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East London voices recorded for posterity at UCL exhibition

A mobile exhibition exploring the history of East London is touring libraries and care homes in the London Borough of Newham.

30 October 2018

Organised by UCL Special Collections and the local council, the exhibition is accompanied by other interactive events such as workshops. Not only do these events provide local people with the chance to discuss and tell their stories, they're also generating an invaluable archive of oral histories - recorded and preserved for future generations.

"The exhibition has acted as a centrepiece around which engagement activities have taken place," explained Vicky Price, Special Collections Education Coordinator at UCL Special Collections. 

"We lead workshops that were designed to welcome and encourage local residents and library users to engage with the exhibition. They included poetry sessions for adult groups, a family workshop (creating games with historical figures from East London), and a history ‘open mic’ event."

Initial workshops were delivered in October 2017 as part of Newham Heritage Week and acted as an opportunity to celebrate Newham’s rich cultural heritage. To date, 100 people have participated in the workshops.

Peoples’ stories, experiences and memories of East London have been recorded by student volunteers. The collection will be catalogued and transcribed by Special Collections volunteers, forming a strong grounding - and acting as a pilot project - for the new London Memory Archive. This is a new initiative in development for UCL’s forthcoming East London campus.

Recordings will be made available for all to use - researchers, academics and members of the public - through Special Collection’s reader service. It is hoped they will be used to teach courses such as the future MA in Public History (UCL East campus) and the BA in Education Studies. The recordings will also be used as a key resource in further Special Collections outreach projects.


Read more about how UCL is engaging London or browse all case studies.