Our Voices Oral History podcast

Andy Clark discusses what oral history is, along with his background in the field. He goes on to explore the Our Voices project and how we've responded and adapted the project due to COVID-19.

Photo of Andy sat down. He's wearing a wool jumper and jeans.

Meet the Oral Historian

Dr Andy Clark, Research Associate from the Oral History Collective, has been working with The Common Room since 2018 sharing his expertise and knowledge of industrial heritage and oral history. Throughout the project, Andy has been interviewing engineers, past and present, to delve into their individual experiences of industry across the region.

Andy says, "oral history is a crucial tool for understanding lived experiences of the North East. The interaction between events, historical change and individual memory is necessary for capturing the area’s past, and promoting opportunities for its future."

Visualisation of Our Voices listening booth. Drawing of man in booth to show scale. Visualisation shows inside of the booth with black walls with white and orange text across them which reads 'The dangers to which he is exposed are numerous and oh hidden description, the falling stone, the rush of water and the fiery explosion are at tremendous odd, staked everyday against his existence' - A voice from the coal mines - various grievances of the pitman of the Tyne and Wear 1825

Our Voices Listening Booth

Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Common Room will be fitted out with an oral history listening booth, where members of the public can access the stories captured in the collection so far. The Our Voices listening booth will be available free of charge upon the building's reopening.

Who Can Contribute?

The Our Voices project is collecting stories from across the region, themed around innovation and engineering.

So far, we have spoken to a range of diverse participants who have generously added their experiences to our growing collection. From retired engineers, to apprentices and ex-miners, we welcome a range of stories from different engineering and industrial disciplines. We are always looking to expand our collection and to celebrate our region’s industrial heritage.

We’d welcome interviews from:

  • Mining Engineers
  • Engineers covering a range of disciplines
  • Engineers from diverse backgrounds which might be under-represented (e.g. LGBTQ+, diverse ethnicities, women)
  • Apprentices

Transcribing the interviews

All of our oral history interviews are being transcribed as part of digitising our collections. This means that all of the audio interviews will also be available as downloadable pdfs, making them fully accessible and searchable.

Want to get involved?

We have a number of ways that you can get involved in the project, from being an interviewee to transcribing collected oral history interviews. Please get in touch to express your interest.