in the offer from a listener to digitise the cassettes and now the whole world can listen to interviews started by a schoolboy in 1970.

Listen here: www.farmlandvoices.org.uk

Over a dozen booklets have been produced by Lorna Delanoy from the collection, including Women’s Work is Never Done, History of a Village Museum, Village Voices.

For more information please contact Lorna Delanoy: lorna.delanoy@aol.co.uk


Oral History and Data Protection


The Oral History Society has recently published Data Protection advice and guidelines for oral historians and organisations holding oral history interviews. It can be found here: http://www.ohs.org.uk/advice/data-protection/

In response to GDPR, the Society has also updated its Privacy and Data Storage Policy with information to clarify how it collects, stores and uses personal data. You can read the new Privacy Notice here:  http://www.ohs.org.uk/about/privacy/

WWII Front line Kent Childhoods (Folkstone, Hythe, Margate, Ramsgate)


Organisation: Pavement Pounders Community Interest Company

Volunteer Duties: We are seeking two young adults aged 18-25 from each of the seaside towns of Folkestone, Hythe (Kent), Margate and Ramsgate to assist with oral history interviews and filming in early 2019 after having attended our training workshops (see Volunteering Training Opportunities box below).

A brief description of the project:
WWII Front-Line Kent Childhoods A Pavement Pounders CIC Project

Life for young people in Kent seaside towns under fire, during WWII. The towns chosen are Folkestone, Hythe, Margate and Ramsgate. Prompted by being sent unsolicited audio files made by locals about childhood encounters with V1 rockets in Folkestone when the current TV news was full of reports of the suffering of children in Syria. The accounts we were sent highlighted the contrast between the towns’ pre- and post-war role as holiday destinations welcoming visitors with their wartime role as restricted areas repelling attack. With the help of local young people we shall gather the memories of those who lived their childhood years in these seaside towns during WWII experiencing the attacks from across the channel. We are a community interest company based in Folkestone on the Kent coast. We devise and manage heritage and arts projects.

This project is supported by Kent County Council and the Big Lottery

Training Opportunities: We offer young adults aged 18-25 two training workshops which shall be held in Folkestone and or Ramsgate depending on take up. One on oral history interviewing techniques, the other on using video for heritage projects. The workshops will take place between September and December 2018.

Expenses: We shall pay reasonable pre-agreed travel expenses.

Closing Date of Project: May 2019

Rainbow Pilgrims – Preparing LGBTQI collections for deposit (London)


Archive Skills – Preparing LGBTQI collections for deposit – looking for volunteers – Training provided!

Organisation: Rainbow Pilgrims: The Rites and Passages of LGBTQI Migrants in the UK Project
Address: The Montagu Centre, 21 Maple St, London, W1T 4BE

Webpage: https://www.rainbowpilgrims.com/event/archiveskills/

Volunteer Duties: You will be expected to hone your (new) skills and help with Rainbow Pilgrims archival work (eg cataloguing, preparing collection for deposit); minimum amount of volunteering hours 1.5/week for 4-8 weeks from 14 May 2018 onwards at the LMA and other London (office at W1T 4BE) or PC-home based locations. You may be invited to work also on finalising the deposit of our other two collections Rainbow Jews and Twilight People, as the collections are connected.

This is a fantastic hands-on skills exchange opportunity, and a great opportunity to network and gain skills from senior archivists and be part of a landmark oral history project.

Location: The London Metropolitan Archives

Training Opportunities: Free Training/Induction for volunteers will be provided on 12 May 2018, 11-4pm, at the London Metropolitan Archives.

Training content: introduction to archives & exploring LGBTQ records to gain a general understanding of archives and their importance to learn about record types normally encountered through original examples, to gain an understanding of potential issues concerning use of original documents and recordings including ownership and copyright, to gain knowledge of key fundamental archival principles and ethics, to know how to advise private individuals if they have records and want to know more about how to care for them, to learn about how to care for and organise your collections.

Expenses: Reasonable travel expenses

Lunch packs (full day £10)

Archive materials expenses reimbursed

Closing Date of Project: 30 June 2018

Resorting to the Coast (Clacton-on-Sea/National)

Resorting to the Coast is a wonderful Heritage Lottery Funded project to promote the colourful seaside resorts of the Tendring coast in Essex.

We are seeking tenacious and proactive volunteers for two styles of roles which play a crucial and valuable part in making our oral history interviews accessible to the wider public:
– Sound editors
– Typing/producing oral history interview summaries

Ideally you will already have experience in these fields but if you are a fresh beginner – we can provide training if you’ve not done this before and you’ll need to be able to travel to Tendring or London.

About the project:
Resorting to the Coast has several different activities to engage with the public including oral history interviewing, seaside entertainments, a school programme, a travelling exhibition of coastal curiosities, two conferences, heritage walking trails, an online compendium of Tendring’s seaside heritage plus more!

Tendring’s coastal resorts played a key role in the establishment of the nostalgic ‘British Seaside Holiday’ since they became popular in the late Victorian era.

Location of position: Home based with own laptop/PC
Training Opportunities: We can provide technical training for editing oral history recordings and guidance on how to produce interview summaries.
Expenses: We can reimburse reasonable travel expenses if required and out of pocket expenses incurred by volunteers for attending training sessions.

Further information for Resorting to the Coast and details of how to apply to volunteer can be found here:  https://www.tendringcoastalheritage.org.uk/

Closing Date of Project: 31st July 2019

For more information, please contact Juliana Vandegrift:  juliana.vandegrift@essex.gov.uk

Organisation: Essex County Council, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE 

​Twitter handle is @RTTC and #ResortingtotheCoast

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/resortingtothecoast/?modal=admin_todo_tour