Recording Oral History

Oral History: An Introduction

Oral history is a conversation with the past recorded by everyday historians.

Many people have been taught about the past through the spoken word, perhaps through a family history passed down from generation to generation or the history of a community through song, folklore or story-telling. Oral history has traditionally given people a sense of shared heritage, identity and solidarity. Today, oral history is a formal discipline and means through which to record the recent past, whether on audio or through the medium of film. Oral history relies on memory and the spoken word and so oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyse them, and place them in an accurate historical context. Oral history interviews are accessible and can be used for historical research and as part of exhibitions, films or documentaries.

By recording the history of everyday lives, oral testimonies give us fresh insights, new perspectives and uncover previously hidden dimensions to well-known historical narratives.

The Hong Kong Oral History Group

Hong Kong’s first oral history group.

Established in October 2012 at the Hong Kong Archives Society’s (HKAS) first oral history workshop and seminar ‘Voices and History’, the Hong Kong Oral History Group aims to encourage and promote oral history in Hong Kong in its capacity as a HKAS sub-committee.

Prior to the establishment of the Hong Kong Oral History Group, no platform for local oral historians or oral history projects existed through which to communicate, share ideas, publicise work or exchange best practices in the field. As oral history grows in importance as a discipline around the world and in Hong Kong, it is fitting and imperative to establish a local forum for these purposes.

The Hong Kong Oral History Group meets every quarter to share expertise, convey the latest happenings in the oral history scene and acts as a point of contact for those working in the field today.