As many of you will know, over the past two years we’ve run a wonderful oral history project in Devon with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund: ‘From the Grassroots: an oral history of community politics in Devon.’ Sadly the project is about to come to an end – but not before we were able to record 70 interviews with local political activists, soon to be available at the Devon Heritage Centre, and share this new material in events, an exhibition, and through specially-written schools materials.
We will keep adding materials based on this collection to the From the Grassroots website, however – and this week we’ve added a number of articles and digital stories, many thanks to our fantastic volunteers.
Two digital stories have been created for the website thanks to Anna Somner and Claire Marchetti. Digital stories are short videoclips created using audio from our interviews and images from the project – we held a workshop on creating digital stories as part of our training. In the two digital stories you can hear Conservative Councillor Jeff Coates’ memories of his first political campaigning as a teenager, and Liberal activist David Verney on the 1945 election campaign in Devon.
As well as a number of new biographies and audioclips from our interviewees (including the Devon Council Leaders John Hart and Saxon Spence CBE), another of our volunteers – Imogen Crarer – has written an excellent thematic article on the 1970 General Election in Exeter. On this occasion local politics reflected national politics, with an upset in the Exeter election matching the surprise Conservative victory nationally.
Now we’ve finished ‘From the Grassroots’, a big thank you to all our volunteers and interviewees who made it possible, as well as our partners at the Devon Heritage Centre, Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, the University of Exeter, Plymouth University and of course the Heritage Lottery Fund. We’ll have more from From the Grassroots online in the future, and plenty from our other oral history projects – running and to come!