Inception: the Oral History of an Oral Historian (hopefully!)

As of this week I might be able to interview BBC’s Alan Dein for the oral history project.  I think that this interview (although it will be very intimidating to interview an expert) will be an invaluable learning experience. I will certainly do a lot of preliminary research of Alan’s life and works.  In preparation, I plan to listen to many of Alan’s own broadcasts, not only so I can ask him specific questions about them, but also pick up some great interviewing tips.  One of Alan’s more recent projects “Don’t Log Off” explores Facebook and Skype and “real-life dramas” that happen online.  I think it would be really interesting to perhaps have a “technology age” twist on my interview, such as how technology has changed/developed oral history practices since Alan began working as an oral historian in the 1990s.  However, regardless of what I “think” this interview could be about, I am really just looking forward to hearing what Alan’s story is, as he has spoken to so many different people and broadcasted so many different types of radio shows.  I’m quite excited to get the oral history of an oral historian (it seems a bit like “inception”… like dreaming within a dream).

If the interview with Alan Dein falls through, I would like to explore gender, perhaps more specifically the female role in society during the 1960s/1970s in Britain. I know that time period was very significant to the Women’s Rights Movement in the U.S. so I would like to get a better sense of what it was like in Britain.

I received a scholarship to come to Royal Holloway from a woman, Dinah Nichols, who graduated from Bedford New College in the 60s.  Bedford New College had yet to merge with Royal Holloway and was an all female school. When I met Ms. Nichols last term she briefly discussed some of the challenges that she faced in society (i.e. in the workforce) being a woman. I thought it would be interesting to interview her and hear more about her experiences as an educated woman during that time. From what I have heard from her and about her I believe she has a great life story to tell.  I’m getting coffee with her (hopefully) in the coming weeks so if Alan Dein does not work out I can ask her if she would be interested.

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One Comment on “Inception: the Oral History of an Oral Historian (hopefully!)”

  1. nicolaraimes2013 says:

    If you do interview Alan Dein I would love to hear it. I’m a huge fan. I particularly like the way he seemingly meanders through an interview and in so doing gets his interviewees to open up about themselves so that you hear stories that are frequently intimate and often moving. Check out Lives in a Landscape if you have a chance, oh and The Santa Tapes, the latter guaranteed to crack even the most cynical about christmas!


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