Museum Studies at Leicester

Sounds for the Future

Colin Hyde, the manager of the Sounds for the Future project

I am Colin Hyde, the manager of the Sounds for the Future project, which has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund project and is run by the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) at the University of Leicester. The project was set up to digitise and catalogue all of EMOHA’s oral history collections. In the summer of 2023, three Museum Studies placements, Yixin Wei, Lingyun Hao and Wenxuan Zhang spent eight weeks with the Archive. Our aim was to give the students a thorough grounding in what happens at the Archive, and for them to contribute to Sounds for the Future through cataloguing and using some of our oral histories to create blogs, podcasts or web exhibitions.

I decided we would start the placement by creating catalogue summaries for oral histories from Lincolnshire. This turned out to be more difficult than I realised, as the recordings of people talking in rich Lincolnshire accents, along with handwritten notes and summaries, were tricky for non-native English speakers. 3 students and displayHowever, this process did give a useful background to the next stage of the placement, which was to investigate an aspect of the Archive and create an exhibition using the web platform Omeka.

Lingyun used Omeka to create a map showing where in the region our collections have come from. Each point on the map links to the catalogue entry for the collection and it is an excellent complement to our more usual search aids. Wenxuan looked at one specific collection that we had recently acquired, Phil Rudkin’s wildlife recordings. She created an exhibition that used an archive interview with Phil, alongside some of his recordings, to illustrate how such a collection is created. Yixin decided to look at how the Archive works and interviewed three of our staff, including me. As well as learning how to create an oral history interview - and learning why our cataloguing process is so important - the exhibition provides an excellent introduction to the work of a sound archive. I am sure I will use this, and the other exhibitions, regularly in future.

It was a busy but enjoyable summer and we were sorry to see the work placements go at the end of it. Their legacy will live on in their web exhibitions!

Links to the exhibitions:

* The life of a sound archive -
* Mapping EMOHA’s collections -
* Phil Rudkin’s wildlife collection -

Yixin Wei, Lingyun Hao and Wenxuan Zhang - MA Museum Studies


Credit: Yixin Wei, Lingyun Hao and Wenxuan Zhang presenting at a project 'Showcase'

Back to top