No history is more direct and more personal than oral history. Whereas documents can give us empirical information, facts and statistics; oral history allows us to know how people felt about the events that shaped their lives. This is history at its most subjective. Rather like a witness at a trail, the interviewee gives their interpretation, their account; it is up to us as juror or judge to decide what we believe – the more accounts we hear, the more likely we are to come to a sound conclusion.
We are working with our partner schools to facilitate interviews between school pupils and their older relatives or neighbours. Before the arrival of coronavirus, we had planned for these to be face-to-face interviews, accompanied by teachers and project workers. We still hope that this can happen later this year or next year. While the current health crisis continues, we will be working with our school partners to see how interviews can be safely conducted by digital means.