Press Play! Active Oral History Practice and Dissemination Workshop

Press Play! Active Oral History Practice and Dissemination Workshop.

29th October 2018. World Rugby Museum, Twickenham Stadium, London.

Press Play was a one-day workshop organised by Lisa Taylor (River and Rowing Museum, Manchester Metropolitan University) and Lydia Furse (World Rugby Museum, De Montfort University) on the practice of oral history in PhD research. With three practitioners invited to speak and a round table discussion based on participant’s questions and experiences, it was no surprise that the day became fully booked very quickly!

Fiona Cosson (Bournemouth University) started the day with the practicalities of conducting oral history interviews. With over 150 interview experiences to draw on, it was a comprehensive best practice guide, which will soon be available via the Press Play blogsite, an ongoing resource for participants and anyone who was unable to attend:

We will certainly be making sure to avoid ‘hit and run interviewing’ and think about the long term relationships built up around an interview. The interview set up check list was also a great idea, and fantastic to hear that even experienced researchers get nervous before an interview – very reassuring to hear for the participants, many of whom were first year PhD students only 1 month into their journey!

After the break, Kitrina Douglas (Leeds Beckett University) introduced the group to alternative ways of disseminating the interviews. Performing a poem crafted around the experience of recruiting an interview participant and the emotional journey an interview can cause for both participant and researcher, Kitrina presented in a non-traditional academic style, which challenged the boundaries of pre-conceived ideas about what must, should, and could be done with oral history interviews. Kitrina also shared a music video based on an oral history interview, and discussed the reaction of both the interviewee and the wider community when they heard the story presented in a song. The presentation sparked a lively debate: if you would like to get involved, you can find some of Kitrina Douglas’ work on Youtube, and soon on the Press Play blog.

During the lunch break participants had the opportunity to visit the World Rugby Museum, which was re-opened in February 2018 after a major refurbishment. The afternoon started off with a practical activity which gave everyone a short chance to practice their own interview techniques, which was very popular. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to the round table discussion, facilitated and led by Raf Nicholson, whose experience of interviewing covers both her position as a researcher and a sports journalist. The participants shared their personal experiences of interviewing and collaboratively suggested ways to overcome barriers that might occur when working with oral history. The workshop ended at the Marriot Bar with further conversations, kindly sponsored by Sporting Heritage:

Press Play was financially supported by the Student-Led Activity Fund from the AHRC, which covered travel for participants and speakers and refreshments. Lisa and Lydia would like to formally thank the committee for allocating the funds to support this workshop and personally thank Sarah McEvoy for all the work she does behind the scenes to help these events be as successful as they can be.



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