Oral History - Eveyday People

Everyday People: Untold Stories was an innovative participatory oral history project that took place in 2015. Through gathering stories of people from ethnic backgrounds who had settled in West Dunbartonshire and the surrounding area, we conducted research into the positive impact made by different ethnic groups in Scotland since World War One. The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has received generous support from many other individuals and organisations including Centre81 (Clydebank Housing Association).

From the start, we wanted to deliver skills-based training so we commissioned the Scottish Oral History Centre (Strathclyde University) to deliver oral history training to a number of volunteers, including young people from ethnic minorities. Dr Sue Morrison, Oral History Research and Training Consultancy, provided further oral history support and created the project’s digital outputs. Additional training opportunities explored photography, film making, social media and basic research skills. These workshops and one-to-one sessions equipped volunteers with the necessary skills to do local research, and to conduct, digitally record and edit oral history interviews. Respondents’ stories were recorded on audio and/or film. Results of the research were shared with the community through the project’s oral history archive and several showcase events.

We are grateful to everyone who participated in the ‘Everyday People: Untold Stories’ project, particularly those people who shared with us their memories, experiences, opinions and hopes. We have learned why they came to Scotland, which was not always their first adopted country, nor was it always by choice. We now know about their expectations and experiences of arriving in this wonderful country, with many of our respondents sharing stories of seeing new places and meeting new people – mostly good folk, though some were not so good. Almost all of our respondents mentioned experiencing our uniquely Scottish weather for the first time! We recorded memories of moving into new neighborhoods, finding jobs, workplace experiences, and about being totally confused by Glaswegian banter. We were told stories about learning English at a language school in Clydebank, and of studying at Scottish schools, colleges and universities. We were inspired by our respondents’ efforts to integrate, to join community groups and even to form their own groups and charities. And we heard about their contributions to their adopted communities and the wider Scottish society.

Here you can find the Oral History Sound Clips, our Gallery of photographs, and our Oral History Film ‘Everyday Peoples: Untold Stories’, which features a brief history of migration to Scotland, followed by some terrific excerpts from the interview collection. We hope that you, too, enjoy listening to their stories!