South Yorkshire 2016


South Yorkshire hosted the 2016 Regional Network meeting at the Showroom Workstation, Sheffield, on the theme of ‘Oral History and Museums’. The morning session, for professional development, will be led by networkers Martin Bisiker (London), John Tanner (South Yorkshire), Cynthia Brown (East Midlands) and Padmini Broomfield (South East). The afternoon session is open to local members and speakers include Elizabeth Carnegie, University of Sheffield, and Tracy Craggs, Freelance Oral Historian and Yorkshire networker.

Our project news includes Barnsley Museums award of £51,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a ‘Joy of Sound and Vision’ project. Paul Stebbing, Archives and Local Studies Officer, reports that this will include conversion and making available of all sound and film collections held in the museum as well as the creation of new material. A highlight is the large series of oral history interviews undertaken by local oral historian Brian Elliott over a 30 year period. Covering themes such as sport, politics, industry and leisure, the interviews will significantly add to understandings of the development of South Yorkshire.

Gary Rivett has sent news from the University of Sheffield about ‘Stories of Activism in Sheffield, 1960-present’. The city’s rich history of civic and social activism is diverse, with a near countless number of campaigns and community groups. The project, a collaboration between activists and the Department of History at the university, collects and archives the oral histories that have made up these experiences. The next collaboration will be with Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures, focusing on the pit camp at Houghton Main, a colliery near Barnsley, in 1993.’

Also at the University of Sheffield, Mariam Khokhar is carrying out oral history interviews with Pakistani women in Leicester and has additionally begun doctoral study on personal experiences of head and neck cancer in Pakistan.

A joint project between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, funded by Sheffield Hospitals Charity, has been piloting oral history and life story methods with people with dementia. The project has conducted several interviews and is concentrating on understanding how best to work with interviewees to develop an ethically robust project. A partner project working with people in palliative care has had another successful year but is currently facing an uncertain future due to funding issues. Please contact Michelle Winslow for more information:

The Heritage Lottery funded  ‘Ecclesfield Civil Parish Past and Present Archiving Project’ is progressing well. Christine Handley writes that volunteers have completed six interviews so far and have more to conduct in autumn. Group interviews have been found to work well in gaining a sense of how the local area has changed, ascertaining locations of old shops, pubs, farms, chapels etc. who owned them, cost of goods and anecdotes about living there. During this work lessons have been learnt about interviewing, interview content, recording and transcribing that have provided a solid foundation for the project. A booklet is planned as an output.

Michelle Winslow, Sam Smith. Regional Networker Representatives