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Corporate and Business Oral History: Opportunities and challenges

Dr. Robert Perks


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Date: 16th July, 2016

Venue: Visitors’ Centre, CSMVS Museum, M G Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001

Timing: 6.00 pm


About the Speaker

Dr. Robert Perks has been Lead Curator of Oral History at the British Library since 1988, and Director of National Life Stories since 1996. He heads a team of some twenty staff involved in oral history fieldwork in a variety of sectors: from arts and crafts to business and finance, from the utilities to science, from architecture to publishing. He is the Secretary of the Oral History Society; a Visiting Professor at the University of Huddersfield, an Editor of Oral History: The Journal of the Oral History Society and Series Editor of the Oxford University Press Oral History Series. He is a previous Council Member of the International Oral History Association. Currently, he co-ordinates the British Library’s relationship with BBC Radio for ‘The Listening Project’ airing four times weekly on BBC Radio 4.

His publications include The Oral History Reader (Routledge, third edition 2016), Oral History, Health and Welfare (Routledge, 2000), Ukraine’s Forbidden History (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 1998), and numerous audio publications including Voices of the Holocaust: a cross-curricular resource pack now available as a web-based resource.


Synopsis of the talk

Drawing on case studies from extensive corporate oral history project work led by National Life Stories at the British Library over nearly thirty years, Dr Perks outlined the history of the shifting relationship between business history and oral history, before considering oral history’s contribution to both business/corporate history, and to businesses themselves. He concluded with a consideration of the key challenges faced by oral historians working in a business and corporate environment.


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