The first large-scale archive of oral history recordings in the East Midlands is now up and running.
The East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) project, based at the University of Leicester Centre for Urban History, offers opportunities for community involvement, and provides a valuable academic resource.
The Archive is a three year Lottery-funded project, in partnership with Leicester City Museums and Library Services, and the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.
Linking into regional strategies for cultural development and regeneration, the project will raise awareness of the region's history and heritage, as well as the competing interests that affect economic development.
Since the 1980s, a number of oral history projects have been set up in Leicester and areas of Leicestershire at different times. A census of existing material, carried out as part of the bidding process for this project, identified around 1300 tapes held by organisations or individuals. However, these have never been held in one central repository, and some are stored in conditions that are far from ideal.
This new archive will collect, enhance and catalogue existing material. It will be accessible on a website, and on edited CD-ROMS and cassettes - both for educational purposes and general interest.
Wide use of the archive will be encouraged through recordings in libraries and museums, as well as a series of talks, events and other activities. It will also be available in the Record Office itself.
Once this phase of the project is under way, the East Midlands Oral History Archive aims to gather new oral history recordings through a targeted programme of interviewing, and by providing advice, training and support for community groups, students and others who are interested in developing their own projects.
Cynthia Brown, Project Manager, said: In the longer term, we hope that the archive will also play a significant role in the academic programme of the University of Leicester, contributing to a range of courses from certificate through to post-graduate study, and benefiting in turn from the deposit of additional material created in this way.
As the name suggests, the project is intended to have a dimension beyond Leicestershire and Rutland itself. We plan to achieve this in part by setting high standards in the collection and use of oral history materials, and acting as a model for further collaborative oral history projects in the East Midlands.
She concluded: From the initial idea through to the final release of the funding, the process of setting up the EMOHA has been a lengthy one but we believe it will be well worth the wait. This is a very exciting project, with enormous potential for community involvement, as well as providing a valuable academic resource.
To find out more about the project and how you might become involved, please contact Cynthia Brown, Project Manager, East Midlands Oral History Archive, Urban History Centre, University of Leicester, telephone 0116 252 5063, facsimile 0116 252 5062, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also see more from the website, http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/
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