The concept for the Oral History arose in discussion between Angela Smith and Jim Valentine, who became founder members of the SURSA Oral History Group, along with Bill Inglis, John Stewart, and Gordon Willis. Christina Sommerville and Carolyn Rowlinson came on board more recently. Jim Valentine, who is experienced in oral history projects acts as mentor, and we work in close cooperation with Karl Magee, the University Archivist.
Initially, we have focused on collecting as wide a range of recordings as possible, particularly (but not only) covering the first ten years. We aim to move forward through the decades, recording retired staff and alumni who have contributed to the life of the University, throughout its history up to present days. There are interviews with people who contributed their skills to the buildings, the grounds, the art collection, to student welfare and learning. The interviews express disappointment as well as fulfillment - they are lively, funny, moving and surprising. They convey a brilliant impression of the excitement of being part of a new institution, and of the shock of negotiating severe financial cuts and the threat of closure.
All recordings are stored in a format to make them "future-proof" as far as possible, catalogued, and made available to any visitor to the Archive on request. About two years ago, aware that it was not so long until the University's Golden Jubilee (2017), we decided to create something special as part of the celebrations, using interactive web pages. Over 70 recordings have been made so far, and these form the basis of an online collection to which we shall add as many interviews as possible.
Do, please, contact one of the Group if you are willing to contribute. You may wish to make a solo contribution, or combine with a few erstwhile colleagues, to make a small group recording. We are experimenting with recording Skype and phone conversations so that distance need not be a barrier, if we are unable to reach you otherwise. Some people have been heard to worry that anything they could contribute would not be of interest to anyone else. Please do not believe this! Your memories and insights will be different from those of others, and it is only through gathering a really wide range of contributions that we can hope to capture a detailed impression of Stirling life. If you wish to contribute to the Oral History in this or other ways, don't hesitate to get in touch.
You can email us through This Link.