Oral history spring school

Course date(s): 
16 Apr 2015 to 18 Apr 2015


NB, The Spring School is fully booked; any further applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

The Institute for Historical Research and the Oral History Society will be staging the fourth Oral History Spring School between 16 and 18 April 2015 at Senate House, London WC1E 7HU. Past students at previous Spring Schools have contributed to the development of the programme with comments and suggestions and their enthusiasm for the three day event is evident in feedback:


‘Thank you so much. I learned a lot and enjoyed the atmosphere’


‘ I would definitely recommend it to others’


‘There was an enormous amount of fascinating discussion. I was particularly pleased to get a basic grounding in the theoretical developments and turns in oral history’.


‘There is a general lack of training related to using oral history in an academic context. This course was a very welcome development’.



Course details


The Oral History Spring School covers the theory and practice of oral history in depth, with the help of leading UK oral historians. To be able to take advantage of the course students should have some prior experience in recording and writing oral history and will be asked to complete readings in advance, available through a dedicated online website.


Through lectures and discussion and practical examples from oral history research the three day course will:


·       Consider the emergence and development of oral history, and the links between theory and practice when considering memory of the past

·       Compare different approaches which oral historians have used to understand and analyse their interviews

·       Reflect on emotion as a part of oral history and the inter-subjective relationship of the interview when reflection on past experience may lead to displays of emotion

·       Review the rewards gained from returning to archived oral history data as well as the challenges which re-use generated

·       Provide an opportunity to explore challenges and questions posed by individual research interests through group discussion

·       Discuss the use of oral history in a range of contexts from academic monographs to museum exhibitions and community projects


The three day course will also include a visit to the Museum of London where students will have an opportunity to view and discuss oral history in a museum setting with a member of the curatorial staff.


Tutors on the 2015 course will include:

Professor Joanna Bornat (The Open University)

Professor Jenny Harding (London Metropolitan University)

Dr Joel Morley (QMUL/Birmingham University)

Professor Paul Thompson (University of Essex)

Dr Shelley Trower (University of Roehampton).





  • 9.30 Arrive, sign in, put up individual research posters
  • 10.00 Oral history worldwide (PT)
  • 11.15 Coffee
  • 11.30 Oral history worldwide (PT)
  • 12.30 Lunch
  • 1.45 Representativeness and generalisability (JM)
  • 2.45 Tea break
  • 3.00 Analysing the data: drawing out evidence (JB)
  • 4.00 Oral history surgery: your challenges? (JM+ST discuss posters and comments)


  • 10.00 Emotion (JH)
  • 11.00 Coffee break
  • 11.15 Emotion (JH)
  • 12.30 Lunch
  • 1.45 Re-use: issues from the secondary analysis of archived interviews (JB)
  • 2.45 Tea break
  • 3.00 Ethics (ALL)
  • 4.00 Open discussion (feedback session)


  • 10.00 Outcomes and impacts (JM + ST)
  • 11.00 Coffee break
  • 11.15 Outcomes and impacts (JM + ST)
  • 12.30 Lunch (and travel to Museum of London)
  • 1.45 Oral history in museums: the Museum of London (Presentation by MoL staff)

The spring school is organised by the Institute of Historical Research and is open to all who are interested in using oral history. Numbers are strictly limited and early application is recommended.