People often tell us how marvellous it would be if they could record their parents’ life stories, or the stories of someone else they know, before they pass away. In response to these comments we run a two day Family Oral History workshop for groups of up to eight people. On the first day the group learn more about oral history and how to use the recorders. On the second day the group learn the best ways to preserve these memories and share ideas on what to do with their recordings. There is plenty of time to practice interviewing and to ask questions. Some participants know exactly who and why they want to interview; others come because they would like to have the skills to make an oral history at some point in the future.
Course participants have told Barbara that interviewing their relatives created special time for them to sit down together. This was the first time they had really listened to them talk at length about their lives and ask them questions. This strengthened the bond between them and they could begin to really understand how these relatives thought and why they had led the lives they did. As well as allowing them to create a family legacy for children and grandchildren it had the unexpected bonus of giving them a greater sense of who they were.