Introduction to Oral History

This self-contained day course, organised jointly by the National Life Stories at the British Library and the Oral History Society, aims to be an informal and practical introduction to oral history interviewing with an opportunity to handle recording equipment and discuss some of the issues around oral history, life stories and memory. Places are limited to twelve per day course and demand exceeds available places, so please apply early. No previous experience of oral history is required. Each course is led by one of the OHS/BL-accredited trainers.

Course Structure

The programme for each one-day course is as follows (please note this is a sample structure and may differ on the day):

  • 10.00-10.15 Welcome and introductions
  • 10.15-11.15 What is oral history?: understanding memory
  • 11.15-11.30 Coffee (provided)
  • 11.30-1.00 Getting started: aims and objectives, who to interview, question approaches
  • 1.00-2.00 Lunch (not provided)
  • 2.00-2.30 An introduction to recording equipment
  • 2.30-3.30 The interview: do’s and dont’s
  • 3.30-3.45 Tea (provided)
  • 3.45-4.30 Practical work: interviewing
  • 4.30-5.00 Evaluation of practical work
  • 5.00-5.30 After the interview: summarising, transcription, copyright, archiving

** Manchester course only **
Over lunch the North West Hub Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project team will host a drop-in session introducing the project’s work digitising and cataloguing oral histories on tape. For more information about this UK-wide project see:

Course prices

Full attendance fee: £125.00
OHS member fee: £95.00

Full attendance fee: £130.00
OHS member fee: £98.00

How to Book

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, a maximum of two people from any one institution may attend each course.

The following OHS training dates are available:

Dates and timesLocationAvailabilityBooking
(10:00 am - 5:30 pm)
British Library
96 Euston Road, London
(Fully Booked)
(10:00 am - 5:30 pm)
British Library
96 Euston Road, London
Places AvailableBook Now
(10:00 am - 5:30 pm)
Black Country Living Museum
Tipton Rd, Dudley
Places AvailableBook Now

If there are currently no dates found for courses please contact the training administrator if you would like to be notified of any future dates.

Question about training opportunities with the OHS?

For all questions relating to training (including further clarification of course content and reduced rate eligibility) please contact our training administrator.

Have you made an OHS training booking recently and not received a response?

We apologise if this has happened to you, we’ve had a glitch in the online system and may have missed some bookings. Please contact us if you’ve experienced a problem or not received a booking confirmation email within five working days: Michelle Winslow, Oral History Society Website Coordinator: