East Midlands Oral History Archive


Oral history is enormously versatile so don't let your tapes get dusty in a box. Take them back to community where you found them and beyond. Dig Where You Stand, a book of ideas produced by the Living Archive, lists the following as possible ways of using oral history: murals, books, dance, radio, town trails, re-enactment, festivals, exhibitions, video, plays, tape/slide, environmental theatre, music and song, sculpture, appliqué wall hanging, theatre in education.

Here are a few more ideas about how to do it:


Either at the end or the start of a project. One idea is to advertise beforehand, set up a computer with a scanner and make copies of people's photos at the exhibition. This avoids the problems of lost photos, creates a lot of interest among visitors, and is a good way of making contacts for further interviewing. How about asking visitors to fill in a questionnaire about the area you're looking at e.g. favourite building or memory, hopes for the future etc.


Not only useful for exhibitions, but in conjunction with some interviews they might make a neighbourhood album. Check with a printer about the cost of this though. Some groups are now putting photos on CD-Rom or the Internet as well.

Community drama

Whether it's a play or songs, oral history interviews make an excellent starting point for researching something dramatic. You may have a local writer or dramatist with experience of this, or you could hire one in.


Publish a local trail in the form of a map illustrated with memories and photos. This could be on paper, in an audio form on tape or CD, or on the Internet.


Why not involve your local school? This could be an ideal opportunity for older and younger generations to come together and exchange experiences.

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