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FEBRUARY 2014: Oral Histories of Voluntary Action
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When: 2/7/2014

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7th February 2014 

Humanities Research Centre, University of York

Voluntary action history is a growing area of research, and in the current political and economic climate, the history of the voluntary sector in the twentieth century has been pulled into focus. Oral history methods can be one way of accessing these invaluable histories, yet many of those undertaking this type of research may not have the necessary skills or expertise to conduct interviews. This workshop aims to remedy this and offer a space for new researchers to discuss the benefits and challenges of using oral history methods within their research and share solutions for overcoming potential problems. We hope to attract historians and sociologists of charity, social care, government policy, activism and economics. It will bring together postgraduate and early career researchers from across the UK, encouraging lively discussion and the use of multi-method approaches.

The day will close with a roundtable discussion led by experienced practitioners of oral history and voluntary action research. This will be a chance for attendees to utilise the round-table’s expertise, to raise current problems in need of trouble-shooting and to obtain practical advice on interviewing.

We welcome abstracts for 15-20 minute papers. Papers will focus on new researchers’ experiences of using oral history interviewing methods within the broad field of voluntary action history (e.g. histories of particular voluntary organisations or groups, policy makers, politicians, activists, volunteers and service users).

Possible themes and topics:

·        Issues with finding interview participants

·        Ethical dilemmas

·        Unusual methodological approaches

·        An unexpected issue or event during the interview process

·        Use and storage of interview data

The workshop will be free of charge and lunch will be provided. Places are limited.

Please send abstracts of 300-400 words to by 1st December 2013. The event is also open to attendees who would prefer not to give a paper but who would like to join in the discussion, please register interest to

This event is funded by the Humanities Research Centre, University of York and is supported by the Voluntary Action History Society’s New Researchers Committee. 

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