Living history

The OpenLIVES project will digitise and publish oral testimony from Spanish migrants. One of our interviewees, Germinal Luís, lives currently in Barcelona. After analysing the full original interview carried out by Alicia Pozo-Gutierrez (Southampton) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, I met with Germinal in January 2012. Our meeting went very well. Germinal brought a series of books on the subject. He kindly let me photocopy relevant articles on ‘los niños de la guerra’  which I brought back as an addition to our resources bank. During our conversation, Germinal expanded on various aspects of his original interview with Alicia and gave me an spontaneous account of how he had returned to Barcelona so many years after he had to leave the city as a child. His story was fascinating and moving.

We discussed the general aims of the OpenLIVES project and explored ways in which he could collaborate with us. I explained to him the fact that, as part of their curriculum at Portsmouth, Leeds and Southampton, some of our students would be conducting projects of different nature on ‘los niños de la guerra’. Germinal liked the idea and offered his help. I asked him how he would feel if, as part of their projects, students were to interview him, and/or other ‘niños’, and whether he would be willing to visit us in the UK to that effect. Germinal kindly agreed to visit us in principle – which is tremendously exciting for the project and for the students involved.

Germinal’s visit would be an invaluable experience for students, giving them the opportunity to conduct primary research, potentially expanding the range of student-produced OERs.  I’m currently in the process of identifying OERs suitable for the training of students on interview techniques in general and ethical interviewing in particular, and so a project which is opening up the past by publishing open testimony can become living and interactive history, the outputs of which will be shared for re-use again.

Miguel Arrebola-Sanchez, Portsmouth University

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About LLAS projects team

The LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies at the University of Southampton run projects related to these subject areas, and offer staff development training and events.
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