Scottish Oral History Centre

Scottish Oral History Centre

The Scottish Oral History Centre was set up to support the use of oral history within the academic community and in the cognate areas such as archives and museums.

About the Scottish Oral History Centre

The Scottish Oral History Centre (SOHC) was established at the University of Strathclyde in 1995. Since then, it has been involved in a wide range of teaching, research and outreach activities designed primarily to encourage the use of ‘best practice’ oral history methodology in Scotland.

Professor Arthur McIvor and Dr Yvonne McFadden are Co-Directors of the SOHC and we currently have a complement of eleven additional affiliated staff: Dr Eleanor Bell, Prof Phil Cooke, Dr Matthew Eisler, Dr Laura Kelly, Dr Emma Newlands, Dr Jesse Olszynko-Gryn, Dr Fearghus Roulston, Prof Matt Smith, Dr Natalia Telepneva, Dr Angela Turner and SOHC trainer Dr Alison Chand. 

As a group we have a substantial publication and research record and supervise a large number of undergraduate and postgraduate students using oral history techniques.

Our events

The next Scottish Oral History Centre seminar will be held both in-person and online on the 13th March. We have Dr Lisa Taylor from Leeds Beckett University with us to speak about her research on the village of Bailiff Bridge.


Lisa Taylor is Reader in Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett University. Her research explores how identity and self-worth are entwined in spaces from ‘ordinary’ gardens to factual welfare television. Her current work looks at the potential of participatory art methodologies to promote community cohesion in ex-industrial locales.

 And a bit about the paper: 

 Intertwining Threads: Valuing Labour; Remaking Community 

This paper is about Firths Carpets Limited (1867-2002) once operational in the village of Bailliff Bridge, West Yorkshire. I began sensuous ethnographic research in 2016, initially working with ex-Firths Carpets to explore embodied responses to spatial change. Workers pointed to the newbuild housing over the once-mills that had progressively grown since the early 2000s. ‘Newcomers’ in the pale brink new builds, were perceived to lack an understanding of the industrial significance of place. Ageing workers felt unseen and unconnected to younger digitally connected newcomers (Taylor, 2019). As Fothergill and Beatty (2017) remind us, 11 million in the UK live in ‘dormitory villages’ where people live but who work elsewhere. What Bailiff Bridge presented was a cleaved community in need of healing strategies.  

This paper explores the collaborative work I did with artist Catherine Bertola to try to bring the community together. It draws on aspects of the research which nourished how we designed the art-making workshops: archival research about the Firths carpet-worker body, interactive interviews with ex-workers which found ‘corporeal nostalgia’ and forms of what Bright calls ‘revenant energies’, especially in relation to ‘solastalgia’ (Albrecht, 2012) which still hangs uncomfortably in the air. The workshops were about commemoration and a paean to the value of labour. Their aim was to build a respectful conduit for opening up a conversation between the two halves of the community in the art-making process. The paper looks at the advantages as well as the pitfalls of art-making as a means to encourage community cohesion.   

Graham Hills 222

In Person: 40 George Street

4.00-6.00 PM Monday 13th March


View Online  




Oral History Training (online)


Introduction to Oral History

The next Introduction to Oral History training workshop run by the Scottish Oral History Centre (SOHC) will be delivered online using Zoom. This will cover all the practical basics of getting started, including planning, good interviewing techniques, equipment, interview practice, transcription and summarising, ethics, copyright, data protection (GDPR) and legal issues.

This workshop will take place over two half-days on Thursday 1st June and Friday 2nd June 2023 at 9:30am - 1:00pm. More information can be found in the programme below along with the registration form. 


SOHC Intro Training Day Programme 01.06.2023 - 02.06.2023

SOHC Intro Training Day Registration Form 01.06.2023 - 02.06.2023


Are you interested? If so please register your interest and get on the training days waiting list by emailing Once we have enough participants expressing an interest the SOHC will run another of these training days.


Introduction to remote interviewing for oral historians

Remote interviewing (online or phone) has been thrust into more prominence as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a complex issue which divides oral historians and archivists. Remote interviewing can mean a poorer audio quality interview for archiving and many oral historians experience difficulties developing rapport with the narrator. There are also technical issues and competencies to navigate and issues around data protection, privacy and security for your narrator. But should researchers now be routinely offering the option of a remote interview to potential narrators who may be concerned about possible contagion in a face-to-face interview? There is a disability justice argument in providing as wide an access to our interviewing projects as possible and not potentially excluding participants from disabled and other marginalised communities. This SOHC training half-day discusses these issues, enabling a more informed decision on remote vs in-person interviewing.  

Are you interested? If so please register your interest and get on the training days waiting list by emailing  Once we have enough participants expressing an interest the SOHC will run another of these training days.

A strong Scottish & international profile

The SOHC has developed a strong profile in Scotland and has growing international links. SOHC staff have research networks across Europe, North America and Africa. We are currently involved in a transatlantic collaborative relationship with the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS), University of Concordia, Montreal, Canada, where a number of our staff hold Research Affiliate status. The Director of COHDS, Professor Steven High, took up the first SOHC visiting Professorship in 2012. The SOHC and the COHDS have jointly organised a major international conference on deindustrialisation held in Montreal 1-5 May 2014 and we jointly run an International Oral History Summer Institute (Montreal June 2016; SOHC June 2018; Montreal, online, June 2021).

Our aims and objectives

  • To be an international centre for oral history study, research, teaching and training.
  • To promote collaborative research in oral history across disciplinary and geographical boundaries.
  • To develop knowledge transfer/outreach programmes, encouraging networking in the area of oral history with other scholars and organisations, including local government and community oral history groups.
  • To develop an expertise in the use of new technologies in oral history
  • To facilitate capacity-building and the intellectual development of the next generation of scholars/researchers in oral history.
  • To act as a corporate base for attracting external funding to support the above aims.

Our archives

The SOHC has an extensive archive of recorded interviews some of which are currently being digitised and catalogued prior to migration to the University Archives where the majority of the SOHC interviews and some other donated collections are archived - see .  Please contact Arthur McIvor for more information, or the University Archivist, Victoria Peters on

For the health and health-related oral history archives in Scotland Report, 26 May 2015 (David Walker) see here Scottish Oral History Centre 2015 Report

Useful Links

For more information on all things oral history, including oral history conferences, resources, GDPR, training, ethics, the OHS Journal etc. See the UK Oral History Society website at