Warwick Oral History Network Seminar
‘Voices of the University’: Institutional Histories and Conflicting Communities
Dr Richard Wallace (Warwick)
Voices of the University Project
Wednesday 7 May
4pm, H3.02 (Humanities Building)
More information on the Voices of the University Project to mark Warwick’s 50th Anniversary athttp://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/current/universityvoices/
This paper will address the ‘Voices of the University: Memories of Warwick, 1965-2015’ oral history project currently running at the University of Warwick, which aims to chronicle the memories and experiences of around 400 individuals who have worked, lived and studied at the university or in the surrounding area during the last 50 years. In particular Dr Wallace will explore some of the challenges involved in undertaking an institutional oral history project that, by necessity, must engage in a network of overlapping and competing communities. Whether interviewing current and former student, senior administrators, local residents or clerical and ancillary workers, the issue of ‘community’ become a significant factor in the way such a project is shaped, conducted and presented. Any attempt to identify a coherent ‘university community’ is destined to be problematic, and will necessarily open up issues relating to aspects such as sample selection, and how one adequately represents the inhabitants of a community that is, to use Benedict Anderson’s famous formulation, inherently ‘imagined’.
Dr Richard Wallace is an Associate Fellow in the Department of Film and Television Studies and the project officer on the ‘Voices of the University: Memories of Warwick, 1965 – 2015’ oral history project currently running in the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Warwick. He has research interests in film and television history and the practice and uses of institutional oral histories.