Centre for Visual and Oral History Research
Children, war and oral history
Interviewee shows a fragment of a bomb which destroyed his house near Paris in 1942. (Dodd, 2009)
Lindsey Dodd’s ongoing research uses oral history to explore the experiences of children in war, specifically French children during the Occupation era (1940-1944). Lindsey took an MA in Life History Research: Oral History and Mass Observation at the University of Sussex where her dissertation focused on working-class grammar school girls in the 1950s. Her doctoral research involved interviewing nearly 40 French people who had been children under the Allied bombs between 1940 and 1944: the Allies dropped a fifth of their European bombs on France and nearly 60,000 French civilians were killed, but the experience remains something of a ‘black hole’ in French collective memory of the Second World War. This research will be published as French children under the Allied bombs, 1940-1945: an oral history in 2016 by Manchester University Press.
She is particularly interested in the child’s voice in memories of childhood, the clash between personal and collective memory, oral history and trauma, and all experiences of war as reflected back through retrospective oral narratives.
Lindsey is a Lecturer in Modern European History in the School of Music Humanities and Media here at Huddersfield. She is a member of the editorial team of Oral History and contributes to the Hull-Huddersfield early-career oral history reading group. Some of her publications which focus specifically on oral history include ‘It did not traumatise me at all’: childhood ‘trauma’ in French oral narratives of wartime bombing’, Oral History, 42.2 (2013), 37-48 and ‘Small fish, big pond: using a single oral narrative to reveal broader social change’, in J. Tumblety (ed.), Memory and History: Understanding Memory as Source and Subject (Routledge, 2013).
Asian Voices resulted from a £50,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant awarded in 2008 for the University of Huddersfield to document the experiences of first generation South Asian settlers through a groundbreaking oral history project. West Yorkshire has the highest concentration of South Asian origin residents outside London with particularly large communities in Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale. Many of the first settlers migrated over fifty years ago and their experience are largely overlooked in conventional historical records.
The Asian Voices project aimed to record oral testimonies of first generation settlers from South Asian communities across Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale in order to preserve their memories for current and future generations. The project consists of a collection of interviews which focus on two main themes: ‘migration and settlement’, and give an insight into issues such as work, worship and leisure. The research offers a window into the experience of settling into Britain and adjusting to life in a foreign environment and celebrates the role first generation South Asian settlers have played in helping to shape multi-cultural Britain.
‘Up and Under’ Rugby League oral history project
The ‘Up and Under’ rugby league oral history project was funded by an £85,000 grant from the University of Huddersfield. It aimed to record memories of fans, players, coaches, administrators and officials of the game in order to create an irreplaceable record of Rugby League’s past and also offer a window into a vital part of the social and cultural history of West Yorkshire. By then disseminating oral reminiscences from the Rugby League community in West Yorkshire to the wider public the project also looked to preserve, celebrate and broaden recognition of the sport's rich social and cultural history in the region.
Two Minutes Silence
The Two Minute Silence project received a £10,000 grant from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) to trace the evolution and continuing relevance of the Remembrance Day silence, which marked its 90th anniversary in November 2009.
Through the personal experience and testimony of people, young and old, and from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, it aimed to explore the continuing significance of the silence as a way of reflecting on global conflict and the value of peace.
The project resulted in a publicly-accessible archive of original recorded material, a series of personally crafted two-minute reflections for its website, as well as for the University of Huddersfield Archives website, and the MLA Yorkshire's My Learning website.
Greenhead Stories is a collaborative oral history project which not only aims to record memories of Greenhead Park across wide the range of communities who use it, but also to inform the broader public of the park by sharing and exchanging our collective memory of the site.
As it undergoes a major multi-million pound redevelopment, the project seeks to document the many diverse memories of how people have gathered in this grand public space over course of its history. Working with the Friends of Greenhead Park and other groups which hold festivals and events on the grounds, the project also fosters memory exchanges among the vast array of people who have visited the park over the years.
Memories of Yorkshire Television
Over the years thousands of people have worked for Yorkshire Television in Leeds and many still remember the new TV station going on air on July 29 1968. This web site exists to record some of their memories of those early pioneering days.
The project is the work of Television Lecturer Steve Burnip from Huddersfield University, who worked for YTV from 1988 to 2005. Fifteen interviews have been recorded so far, 14 of them with people who were at YTV on the first day of transmission in 1968.
Extracts from their interviews can be listened to on this site, chosen for the variety of experiences they cover, and anyone who wishes to listen to the complete interviews can do so by contacting Steve Burnip. This is an ongoing project and it’s hoped to keep adding to the archive of memories.