Women’s History Network Community History Prize

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It’s that exciting time of year – the Women’s History Network Community History Prize 2020 is live and calling for entries!
 
This annual prize of £500 is awarded to the team behind a Community History Project by, about, or for women in a particular locale or community which has been completed between the 1 January 2019 and 31st May 2020. It has been sponsored by The History Press since 2015.

Please also consider entering if your project cannot quite be completed due to the pandemic- we would still like to learn about your work.

Last year’s prize was won by the wonderful entry from Glasgow Women’s Library – please follow this link to see more about it:
https://womenshistorynetwork.org/2019-whn-community-history-prize-winner/

For details of this year’s competition go to  https://womenshistorynetwork.org/2020-whn-community-history-prize/
(Submission date: 31 May).

The Women’s History Network is a national association and charity for the promotion of women’s history and the encouragement of women and men interested in women’s history. Established in 1991, the network reaches out to welcome people from any background who share a passion for women’s history.

We encourage submissions from projects which include a strong element of community engagement or collaboration and which communicate a sense of heritage uncovered and learning shared by participants from outside the academic or professional heritage sector.

Projects can have creative or wellbeing outcomes, as well as research outputs, but the entrants’ activity must have led to the creation of something which is based on and communicates the findings of the group’s historical research, such as a production, artwork, website, documentary, pamphlet, heritage trail, book, exhibition, artefact or event.

Elspeth King. Chair, Community History Prize


manonabeach.com

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manonabeach® summary

manonabeach.com is a website that showcases the enhancing effect of the beach, via UK beach-goers’ filmed answers to the question “What does the beach mean to you…?”, supported by scene setting films and photos for context.  The question is posed by an anonymous presenter in a format designed to focus on beach-goers’ responses.  None of the interviews are pre-arranged.

The series began in 2011 and features seasonal visits to beaches around the entire coast of Britain and Northern Ireland.

It celebrates the elemental power of the beach and its effect on those people who enjoy being where the air, land and sea meet.  The findings show that the beach means different things to different people, whether enhancing creativity, decisiveness and energy, being restorative and settling, as part of a routine, as a reference point through generations, as freedom or just for fun.  In the beach eulogies emotions, perceptions and recollections are drawn out by the enhancing effect of the beach.  manonabeach® is a construct, a passive Everyman, whose role is to showcase these qualitative findings.

It has taken almost nine years to collect the 1,333 filmed answers to “What does the beach mean to you…?”, supported by an equivalent number of scene setting films and over 10,000 photos that have been collected on 662 UK beaches. 

There have been 774 different responses, all of which are logged and disseminated through graphs on the website, illustrating the most popular answers.  As well as charts that showcase the most common overall responses, the “findings” menu at manonabeach.com includes graphs that represent the following response categories:

– emotional and spiritual

– work, economics and organisations

– family and friends

– sensory

– nature

– activities.

The series has enjoyed academic links to the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), Exeter University and the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI).  It has featured in both local and national Press around the country.  BBC Scotland has featured manonabeach® on Good Morning Scotland, as well as a TV piece on Reporting Scotland.  I was a panelist on the Imperial College London Thinkspace Digitalks event entitled “Can digital save the seas?” under an icampaigning banner in 2013.  I will be presenting a brief summary of the series as part of a joint web archiving presentation with The British Library to the rearranged Oral History Society annual conference in 2021.

manonabeach® issues, successes, challenges

Successes

I believed in the manonabeach® series from the beginning.  I designed it to be a celebration of us as island people and I felt that it would be a positive contribution.  It has led me along and I have been helped enormously by people that I have met along the way, three in particular.  A key early encounter was with web designer Brian Banks, who set up both incarnations of the website and who has been and still is a great supporter of the series.  He was recommended to me by an interviewee at Looe in Cornwall.  Secondly, another important early intervention occurred during an interview at St Just in Cornwall, where interviewee Jane Adams encouraged me to sell advertising on the site.  The immediate success of this enabled me to retain artistic independence and to fund the development of the work out of Cornwall towards a national presence.  There are currently over 120 UK advertisers.  Finally, I have high hopes for my recent engagement with Nicola Bingham, lead curator on web archives at The British Library.  As well as putting together the abstract for our joint presentation to next year’s Oral History Society Annual Conference, she encouraged me to become a member of The Oral History Society.  Through my membership, I hope to widen awareness of the series and to meet professionals in other areas of oral history, who can help me to take the work forward in new ways.

Another success, looking back, was to get each interviewee to sign a release form, giving me full rights to the content of the interviews, enabling me to use the films in different ways in the future, as the series develops.

Finally, I am proud of the online traction that manonabeach® has achieved, with around half a million impressions to the website and over 400,000 views to the supporting manonabeach journeys YouTube channel, plus an established @manonabeach Twitter account.

Challenges

The main challenge, particularly in the early days, was wind noise.  Filming on a mobile phone with a plug-in mono-directional microphone was a serious audio challenge.  Until I discovered mufflers and furries, I used blocks of foam from brillo pads to attempt to dampen the external noise.  To date, only 1,129 of the 1,333 interviews that I have collected are of an acceptable audio standard to post on the website.  Although the others are included on the “findings” menu charts and graphs, I hope that technological advances will one day liberate the unseen ones from the vault.

Another challenge has been to convince large companies of the associative value of the content to their brand and core values.  An association with the universality of the beach eulogies and the generosity of spirit of those people who have shared them is potentially potent, in terms of corporate identity and values.  Potential corporate partners’ wide marketing reach would then widen awareness of the series, so both parties would benefit.  This challenge is still being wrestled with.

Here are some sample photos from the series, just three out of the 10,000+ that feature at manonabeach.com

Tolsta beach on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.

Crantock beach on the north coast of Cornwall.

A view of Alnmouth beach in Northumberland from Bracken Hill.

Here is the first manonabeach® radio piece, from BBC Radio Cornwall, followed by a later radio piece from BBC Scotland and a television feature on “Reporting Scotland”.

BBC Radio Cornwall
BBC Scotland Stonehaven

BBC Reporting Scotland: https://youtu.be/zwSO-vZBegU

Artist Details

The series was devised and developed by Ian Brighouse, who lives in Cornwall and who was inspired by the beaches there to begin this ongoing and apparently endless work.  He has collected and disseminated all of the material in the series himself.  You can get in touch with him in any of the ways below.  Ian is available to present his work in literary, commercial and academic settings.  Feel free to send him your answer to “What does the beach mean to you…?”, along with the beach page that you would like your answer to be published on.

Ian Brighouse: ian@manonabeach.com

Telephone: 07814 753834

Twitter: @manonabeach


2020 Women’s History Network Community History Prize

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It’s that exciting time of year – the Women’s History Network Community History Prize 2020 is live and calling for entries!

This annual prize of £500 is awarded to the team behind a Community History Project by, about, or for women in a particular locale or community which has been completed between the 1 January 2019 and 31st May 2020. It has been sponsored by The History Press since 2015.

Last year’s prize was won by the wonderful entry from Glasgow Women’s Library – please follow this link to see more about it: https://womenshistorynetwork.org/2019-whn-community-history-prize-winner/

For details of this year’s competition go to  https://womenshistorynetwork.org/2020-whn-community-history-prize/

The Women’s History Network is a national association and charity for the promotion of women’s history and the encouragement of women and men interested in women’s history. Established in 1991, the network reaches out to welcome people from any background who share a passion for women’s history.

We encourage submissions from projects which include a strong element of community engagement or collaboration and which communicate a sense of heritage uncovered and learning shared by participants from outside the academic or professional heritage sector.

Projects can have creative or wellbeing outcomes, as well as research outputs, but the entrants’ activity must have led to the creation of something which is based on and communicates the findings of the group’s historical research, such as a production, artwork, website, documentary, pamphlet, heritage trail, book, exhibition, artefact or event.

With all good wishes,

Elspeth King

Chair, Community History Prize


Postponed – OHS Conference 2020

Following a meeting of the OHS Officers, in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the decision has been made to postpone this years’ OHS Annual Conference until next year.  We recognise that this is a challenging and worrying time for everyone, therefore the Oral History and the Media conference will now be re-scheduled to take place at Bournemouth University in July 2021.  All keynotes and presenters who were planning to attend will be invited to present at next years’ event and a Call for Papers inviting additional proposal submissions will be released this summer.   Up to date details regarding the conference can be found on http://www.ohs.org.uk/conferences.


I Dig Canals (Dudley)

Volunteer Duties: Attending some of our reminiscence events, and/or help us at public events when we aim to collect stories of women’s involvement in the campaign to save Black Country canals in the 1960s or 1970s.

Training on Tuesday, 17 September, at Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust, Birmingham New Road, Dudley, DY1 4SB

Collect stories at our public events and reminiscence events”:

– Saturday & Sunday, 21-22 September, noon-5pm, at Tipton Canal Festival, Tipton Town Centre, DY4 8HE
– Tuesday, 15 October from 10am-12.30pm, at Tipton Library, Unity Walk, Owen Street, Tipton, DY4 8QL
– Saturday & Sunday, 19-20 October, 10am-5pm, at Bonded Warehouse Open Weekend, Stourbridge, DY8 4LU
– Saturday, 26 October from 2-5pm, at Titford Pumphouse, Engine Street, Oldbury, B69 4NL with Birmingham Canal Navigation Society
– Wednesday, 20 November at 7pm for a 7.30pm start, at the Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust, Birmingham New Road, Dudley, DY1 4SB
Location: Dudley
Training Opportunities: Training on Tuesday, 17 September, at Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust, Birmingham New Road, Dudley, DY1 4SB

This is a one-day workshop for volunteers who want to be involved with recording for ‘I Dig Canals’. You don’t need any previous experience – the aim of the day is to meet new friends and learn new skills. We will be discussing oral history and its value, having a go with digital recorders, practicing planning and preparing interviews and making some short recordings about people’s canal experiences. Hopefully you will end of the day with the skills and confidence to undertake some of your own interviews at future ‘I Dig Canals’ events.

The day will be run by Julia Letts, an accredited trainer for the Oral History Society.
Expenses: Travel expenses available
Region: West Midlands

Webpage: https://www.facebook.com/alarumtheatre/photos/pcb.10156629551713857/10156629547643857/?type=3&theater

Contact Name: Nadia Stone
Email: idigcanals@alaramtheatre.co.uk

Closing Date of Project: May 2020


‘Surroundings’ – an artwork by Ivan Riches

 

 

‘Surroundings’ is an artwork initiated, devised, created and delivered by Ivan Riches, a 360° image projection with a voice soundscape compiled of participant’s experience of their relationships to their surroundings, from locations in Southwark London, North Devon and Bavaria Germany. One version of this artwork is for delivery as an installation with musicians creating a live supporting accompaniment in a gallery setting. The other version of the artwork is without live music, available for wider public viewing on YouTube for smartphones, tablets, 360° headsets and computer scrolling. 

There were 2 live installations/performances of improvised music/soundscapes with projected imagery, in direct response to recorded interviews, rich in feeling & intensity, creating live immersive experiences where the audience is surrounded by voices, sound textures & images.

Surroundings 360° (3 locations)’ Artwork by Ivan Riches 2019
This artwork part of the ‘Surroundings Project’ consists of voices recorded from interviews in Southwark London, North Devon & locations in Bavaria Germany, alongside mixed media imagery in 360° format. The Plough Arts Centre 26th June 2019

https://youtu.be/IK5Rrq3OTfg

Surroundings (1 location)’ Artwork by Ivan Riches 2019
This artwork part of the ‘Surroundings Project’ consists of voices recorded from interviews in Southwark London.
The South London Gallery 24th April 2019

https://youtu.be/JthhBOb4AM8 

Musicians for the live installation/performance:
Jo-anne Cox
Dee Fry
Ivan Riches 
Zack De Santos

Read Colin Hambrook’s article ‘Surroundings – a journey into the known’ at Disability Arts Online: 
http://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/surroundings-a-journey-into-the-known/

‘Surroundings: Stories of Home’ with transcripts of the Southwark London interviews is available at: https://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/ivan-riches-surroundings-a-meaningful-evocation-of-the-human-spirit/ 

Read more about the project and its development via Ivan’s blogs at Disability Arts Online:
Surroundings Blog No 1
Surroundings Blog No 2
Surroundings Blog No 3

Surroundings Blog No 4
Surroundings Blog No 5
Surroundings Blog No 6

 

 

Thank you to: 
The project participants for contributing their voices

Partners and Sponsors:
South London Gallery
Claudius Vergho
Freewheeling
Plough Art Centre
Dr Jürgen Müller-Hohagen
Disability Arts Online

And Thank you to:
Fran Stanley for help and support
Willem Riches for help and support and some extra photography in Rosenheim Germany
Simon Puris for filming at the South London Gallery

All Visual Artwork & Film Coypright (C) Ivan Riches 2019
All Music Coypright (C) Ivan Riches 2019


Tallin Tallin – The Story Project

 

Tallin Tallin is a project that aims to preserve and promote the rich tradition of oral storytelling in The Gambia, West Africa; the evening entertainment that has captured the imaginations of so many generations of adults and children. In addition, it hopes to help address the Western-centric nature of many of the stories available to children in schools in the region. The project is being developed by artist Amy Pitt (www.amypitt.com) alongside WYCE, a charity that has been operating in rural Gambia since 2001 (www.wyce.org.uk).

Over the last few years, the project has travelled 914km across The Gambia, collecting traditional oral stories from 8 ethnic groups. For years, these stories have been passed on from generation to generation as a means of entertainment, to encourage debate and discussion, and to teach important cultural values. However, with younger Gambians increasingly living away from their extended family, and with Western forms of entertainment increasingly encroaching into everyday life, there is a real risk that as the generation that knows these stories passes they will be lost to this rapidly developing country forever.

Tallin Tallin will collate these stories, preserving them as a lively, illustrated book, one of which will be distributed to every primary school in The Gambia, free-of-charge. In doing so, the project intends to create a resource that celebrates local heritage and culture, encourages engagement with literature and storytelling, and has direct relevance to the people of The Gambia. Additionally, the original audio recordings will be made into a digital archive, so that these stories can be downloaded to phones, laptops, and tablets, and be widely engaged with in the format that they have always been shared.

In the long-term, the dream is to create a one-day festival celebrating the cultural tradition of oral storytelling. The festival will take place annually in three locations in The Gambia, and involve local storytellers and musicians.

In early April, a crowdfunder campaign will be launched which aims to raise £6000 in 30 days. This money will be used to:

  • Print 1000 books and ship them to The Gambia
  • Create the digital archive of original recordings and illustrations

If you are interested in finding out more about the project, and to keep up-to-date with the crowdfunder campaign and other updates, then please follow the contact details below:

Online: www.tallintallin.com

Email: amy@tallintallin.com

Facebook: @TallinTallinStoryProject

Instagram: tallin_tallin_story_project

Twitter: @Tallin_Tallin_

   

 

 

 

 


The Fieldwork Journals of Eric R. Cregeen (1921-83)

 

Project summary
Internationally renowned social historian Eric R. Cregeen (1921–83) was one of UK’s prime movers in recording oral history. Rigorously trained by the Irish Folklore Commission in the 1940s (while recording for the Manx Folk-Life Survey), Cregeen settled in Scotland (1954) taking up posts with the University of Glasgow then, in 1966, with Edinburgh University’s School of Scottish Studies. 

Eric R. Cregeen worked tirelessly in the West Highlands and Islands of Scotland, where he recorded the way of life of people who lived off the land and sea.  He catalogued his tapes and deposited them in the Archives of the School of Scottish Studies, until his sudden death in 1983 robbed Scotland of an outstanding oral historian, folklorist and scholar.  Historiographer Royal of Scotland, Professor T. C. Smout described Cregeen as “a social scientist of the highest order… a very fine historian and a very fine anthropologist… far in advance of this time … no one since has put the two disciplines together so effectively to illuminate the life of the Highlands.”

Besides his recordings and published writings, Cregeen’s legacy included over 30 fieldwork notebooks, which remained with his family until 2015 when Mrs Lily Cregeen handed over a box of fieldwork journals to Margaret Bennett (former lecturer at the School of Scottish Studies), a Trustee of the charity Grace Notes Scotland (“dedicated to handing on tradition”). With a grant from Heritage Lottery the journals were digitized, and a team of transcribers typed over 4,000 pages of oral history fieldwork notes.  After the project was completed, Margaret Bennett collaborated with publisher  Gonzalo Mazzei (Grace Note Publications) to produce  9 volumes shown here:  The Cregeen Journals (1939–82). 

A set of the journals has been added to the  Special Collections of the University of Edinburgh, and an on-line database is planned. The University of Glasgow is also incorporating Cregeen’s work into their database DASG (Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic), and it is hoped that researchers will enjoy further access to the work of this very fine oral historian.

Further enquiries regarding the 9 volume set may be made via info@gracenotescotland.org

Reflections on the project:
Talks and exhibitions were well attended, and local history groups took part in workshops.
To begin with, few people had heard of Cregeen, but some were very excited when they recognised family members among the photos. One young man ‘met’ his grandfather in the journals, photos and recordings, and, considering the grandfather had died before he was born, he was deeply moved to discover the wealth of tradition that Cregeen had recorded from him.  As it happened, a film-maker from BBC Alba also attended, and when he saw the powerful effect of this, he took up the ‘story’ and then made an hour-long documentary film, which has just been completed and telecast on BBC Alba (Feb. 25, available on iplayer).

Other outputs: The project produced 6 exhibitions, starting with an opening exhibition at the National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh) and  a final exhibition in Lochmaddy, North Uist (April 1 to May 30, 2018)

The project also included 10 oral history workshops for schools in the areas where Cregeen worked.

Contact details
Dr G. Mazzei
Grace Note Publications
‘Grange of Locherlour’
Ochtertyre
Crieff, PH7 4JS

Telephone:01764 655979
Email: info@gracenotescotland.org

Photographs by Gonzalo Mazzei, used with permission.

                


Call for Papers: Oral History Network of Ireland’s Annual Conference “Oral History in a Digital World”. Limerick City, 28 & 29 June 2019

 

The Oral History Network of Ireland (OHNI) is pleased to announce its 2019 conference on the theme of “Oral History in a Digital World.” Collecting oral history in digital formats and putting recordings online is increasingly becoming standard practice for oral historians. As such, this conference offers a timely opportunity to consider the possibilities and challenges offered by technological advances and wider accessibility to collections through online platforms. This two-day conference will take place at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, on Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, 2019.

Continuing OHNI’s tradition of inviting keynote speakers of international renown, we are delighted to welcome to this year’s conference Doug Boyd, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at University of Kentucky, past president of the Oral History Association, and manager of Oral History in the Digital Age. Doug is a key innovator in the archiving and dissemination of oral history and leads the team that developed the free, open-source OHMS system which synchronises text with audio and video online. He is the co-editor (with Mary A. Larson) of the book Oral History and Digital Humanities: Voice, Access, and Engagement, published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2014.

Conference contributions are welcome in a range of formats:

  • Standard conference papers (20 minutes)
  • 10-minute presentations for our “Moments” panels, focusing on outstanding or memorable individuals, experiences, and/or incidents that influenced or changed the way the presenter practices oral history
  • Posters and visual presentations

While we welcome proposals on any topic related to oral history, we are particularly interested in proposals that take an imaginative approach to the “Oral History in a Digital World” conference theme. Potential topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • Collecting, archiving, and disseminating digital oral histories
  • Technological possibilities and challenges
  • Methods and techniques
  • From tapes and CDs to digital formats
  • Increasing access and engagement with digital tools
  • Digital oral history in the classroom
  • Social media and oral history
  • Ethical and legal issues of online oral histories
  • Re-using online oral history collections
  • Innovative online projects

To propose a paper, please submit an abstract (of no more than 250 words) along with your name; the name of your group, organisation, or institution; and your email address to info@oralhistorynetworkireland.ie before 5 p.m. Friday, February 22, 2019. All proposals must demonstrate a clear engagement with oral history and/or personal testimony, and we actively encourage the use of audio clips. The conference committee’s decision on successful abstracts will be communicated to potential presenters in March.

Registration for the conference and further information will shortly be posted on the conference page of our website: https://www.oralhistorynetworkireland.ie/conferences/2019-conference/


‘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

Publications

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

http://www.the-modernist.org/shop/the-modernist-magazine-issue-27-high

http://modernist-society.org/events/2018/7/12/magazine-launch-issue-27-high

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