Glasgow Oral History Archives

Award Information

AHRC ref: AH/H016120/1
Discipline: History
Funding opportunity: Fellowships and Knowledge Transfer Fellowship
Areas of Impact: Communities; Health and well-being; Policy influence; Stimulating debate and shifting perceptions
Lead RO: University of Strathlyde
Region: Scotland

AHRC-funded research shed new light on Glasgow’s oral history archives.

Professor Arthur McIvor, Director of University of Strathclyde Scottish Oral History Centre (SOHC), comes from a well-established background in oral history research with particular reference to the cultural history and meaning of work in the twentieth century. In collaboration with the project research assistant Dr David Walker, Professor McIvor has brought new perspectives to curators in Glasgow Museums. 

Through completing an audit of the 300 analogue tapes in the collection, and supervising their digitisation, a greater understanding of their content was created and gaps identified. 21 new interviews were recorded and 212 timecoded, searchable summaries were created increasing the usability of the archive. These have now been accessed by researchers around the globe to inform PhD theses, community research and background research for a novel.

Professor McIvor and Dr Walker supported the development of training for museum curators in oral history interviewing techniques increasing the scope for growth of the collections and initiating a deeper understanding of the material. The project has led to a closer working relationship between the Scottish Oral History Centre and Glasgow Museums, as well as a new Models of University-School Engagement oral history project run by the SOHC at Springburn Academy, Glasgow, which has helped to develop research and oral interviewing skills amongst school pupils.

The project also led to the creation of an innovative work placement in oral history programme. This is the first of its kind accredited BA History class and places University of Strathclyde undergraduate students in Glasgow Museums and other archives and museums in West-Central Scotland to assist curators and undertake new oral history work. The collaborative experience has also fed into a successful application for funding a postgraduate studentship with the Imperial War Museum.

Gateway to Research Project Links: The voice in the museum: Personal oral narratives and social identities in public history (with particular reference to work and workplace cultures), Jan 2010-Dec 2011