Creation, Destruction, Memory: Oral History and Regeneration

Oral History Society Annual Conference: 1-2 July, 2011, University of Sunderland in association with Sunderland University and UK Regeneration

University of Sunderland

From: 1st July 2011
To: 2nd July 2011

Oral history’s contribution to ‘regeneration’ has ranged from it being used as a tool to encourage or improve community engagement and participation to inspiring pride in a local area or reaffirming or creating cultural identity. Its role, however, has so far been ill-defined and remains unexplored both in theory and in practice. This international conference will explore the various uses and role of oral history in urban and rural regeneration as well as its unrecorded and potential contribution.

Delegates will be welcomed by Professor Gary Holmes, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dean, Faculty of Education and Society, Sunderland University.

Keynote Speakers will include:

  • Roger Madelin, Joint Chief Executive, Argent Group in conversation with Alan Dein. As property developers, Argent have a strong track record in major developments and city centre regeneration including Kings’ Cross, Piccadilly in Manchester, Brindley Place in Birmingham and major commercial developments in the City of London. Alan Dein is a freelance BBC Radio documentary feature presenter, oral historian and interviewer. In particular, he was the oral historian at King’s Cross Voices.
  • Professor Fred Robinson, Professorial Fellow at St Chad’s College, Durham University and Visiting Professor at Northumbria and Teeside Universities. He is an expert on economic and social development and the role and impacts of public policy and has conducted evaluations of a wide range of regeneration initiatives
  • Amber Films, renowned in the North East; one of their groundbreaking pieces known as ‘Byker’ draws on Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s images and interviews, on documentary footage and dramatisation, evoking an entire era in British working class life. It is an intimate portrait of a community faced with redevelopment

Key themes:

Oral history to inform regeneration: The contribution of oral history to the process of physical/community and rural/urban regeneration; the use of oral history by planners/architects; the roles of and relationship between consultation and oral history; the role of the oral historian in the process.
Oral history as part of regeneration: As a mechanism to inform and create the future and preserve and create the past; as a mechanism to enable or ensure sustainability; regeneration through reclaiming and reinterpretation; reclaiming or creating cultural change; and enabling understanding between cultures and generations.
Oral history to reflect and evaluate regeneration: As a means of reflecting upon the lives and voices of the displaced, those who have been “regenerated”, as well as those working in regeneration; assessing gains and losses and perceived successes and failures; critiquing regeneration by listening to those whose communities have been “regenerated” ; as the critical voice of regeneration as well as the nostalgic voice of the past
Oral history and regeneration: Linking the past, present, and future; continuity and discontinuity; talking about the future.