The aim of this conference is to explore the creation and use of a number of projects which bring science and scientists to historians and the public through scientists' own vibrant personal voices and testimony.
Projects to be discussed include:
• A History of the Royal Society in the 20th Century (Principal Investigator, Dr Peter Collins, Director, Centre for History of Science, Royal Society)
• Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society (Editor, Professor Emeritus Tom Meade FRS, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, for Royal Society Publishing)
• Museum Lives: An Oral History of the Natural History Museum (Principal Investigator, Professor Brian Cathcart, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kingston University: AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellowship with the Centre for Arts and Humanities Research at the Natural History Museum)
• Oral History of British Science (British Library in association with the Science Museum)
Themes which we hope will be explored in this conference are:
• Testimony, a spectrum of practices: from oral history techniques to witness seminar to collegial obituary (scientists speak about themselves and each other)
• Where science practice and oral history converge: scientific knowledge transfer, lab training and the eyewitness account
• History of oral transmission of knowledge in science as a grounding for oral histories of science
• Framing oral histories of science: constructing a coherent intellectual framework for interview subject selection and project design
• When science speaks: the tension between training in objectivity and speaking subjective experience – can oral history interviews engender self-reflexivity in scientists?
• Institutions, laboratories, collections: distinguishing between individual, collective and corporate enunciations in oral history of science
• Video interviews versus audio interviews pro and con: the specifics of science practice in labs and with instruments, materials and specimens
• Techniques: interviewing, recording, transcribing, editing specifically for history of science
• Making use of oral history in history and epistemology of science: examples of historiographic practice employing oral history records
• Relations between archival formats (interviews with scientists, scientific records, and personal papers): issues for researchers and for knowledge management professionals
• Oral history digitisation, storage and dissemination: metadata, name authorities, text-mining, discovery resources: how can people find what they need? Registration for the conference is now open. Registration fees are £40 (full)/£30 (reduced) and include a wine reception on 12 May and lunch on 13 May. Please contact Felicity Henderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any queries.