University of Hertfordshire’s Oral History Team commended at prestigious awards evening

By Zoe Fripp

The University of Hertfordshire’s Oral History Team’s BBC R4 documentary Instant History have been commended at a prestigious awards evening in London.

The team’s documentary received its commendation in the Radio and Podcast Category at the 2018 Royal Historical Society Public History Awards, which took place on the 26th January at Mary Ward House.

The distinguished judging panel included the likes of Professor Mary Beard, known for her television documentaries, such as Meet the Romans with Mary Beard and Pompeii: New Secrets Revealed.

The documentary, Instant History, focused primarily on retirement and included interviews from those who already have retired or those preparing to retire. People from all different industries were interviewed, including fire-fighters, engineers, teachers and nurses and interviews spanned across the country including Scunthorpe, Ipswich and Cheltenham. University of Hertfordshire staff and students were also interviewed, over the course of one weekend in October 2016.

The instant history concept was developed at the university by Visiting Research Fellow Andrew Green, Professor Owen Davies and Dr Anne Murphy. Andrew works in the History Department at the university and joined in 2008 to help students and staff alike with their Oral History techniques.

[Left to right: Alan Hall, producer of the documentary; Falling Tree Productions, Andrew Green (Senior Visiting Research Fellow); and Dr Anne Murphy (Reader in History and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Humanities).
Dr Anne Murphy said:

“Andrew has developed a unique resource at the University of Hertfordshire of a huge team of students and staff who are carefully trained to help people tell their story and translate this into broadcast quality interviews. This highly skilled team has enabled us to establish our renowned oral history archive at our Heritage Hub, a repository for important local stories and projects and a store of memories for future historians.

“Given the amount of history available in podcast and radio format, our commendation was a fantastic achievement.  And showcasing the size, broadcast skills, staff/student collaboration and project management expertise of our Oral History Team led us to being offered another exciting commission during the awards event.”

The Royal Historical Society focuses on representing history in debates on Higher Education Policy, with the Public History Awards being held to congratulate and award people that have helped promote public awareness of history and recognises work that offers a critical understanding of the past.

The overall winner of the awards was the BBC Radio 4 documentary titled ‘Partition Voices’, presented by Kavita Puri.

To listen to the ‘Instant History’ documentary, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0855vzd

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University of Hertfordshire’s Oral History Team commended at prestigious awards evening