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Impression second workshop Oral History and Heritage

On Friday 15 April, the Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed (Cultural Heritage Agency) in cooperation with ‘Sprekende geschiedenis’ organised the second workshop on ‘Oral History and Heritage’ in Amersfoort. The workshop was about the technical aspects of oral history and about dreamlike public presentations.


The workshop began with a brief review of the first workshop, which focused on examples of oral history projects and the art of interviewing. The participants had also suggested ideas for new oral history projects. The ideas that had not been discussed on 18 March were now presented. Saskia Moerbeek of “Sprekende geschiedenis” asked everyone to think of a project idea for the second half of the workshop. They would need this after the break when they started dreaming about their ideal public presentation.


Overview and cooperation

But first, using a PowerPoint, Saskia went deeper into the more technical aspects of oral history. These included things like recording images and/or sound, transcribing, permission forms, metadata and storing and preserving interviews. Saskia emphasised that it’s logical that the heritage sector often pays more attention to presenting stories than to storing and preserving interviews. This is understandable, but also often a missed opportunity. As a result, a lot of interview material that could be interesting for future generations is lost.

The participants noted that it all takes a lot of work. Therefore, the advice was to be aware of the workflow of an interview and an interview collection beforehand and to make agreements about this with partners (archives, oral historians, museums, etc.). Let everyone do what they are good at and work together!

The use of appropriate software can also reduce the amount of work. Practical tips can be found under the heading “Getting started” on the Speaking History website.


Dreams lead to beautiful plans

After the break, Frank von Meijenfeldt showed some examples of public presentations and asked the participants to think of the ideal presentation for their own project idea. For this purpose, he provided two questions. The participants got to work in small groups. Sometimes it took some effort to let go of the reality of financial and organisational constraints, but in the end there was a lot of dreaming. It was very special to see how people helped each other with questions and suggestions for possible partners in realising the dream.


The two workshop sessions covered many aspects of the relationship between heritage and oral history.

Who knows, there might soon be an audio tour with augmented reality based on oral histories in which a monument or a landscape acquires meaning from various perspectives.