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Oral History Research Group

Unit(s) of assessment: History

Research theme: Global Heritage

School: School of Arts and Humanities; School of Social Sciences


The Oral History Research Group (OHRG) was founded in 2020 by NTU colleagues in History (Chris Reynolds) and Social Sciences (Verusca Calabria). The group set out to raise the profile of on ongoing work in the field of Oral History in a range of disciplines across Nottingham Trent University. The OHRG also sought to encourage greater interdisciplinary contact between the range of NTU scholars deploying the methodological approach of Oral History with a view to establishing new and innovative cross-disciplinary discussions, networks, and projects. The group set out to provide a platform to showcase the depth, breadth, and diversity of Oral History related research taking place at NTU for both an internal and external audience. Since 2020, the group has managed to establish a strong reputation at NTU and beyond via it popular,

monthly online seminar series and its successful hosting of the 2023 Annual Conference of the Oral History Society.


The OHRG was established by two NTU colleagues (Reynolds and Calabria) upon the discovery of their convergent, yet interdisciplinary, research in History and Social Sciences with the deployment of Oral History as the common denominator. It later became evident that many more NTU-based colleagues were using this methodological approach and a decision was made to create a group that would enable this interdisciplinary collection of colleagues to come together. Recognising the inherent interdisciplinarity of Oral History, the group set out to establish a platform that would facility contact between a range of scholars who ordinarily would not be in contact with a view to exploring innovative, crossover research with oral History at its core. In order to facilitate this process, a monthly, online seminar series was launched in 2020 that has seen the group amass some 200 internal and external members. A secondary aim of the group was to raise the internal and external profile of ongoing NTU-based research on Oral History. This has been achieved with strong internal and external membership of the group and equally significant attendance at its seminar series. Furthermore, in 2023, the group secured the hosting of the Oral History society Annual Conference on the theme of ‘Making Histories Together’. The conference drew in a substantial audience with some 100 papers delivered across two successful days. This event, alongside the ongoing seminar series has helped establish a strong reputation for Oral History research at NTU.

Programme of Research

Given the inherent inter-disciplinarily of Oral History, the OHRG encompasses a wide range of research expertise. To give just two examples, the group’s founders come from very different research backgrounds. Calabria is a leading researcher in the filed of Social Care, deploying Oral History to gather testimonies of just how this sector has changed and evolved over time, importantly giving a voice to all-too-often voiceless patients and workers that are often over-looked. Reynolds also deploys Oral History as his principal methodological approach in his work on developing strategies for the pressing challenge of managing the legacy of the past as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.

The OHRG provides a platform to bring this divergent research together with a view to helping encourage the exploration of potential overlap and the development of new and innovative cross-disciplinarily projects that can seek external funding to help address some of the pressing challenges facing society today. By bringing together such a diverse range of colleagues both in terms of discipline and experience, the group provides a potent space for the dissemination of NTU research and project developed. This platform is one that has its home at NTU but aims to ensure that our research extends further trough the establishment of a strong reputation at NTU as a centre for innovative and important research on Oral History.

The group continues to host its monthly online seminar and, building on the success of the 2023 Oral History Society Annual Conference, plans to explore cross-disciplinary publications, project development, and external funding bids, so as to continue to momentum and success achieved to date.


Selection of relevant publications: ·

  • Reynolds, C. and Blair, W. (2023), ‘Dealing with the legacy of the past: oral history and museums in Northern Ireland’. Oral History. Vol 51. 1. pp. 114-127.
  • Reynolds, C., (2023) ‘Agonistic remembering and Northern Ireland’s 1968 @ 50 in James McAuley, Máire Braniff, and Graham Spencer, ‘Troubles of the Past? history, identity and collective memory in Northern Ireland. (Manchester University Press).
  • Reynolds, Chris and Morin, Paul Max. (2022) "Dealing with Contested Pasts from Northern Ireland to French Algeria: Transformative Strategies of Agonism in Action?". Youth and Memory in Europe: Defining the Past, Shaping the Future, edited by Félix Krawatzek and Nina Friess, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2022, pp. 277-302.
  • Reynolds, C. and Cento Bull, A. (2021) ‘Uses of oral history in museums: a tool for agonism and dissonance or promoting a linear narrative?’, Museum and Society, 19 (3), pp. 283-300.
  • Reynolds, C. (2021) ‘The symbiosis of oral history and agonistic memory: Voices of 68 and the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland’, Journal of the British Academy, 9 (s3), pp. 73-94.
  • Reynolds, C., and Parr, C. 2020. ‘Northern Ireland’s 1968 at 50: agonism and protestant perspectives on civil rights’, Contemporary British History. 35:1, pp. 1-25.
  • Reynolds, C and Black, G, 2019. ‘Engaging Audiences with Difficult Pasts: The Voices of ’68 Project at the Ulster Museum, Belfast’, Curator. The Museum Journal. 17 November 2019.

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