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Projects & Work

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HistoryAtWork has spent over twenty years working with communities, places and collections.

Please explore our projects below to read about this work.

Our methodologies include oral, digital and interpretive history, assessment of significance and preservation needs, auditing and curating collections, online or physical exhibitions, editing, transcription and digitising, memoir, life story and biography. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about any of these methodologies.

Our clients include individuals, families, professional organisations, community groups, local government, and institutions. Call us or send an email if you would like a client list.

We can provide referees for any projects or roles you read about below, and samples of our work. If our work is online you can see it now by visiting the History for you page.


'Yarra Talks'. An audit of oral history collections across the City of Yarra

Oral history has been a crucial part of our profession for several decades. Since the 1970s, historians have increasingly sought to include personal experiences and disparate voices in narratives about community and place. It was therefore a great opportunity to work on ‘Yarra Talks’ – an investigation into oral history projects undertaken and focusing on life within the City of Yarra.

What began as a simple gap assessment and recommendation project evolved into something much more fascinating. As we delved deeper into Yarra’s oral histories, it became clear that the more pressing concern was accessibility. While many of the interviews are woven into publications and websites about Yarra’s history, the recordings themselves are not always accessible to researchers.

Fortunately, many of the interviews had already been transcribed and it was just a matter of matching the script to the recording. And with the right equipment, converting cassettes into digital files can be easy. But one of the more serious matters with oral history is that of permission. These days, it’s common practice for historians and interviewees to draw up a contract outlining how their conversation will be used, and whether any conditions apply. If there was no contract, and the interviewee has since passed, does this mean their life story never sees the light of day? 

The Yarra oral histories are full of colourful individuals and touching anecdotes about life in Melbourne’s inner east. There are shared experiences, surprises and plenty of references to AFL and Squizzy Taylor! What emerges the strongest is a sense of community spirit which has prevailed to this day.

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Emma Russell