Date and Time
4th Nov 2016 09:30 –– 4th Nov 2016 16:30
University of Strathclyde

This advanced full day training workshop aims at developing PhD students understanding of oral history as a qualitative research methodology. It alerts students to the possibilities of using oral history interviewing as a valuable means of understanding the past. We examine the advantages and disadvantages of oral historical practice through critical evaluation of four key aspects: memory; ethics; subjectivity and inter-subjectivity; and the interpretation and analysis of oral interview material. Students should emerge with a deeper sense of the potential of such methods and a more critical awareness of ethical issues in oral interviewing and the theory associated with memory, subjectivity, self and narrative analysis. Whilst of particular interest to economic and social history students, the workshop may also appeal to students of other disciplines where interviewing methodologies are deployed.

This is an advanced level oral history workshop, not introductory practical training. This workshop will NOT deal with the practical aspects of project planning, questionnaires, interview planning, interview practice or conduct, or transcription / summarizing, or the technical aspects of recording, transferring and audio editing. Students may have already undertaken interviews and very useful would be some prior reading on oral history. For preparation, especially recommended are the following texts:

Lynn Abrams, Oral History Theory (London: Routledge, 2010).

Paul Thompson, The Voice of the Past: Oral History (third edition) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 


9.30 – 10.15 Introduction: What is Oral History? This session examines the emergence of the field of oral history, its early practitioners and some of the contributions it has made to our understanding of the past.


10.30 – 11.45 Understanding Memory In this session we will consider the reliability of memory, what shapes memory and explore the terms ‘popular’ and ‘collective’ memory.

11.45 – 12.15 Ethics This session provides an outline of ethical and legal issues in relation to oral history.

Lunch break (please note: no lunch catering is provided)

1.15 – 2.30 Subjectivity & Inter-subjectivity This session will provide an overview of this key concept in oral history with illustrative examples.


2.45 – 4.00 Evidence and Analysis This session covers the interpretation of oral history interviews. What evidence can be gleaned from interviews? How do you go about analysing an oral history interview? Reference will be made to specific examples.

4.00 – 4.30 Review and discussion

Further information 

Attendees from outwith the Central Belt (eg Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, islands) may receive financial support for accommodation costs, for up to £60 for one night. If you wish to receive this support, please mention this on your application form. 

The organiser of this event is Arthur McIvor and further questions can be directed to him at


To register for this event please go to the eventbrite page for the event: 

Last updated 16 Sep 2016 11:47am