11th January 2014
The first of three oral history training sessions began last Friday with Stephen Kelly, author and broadcaster who has also worked on a range of oral history projects as a director for the Centre for Oral History Research at Huddersfield University. Stephen will deliver 3 sessions to a group of 6 second year Media Production students studying at Liverpool John Moores University.
The session delivered training in interview techniques to students prior to the commencement of the project and will hopefully add add voice to the Keith Medley archive. The first initial workshops will take place on the 22nd January at a local Age Concern centre in Liverpool.
We’ve also begun the process of identifying images from the collection. This will form part of a series of memory packs we will use to engage volunteers as they rekindle memories of day trips to the local seaside.
Although a cataloguing system exists I’m surprised and and a little concerned at the extent of damage the collection has endured prior to donation to the University. However there are some nice photographs from the period. Although several of the more significant slides, including the Beatles and Stones, have sadly disappeared the process of searching through the archive has become quite cathartic.
On the back of a recent visit to Age Concern we now have 10 contributors signed up to the project. The initial session went very well. Allowing us to introduce the project as well as providing opportunities for students to apply in practice the skills introduced in the workshops.
The initial plan involved the creation of small groups of 3/4 contributors each facilitated by a student and a memory pack. However, the room assigned for the task wasn’t ideal. The absence of tables and the size of the room created problems making it particularly difficult to separate out the groups and manage the recordings.
Soundcloud sample audio file from workshop session
Another factor was the microphone limitation of the Tascam dr-05 audio recorders. With the benefit of hindsight it would be better connecting a boundary microphone to override the built-in direction microphones available with the recorders. The omnidirectional nature of these microphones are more suited for group interactions. Nevertheless there was much discussion around the theme of day trips to the seaside inspired by the contents of the memory packs.
We are now arranging follow up sessions. These will be a little more formalised and involve a series of individual interviews.
With all the interviews now secured we’ve begun the process of designing a series of templates, which will form the basis of the post card memories we eventually want to distribute to everyone concerned. Thanks to Clare Ryan at LJMU I’ve overcome my phobia of Adobe Illustrator and have finally set about selecting and preparing the images to accompany each story.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to source any images from participants as we originally intended. Therefore, we relied on sourcing images from the collection to help provide some visual context.
At the same time Chris at Hatch TV has set about weaving together elements of the archive and any additional pick-up shots we might need to cover a short representation of the interviews we’ve conducted. It’s hopped that this will be available from the web site and feature at some point in the exhibition
December 2014 and Beyond – Exhibition and Conferences
It’s been a while since my last posting which is a shame really as the intention of the blog was to capture some of the activities that have occurred following the successful launch event held for the project in November 2014 at the Museum of Liverpool. The event not only helped celebrate the completion of the project but also featured a small exhibition of images from the archive which will be on show until September 2015
Since the event we’ve been extremely fortunate to have abstracts accepted at a number of conferences. The first, ‘Recording Leisure Lives: Places and Spaces of Leisure in 20th Century Britain’ was held at the Mass Observation Archives in Brighton in March. The event was our first opportunity to present the project to a wider audience and for us to explore the work of others in the field of archive and memory. Bridget Morris and Suzanne Lilly presented a project that also utilised both archive and oral history. In this instance ‘York Remembers Rowntree’ conducted in-depth interviews and collected post card memories relating to the companies long association with the town and its workforce. The project was supported by access to a wonderful collection of images featuring works outings and social events.
I’ve also recently returned from presenting ‘Our Day Out’ with Sue Potts from ICC (the Institute of Cultural Capital) at the ‘Silver Stories Digital Storytelling International Conference’ held in Portugal.
The event hosted by the Istituto Politécnico de Leiria, brought together an interesting and varied range of projects from a number of project partners from across the UK and Europe. The issues explored over the two days covered a range of topics relating to the significance of storytelling within communities. It provided a rewarding insight on the capacity for storytelling to deliver cathartic experiences to all those involved both young and old. Topics ranged from projects exploring life stories through art based practice to those working with people suffering from dementia. Other examples explored issues surrounding asylum and compassion in the NHS.