This is the abstract of a paper that I will be presenting at EU GEO in May.
Time and space, voice and place: creating, criticising and re-evaluating oral history maps
Digital oral history mapping has become an increasingly common methodology used to explore everyday experiences of urban landscapes and places. However, projects sometimes appear nostalgic and uncritical, satisfied with simply connecting voice to place and eschewing the disruptive potential of digital media to problematise or challenge narratives of space and place.
This paper presents a critical re-evaluation of a small project, Cork’s Main Streets, created using oral histories recorded in 2014 and 2015. It focuses on the medieval heartland of Cork city, an area that has recently experienced urban decline. Some of the participants in the oral history project hinted that taking part was a way for them to try and help counteract that decline by promoting the heritage of their streets.
Four years since the oral histories were recorded and a few months since a digital revamp of the project, this paper will examine its relevance today, at a time when significant re-development is underway along one section of the medieval main street. This will be combined with recent responses from participants, who have now had time to reflect on the nature and impact of their contributions. In this way, the paper will illustrate how responses to place are mediated through time, and not simply through space.