Thanks for being in touch about the oral history work I’m doing for the National Library of Australia! Here’s some background on the why, what & how.
The purpose of recording the stories of everyday Australians is essentially to create a meaningful and accurate historical record of life in Australia that will be available to researchers, family members, students and the general public for generations to come.
This is very rewarding work (I absolutely LOVE what I do), and an enormous privilege to record and document the stories of people from a huge range of cultural backgrounds.
Interviews are informal and no preparation is necessary. We take a ‘whole of life’ approach, meaning that we talk through family background, childhood, memories of growing up, primary school, high school, family traditions, relationships, interests and hobbies, identity, experiences, marriage, children, university years (if relevant), professional experience. It’s essentially a ‘walk’ through a person’s life experience. There’s no obligation to talk about any topic you’re not comfortable with.
Interviews are sound recorded in person and need to take place somewhere uninterrupted and quiet. I often come to people and do the interviews in their homes – otherwise, we try and find an alternative venue.
Interviews can take anywhere between 3-5 hrs on average (with breaks). If possible, putting aside a 5 hour block is ideal so we’re not rushed. You will receive a copy of your recorded story from the library after the event.
You have complete control over the availability of your story – how and when it can be accessed, and by whom.
Once we’ve had a chat in person (Zoom or phone), and we’re both interested in going ahead, I need to have the interview approved by the library to proceed – so please be aware that until I have approval, I cannot guarantee that an interview can take place.
Interviews need to take place in person and cannot be conducted wearing masks. Hygiene and distance are both important and will be taken into consideration on the day (along with government regulations and health recommendations in your state). I am fully vaccinated with boosters, and happy to RAT test on the morning of the interview. If you would like me to provide a RAT kit for you – I’m also very happy to do that. Any other concerns, please do feel free to discuss it with me! Your comfort is my priority.
Please let me know ASAP to reschedule if:
- You test COVID positive,
- Have cold or flu symptoms, or are feeling unwell or,
- Become a close contact within the week of the interview
The National Library of Australia has one of the largest oral history collections in the world and is committed to documenting the stories of everyday Australians. I am very honoured to be one of many oral history interviewers contracted to do this work.
More about the NLA collections (National Library of Australia)
Documenting Chinese-Australian Stories
Documenting Fijian-Australian Stories
ORAL HISTORIES IN THE CATALOGUE & ONLINE
Below is an example of an oral history recorded in 2018. Maxine Godley interviewed by Rob & Olya Willis in the ‘Voices of the bush oral history project’. This is what the catalogue record looks like and also contains a link to the actual recording where you can listen online.
For more information please email me (Ruth Hazleton): firstname.lastname@example.org OR leave a message (0419487060)