Conference 2019, Swansea University


2019 Annual Conference of the OHS in association with Llafur and Britain at Work, hosted and supported by Swansea University

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Venue: Swansea University, Singleton Campus. 

Date: Friday 5th and Saturday 6th July 2019

Many aspects of working lives and the experience of work have changed within a generation. In the UK, areas and communities defined by work in single industries, mining, textiles and shipbuilding, have been transformed through closures and the export of work overseas. In the workplace, the balance of power has shifted as employers have responded to workers’ organisation in different ways. Casualisation, part-time and temporary contracts have spread into new areas of work and employment changing the experience of work over lifetimes. Meanwhile, issues of gender, race and migration continue to divide and determine opportunities and inequalities in work and beyond. Oral history provides a way to record and interpret change in what is a central activity in people’s lives. The conference will explore the use of oral history to record and interpret change in working lives and the ways in which what is recorded is shared and disseminated. In particular, the conference welcomes contributions which use oral history to document and understand:

  • The profound change in working lives over the last sixty years
  • How gender, race, class, affected occupational health and workplace solidarity
  • The effects of changing conditions of employment on working lives
  • The impacts of changing technologies on the nature of work
  • The interface between history, memory and identity as manifested in working lives
  • The rewards and dangers of work
  • Privatisation
  • How new industries have affected occupational health and workplace solidarity
  • The role of trade unions and experiences of industrial action
  • The changing culture of work and workplaces
  • Communities and work
  • Worklessness and unemployment
  • Work and migration
  • Work and the environment
  • Unpaid work
  • The role of community projects, archives, museums and other heritage organisations in representing work and industrial history.

There will be a Welsh medium strand to the conference for contributions in the Welsh language. Simultaneous translation will be available for non-Welsh speakers.

Keynote Speakers

  • Arthur McIvor, Professor of Social History and Director of the Scottish Oral History Centre at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland
  • Tom Hansell, documentary film maker and installation artist, Appallachian State University
  • Beth Thomas, former Keeper of History & Archaeology at Amgueddfa Cymru and content lead for the redevelopment of St Fagans National Museum of History