Community engagement in local history

Teaching History article

By Lynda Abbott and Richard Grayson, published 3rd January 2012

A report on the Hemel at War project

This article, by Lynda Abbott and Richard Grayson, offers a fascinating example of collaboration between school and university, focused on the development of a community archive.

The project - run as an extra-curricular activity - was originally inspired by a concern to preserve the personal stories of those whose lives were affected by the Second World War. As students have gained experience in researching local stories, developing interviewing skills and learning how to locate and interrogate different kinds of archival material, so their range has expanded, drawing in the experiences of combatants and non-combatants in conflicts ranging from the Boer War to recent missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The article reveals the wide range of ways in which different participants have benefited from the construction, collection and dissemination of these personal narratives...

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