Over 250 delegates (70 of them online) attended the Oral History Society's annual international conference on July 8 and 9, hosted by London Metropolitan University and organised by CLiOH, in partnership with the Oral History Society.
Its theme was ‘Home’. An impressive and diverse range of speakers, in three keynote presentations, two webinars and five parallel streams, illustrated many varieties of home (care homes, asylums, communes, refuges, workplaces), as well as different ways of thinking about it — from bricks and mortar to a set of social relations and a kind of feeling. ‘Home’ was discussed in relationship the impact of war, policy change, migration, climate change, and homelessness. It was understood in relation to a range of concepts and ideas, particularly those of identity and belonging and finally reflected on as a site for conducting oral history interviews.
The conference exhibitions included photographs and artifacts from Dr Alya Khan’s project and a project based on the oral histories of women lace maker designers who worked from home in Nottingham.
In addition to CLiOH’s involvement in the conference organising group and chairing a number of sessions, London Met Staff and Students from three schools of the University presented papers, including Professor Jenny Harding, Professor Louise Ryan and Professor Svetlana Stephenson. In addition, a project group of London Met staff and students led by Dr Alya Khan attended as delegates: Rejeena Khatri, Nancy Bueffler, Olufunke Aderinola, Theodora Ohemeng-Mensah, Nimao Arshe, Olasumbo Kehinde, Kevin Brazant, Azar Sheibani, Masuma Ahmed-Ali, Dr Mabel Encinas, Janet Douglas Gardner and Harleena Jagde.
Participants and contributors were enthusiastic about the conference:
- “What a rich array of papers - really stimulating!” remarked one.
- “So many interesting talks and interactions, I didn't want it to end!” said another.
- The papers, added another delegate, “showed what oral history can do for us all”.
The presentations, which ranged from the Holocaust to the Windrush, engaged delegates on many levels. As one of them put it, “I learnt a lot from attending the conference and was also very moved by most of the speakers”.
CLiOH and the Oral History Society are grateful to the university for its invaluable technical support and generous funding.
Image: Staff and students panel at the conference
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