Hopes and Concerns: An Irish migrant in London

As we head into the next stage of the Oral History course, we have been looking at some of the challenges that oral historians (and interviewees) may face in interviews. My biggest hope for my own interview is that I can gain an insight into the experience of migration abroad and of life in London from the 60’s onwards. I want to learn about how the political troubles and IRA terror campaign may have affected life here and their interaction with people around them. I also hope to learn about the experience of long-term emigration on family relationships and self-identity. I do have concerns that the political situation might not have affected the person’s everyday life as much as I have imagined. Considering this possibility in advance has helped to alleviate my worries: I hope that I can let the person tell their story, allowing for significant topics or aspects of life here that I might have not thought about to come to the fore.

My other biggest concern relates to questioning. Will I ask the right questions? I worry that I might not phrase them in the best way, closing off particular avenues that might have been very insightful. Lastly, I want to enable an atmosphere and create a rapport that allows us both to really enjoy the process. I hope that I will be able to get over any concerns or nerves and allow the interview to flow easily, picking up on cues and areas of interest that the interviewee would like to speak further about, rather than sticking rigidly to my own set of pre-designed questions.

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