On the Move: Evacuation in Staffordshire

Children on the Move:
Evacuation in Staffordshire
Professor Maggie Andrews
Professor of Cultural History
University of Worcester
Matthew Blake
Participation and Engagement Officer
Staffordshire Archive Service
Background to the Project
• Record Office had a range of
inquires from family historians
who wanted understand their
relations experience of WW2
evacuation in Staffordshire
• Previously two smaller oral history projects
by Staffordshire Archives and
Museum Service to capture C20 histories before they
were lost gave a project template which could be
scaled up for this project
• Evacuation was covered on University curriculum, an
and MA had written on in relation to history of Wis
Research Process / Activities
• HFL funded grant financed
project officer who carried
out 90 interviews –
importance of high
number of interviews to
understand multiplicity of
experiences of evacuation
• 10 local events to promote
the project
• Students from Keele and
Staffordshire Universities
and local Schools extracted
information from school
log books, newspapers
Progress of Project
• Wider academic research
• Regular 3 monthly meetings
between University, Archives,
Museum Service, Project Officer
share ideas and discuss
emerging themes
• Website
• Production of a publication with
input from University, Record
Office and Museum Service
Positive impact on Communities and Individuals
• Asked interviewees to
share their histories
rather than take them to
create our histories
• Positive impact on their
lives - clear at the event
held for them at NMA
• Books given to every
participant every
Staffordshire Library and
Secondary School
• Travelling Exhibition
• Website and on-going
scope to upload histories
A range of Outputs/ Impacts and Uses of Research
• For archives modern history
telling a different stories - oral
histories and transcripts used for understanding
experience of evacuation to
• 90 transcripts used in U/G
assessments and dissertations
• Contributed to academic
research, conference papers,
journal articles and a book to
be completed for Bloomsbury
Academic 2014
Benefits to Academic Work
• Began to work across, even bridge, categories and boundaries; range of
input in the planning, the discursive style of interviewing, the launch event
and book resulted in a project which straddled :
– boundaries of reminiscence work and academic work which interrogates
memory and myths in oral history
– categories of history written by, for or about ordinary peoples lives
produced a version of peoples history in the best traditions of Raph
Samuel and the original History Workshop Movement
• Moved from individual / solitary analysis of ‘documents’ subject to
discursive approach – for example through the dialogue in project teams
about themes and narrative tropes within the oral histories, something
continued in U/G exploration of material
Build on your relationships
• The partnership for
academics and local
authority organisations can
be a rewarding one
• Encourage undergraduate
work on the project
• Develop the use of
findings/collections by
• Develop community
George Cooke and Sydney Cox,
reunited after 70 years
What we learnt
• The importance of informal and frequent dialogue in planning projects
and running them
• That there is real scope to craft a research project which serves a number
of different constituencies - for example we brought together academic
research into oral history and reminiscence work
• That time invested in impact work with local archives can actually end up
as very time efficient - in practical terms the work done by the project
officer undertaking the interviews and work placement students has
equated with having a research assistant for two years
• Academic and public sector targets can be met through good project