Hopes and Concerns, Chelsey CainPosted: November 4, 2013
Planning my interview has proven to be increasingly stressful and prompted more concerns that I expected originally. So far the largest difficulty I had had to overcome has been finding an interviewee. Because I recently moved to the UK from the United States, I have virtually no relationships with any adults in the area. Luckily, I have received a very promising lead from Dr. Matthew Smith at the Egham Museum and have a number of back-up options should that fall through.
My main concern is that my questions and the topics which I wish to explore may be seen as too probing or personal. The woman I will likely interview was a child during WWII and her mother worked at a local ammunitions factory; I am interested in discussing gender during and after the war but I don’t want to step on any toes in doing so. Also, I am interested in expressions of sexuality but do not know how to approach that topic in a delicate way. I am hoping to gain more insight into this issue through the readings.
My second concern is related to my own abilities as an interviewer. In an undergraduate class, I was assigned an oral life history as a final project. We were encouraged to interview members of our own family (simply for ease of access). I found myself unwilling to ask probing questions and struggled to stick with a definite them. Hopefully, however, this can be attributed to a lack of training and preparation and also my relationship with the interviewee (my grandmother).
In terms of hopes for my interview, I would like to gain a greater insight into England during the Second World War. Most of my knowledge on the topic is US centric so I am excited to see the topic in a new context. I also hope that my interview will make the experience of war, especially one on such a large scale, seem more human to me instead of historical and academic; I hope that I am able to illustrate the importance of her experience, her story, and her voice.
On a much more personal level, I hope that this interview gives me a deeper connection with Egham and England in general. Though a full-time student here, I still feel transient, like a perpetual tourist, and I trust that learning more about this community will change that.