Blog Two, Planning the Interview. Emma HF


As I prepare for my Oral History interview there has been a lot of processes to go through. Firstly I have chosen and gratefully achieved consent from my lady interviewee. Then I embarked on further reading on the process of Oral History interviewing to further my knowledge of how not to lead questions, how to make the interviewee feel comfortable – not intimidated and how on a practical level, to operate new technology  to record the interview on the day. I was then able to come up with some questions surrounding my topic of world war two and rationing within this. These have formed a more or less chronological format but I am not expecting information to come in a chronological way. It is up to me as the interviewer to navigate response and help with ordering information after the interview. The interview itself, if secondary oral reading is to be followed, is a chance for information to pour out as unstructured and naturally as it likes.

Secondary reading on my topic of WW2 and rationing has been kept to a minimum despite my initial interest in the subject. My reem of questions shall be dramatically thrown out the window (metaphorically speaking) should other topics arise from the interviewee. This is because I am passionate about hearing all she has to say without having had a hidden agenda or preset image of what she is going to say. I am fascinated to hear about her life experiences and gain information and insight from this. I believe Oral History to be a valuable way for allowing someone to speak freely and tell the past as their own truth, so I very much hope this will be the result.

Worries and concerns come like for everyone, within technology failing and so seeming unprofessional. Other concerns come within, perhaps my interviewee will not be able to talk for a length of time or will want to fulfil my questions or what I want to hear. I hope to overcome these problems by keeping calm, rembering the importance of silence and that the interview at this stage is solely about them, and not myself.

Emma H-F Interview Subject Topic Choice

I have chosen to interview an unknown older female who lived through the second world war. In particular I would like to find out about rationing, overcoming issues and overall food provisions during the war. (I am keen not to limit my findings but aim to focus on these topics).

My education background so far is not enveloped in history and I have not had the privilege of having grandparents or relatives or friends who experienced the home front in Britain so I will be interested to find out more and explore the potential area of possible nostalgia surrounding memories of rationing and other wartime difficulties.

Wartime Britain may seem a common topic to discuss, however I believe that interviewing with a somewhat ‘clean slate’ in terms of memory and family history absence will allow me to address the topic with an interesting (inevitably modern) perspective. I also feel that rationing, although largely discussed and accepted as a part of the war is a very personal topic with a lot more significance and different elements than it would seem. It is a complex, delicate subject that I believe to be as valuable to research as many others.