2011 Oral History Society Annual Conference: 1-2 July, 2011, at the University of Sunderland

4 September 2010

Call for Papers – 2011 OHS Annual Conference. Oral History and Regeneration.

Creation, Destruction, Memory: Oral History and Regeneration

2011 Oral History Society Annual Conference: 1-2 July, 2011, at the University of Sunderland

Oral history’s contribution to ‘regeneration’ has been wide ranging. On the one hand it has been used as a tool to encourage or improve community engagement and participation.  On the other, it has been a tool to inspire pride in a local area or to reaffirm or create cultural identity.  However, oral history’s role has, so far, been ill-defined and remains unexplored both in theory and in practice.  To what extent, for example, can oral history be the critical voice of regeneration as well as the nostalgic voice of the past?  Can the use of oral history make regeneration more sustainable?  What part does oral history play in creating sustainable communities?  To what extent should oral history and oral historians work together alongside developers and architects?

This international conference will bring together oral historians, academics, community workers, architects, planners, politicians and local residents to explore the uses and roles of oral history in urban and rural regeneration, covering the built environment as well the less tangible regeneration of landscapes and communities.

The conference will not seek simply to document the various roles oral history has played in the regeneration process but will equally explore its unrecorded and potential contribution.

Key themes:

Oral history to inform regeneration: The contribution of oral history to the process of physical/community and rural/urban regeneration; the use of oral history by planners/architects; the roles of and relationship between consultation and oral history; the role of the oral historian in the process.

Oral history as part of regeneration: As a mechanism to inform and create the future and preserve and create the past; regeneration through reclaiming and reinterpretation; reclaiming or creating cultural change; and enabling understanding between cultures and generations.  

Oral history to reflect and evaluate regeneration: Lives and voices of the displaced, those who have been “regenerated”, as well as those working in regeneration; assessing gains and losses and perceived successes and failures; critiquing regeneration by listening to those whose communities have been “regenerated”

Oral history and regeneration: Linking the past, present, and future; continuity and discontinuity; talking about the future.

Proposals are invited of 200-250 words that address one of the four major themes of the conference for talks or presentations of approximately 20 minutes.  We are particularly keen to encourage papers from: planners, architects, community workers, local residents and others directly involved in regeneration.
Proposals should clearly state how oral history as informed the project/work/research described, and how it will be used in the presentation. 

Please send to Belinda Waterman, conference administrator, e-mail:


by Monday, 29 November 2010.

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