MINDING HISTORIES - ORAL HISTORY

It is widely accepted that written historical records often reflect the interests and viewpoints of established authorities, those who have privilege and power. Governments, academics and the media have a public voice and status that means what they say about historical events is easily heard and readily accepted. Oral history practice challenges this. By recording the memories of those who directly experienced the past, it creates a space in the historical record for ordinary people, whose voices might otherwise remain unheard.

Oral history methods were central to our research. Immigration is often talked about in negative terms and those who have migrated to the UK can be marginalised and unheard. An oral history approach to our work gave some of those who have migrated and settled in Bexley an opportunity to speak for themselves.

Histories of migration become more democratic and much more useful with the addition of personal stories from those directly involved.

The project set out to preserve heritage and raise awareness amongst the wider community. We hope Minding Histories preserves the heritage of those involved and raises awareness among the wider community.