Applications are invited for a PhD studentship at University College London on the history of UK space science and technology. The student would be based at the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at UCL, and would start in September 2019. Supervisors are: Jon Agar (STS, UCL), Doug Millard (Science Museum) and Lucie Green (Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL).
The opportunity is to research a new history of UK space science, one that will i) link and deepen understanding of two major collections of the material culture of space science, specifically objects in the collections of the Science Museum Group and Mullard Space Science Laboratory; ii) capture fast-disappearing oral history of British space science; iii) by linking the personal to the material, explore a social and cultural history of a research school of extraordinary technological reach and scientific exploration; iv) be completed in time to inform and shape major ongoing plans for the planned new space gallery at the Science Museum. Methodologically, the project entails training and application in archival, object collection and oral history approaches.
Applicants are generally expected to hold a minimum of a 2.i degree at undergraduate level in an appropriate subject, plus a recognised postgraduate programme of research training (ie MSc) or substantial equivalent experience in a relevant specialist area.
The (typically three-year full-time) studentship is part of the Collaborative Doctoral Programme, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through a consortium including the Science Museum Group. The full-time stipend for 2019/20 is £17,559.
More information about the Department of Science and Technology Studies can be found here: www.ucl.ac.uk/sts
Applicants should send: i) a CV and ii) a statement of interest (maximum 2 pages) to Professor Jon Agar (email@example.com) by 8 July 2019
Interview for the studentship will take place on 15 July 2019
Informal inquiries are welcome. Please contact Jon Agar if you have further questions.
Post Location: London
Post Duration: 36 months
Post Hours: full-time per week
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Dr G. Mazzei
Grace Note Publications
‘Grange of Locherlour’
Crieff, PH7 4JS
Photographs by Gonzalo Mazzei, used with permission.
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 email@example.com 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/
“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.
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
Morecambe Bay Partnership
Castle Mills, Aynam Rd
Kendal LA9 7DE
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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.
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: email@example.com
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/
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/