25 November 2015
Venue: British Library
Oral history constitutes one of the core research methodologies of the contemporary political historian.
From interviews with former Cabinet ministers and high-ranking officials to the recorded testimonies of grassroots activists and ordinary citizens, oral history can enrich and complicate narratives of change and continuity about government and politics in the recent past. It also poses considerable intellectual, ethical and practical challenges both to researchers conducting their own oral history projects and those utilising the archived oral sources collected by others.
The event was part of a wider programme of activity on the theme of Rethinking Contemporary British Political History, which is funded by a British Academy’s Rising Star Engagement Award held by Dr Helen McCarthy at Queen Mary University of London.
For information about the British Library’s extensive oral history collections visit http://www.bl.uk.oralhistory Over 3,000 interviews can be accessed in full at http://sounds.bl.uk/oral-history
Dr Anna Bryson (Queen’s University Belfast): Oral History in the Shadow of Conflict: Ethics, Risk and Trust
Activism and Community
Dr Natalie Thomlinson (University of Wolverhampton): Women’s Liberation and the Politics of Race
Daisy Payling (University of Birmingham): Social activism, local government and the Left in Sheffield, 1970-1990
Government and Policy
Dr Catherine Haddon (Institute for Government): The Contemporary History of Whitehall
Dr Thomas Lean (British Library): Privatisation and the Politics of Power: Oral History and the Privatisation of the Electricity Supply Industry in Thatcher's Britain
Parliament and Constituency
Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto (History of Parliament Trust): The History of Parliament Oral History Project
Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Kayleigh Milden (History of Parliament Trust): ‘From the Grassroots’: Oral History and Party Politics in Devon
Collecting, Archiving and Re-use
Informal discussion led by Mary Stewart (British Library) followed by final reflections led by Rob Perks and Helen McCarthy