Designing and planning your oral history project (online course) – Fully booked – Waiting list only

Course Structure

This online training course is delivered over Zoom video call. Each course is run over two consecutive morning sessions, 9.30am – 1.15pm, with half hour breaks mid-morning. The programme for the course is as follows (please note this is a sample structure and may differ on the day).

Please note:

  • There will be no refunds for cancelled places.
  • Due to high demand and in order to ensure that each course has attendees with a variety of interests and backgrounds, only one person from any one institution may attend each course.
  • There are two methods of payment. You can pay online via PayPal, debit or credit card or you can make an offline payment where an invoice will be sent to your organisation. Please select the appropriate option in the booking form.

Hourly Schedule

First day

9.30 - 10.00
Welcome and Introductions
• Why are you here? What is the point of project management? • Understanding your oral history project • Aims and objectives: who is your audience? • Research/background: finding other sources, avoiding duplication • Scope and scale • What else might you like to collect at the same time • Preparing for archiving • Project outputs
9.45 - 11.00
Project rationale and focus
Understanding memory
11.00 - 11.30
11.30 - 12.45
• Staffing: paid staff, volunteers and how to support them, training • Project partners: different roles, archive arrangements • Governance: management and advisory committees • Interviewees: finding them, selecting them, sharing project information • Handing over to your Project Manager • Working with your institution
12.45 - 13.15
Evaluation of the day and Q&A

Day 2

9.30 - 11.00
Risk assessment
• What are the risks that oral history projects face and how can they be mitigated? Practical group work and discussion
11.00 - 11.30
11.30 - 12.15
Technical requirements
• Recording equipment • File sharing workflow • Data storage and back-up • Documentation workflow • Audio editing and outputs
12.15 - 13.00
• Budget planning: practical session • Evaluation and targets • Sharing your ideas on funding sources
13.00 - 13.15
Evaluation of the day and Q&A
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24 - 25 Nov 2021


9:30 am - 1:15 pm


Zoom call Time zone: London, United Kingdom GB


Camille Johnston

Oral History Training Administrator


  • Rib Davis
    Rib Davis

    The tutor, Rib Davis, is an OHS/NLS-BL accredited trainer and over the past thirty years has been interviewer/writer/director for many oral history-based plays and radio drama productions. This course is organised jointly by National Life Stories at the British Library and the Oral History Society.

  • Rob Perks
    Rob Perks
    BL/OHS Trainer; OHS Secretary; Lead Curator Oral History British Library

    I first discovered oral history when I was studying for a doctorate in political history, since when I helped establish the Bradford Heritage Recording Project in the early 1980s, working as a museum curator, before a period in television. Since 1988 I have been Lead Curator of Oral History at the British Library, and Director of National Life Stories since 1996, heading a team of interviewers, archivists and transcribers involved in oral history collecting and fieldwork in a variety of sectors: from arts and crafts to business and finance, from the utilities to science, from architecture to publishing. I’ve been Secretary of the Oral History Society and an editor of Oral History Journal since the later 1980s. I’ve acted as an advisor to a range of oral history organisations around the world, including the National Lottery Heritage Fund (HLF) and BBC Radio in the UK, and projects in Canada, Greece, India, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, China and Ireland. In 2007 I was awarded an honorary DLitt by the University of Huddersfield. My publications include The Oral History Reader (Routledge, third edition 2015, with Al Thomson). I’m currently busy with ‘Unlocking Our Sound Heritage’, an ambitious five-year £18.8m project to digitally preserve 100,000 of the nation’s most rare and vulnerable sound recordings, both at the British Library and around the UK, working with a consortium partnership network of ten regional audio preservation centres.

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