University’s ‘Witness’ Project to document life in Sheffield in the 1980s

Posted on 31/10/2011 by


Students and staff at the  University of Sheffield have begun work on ‘Life in Sheffield in the 1980s’, a new oral history project for students at the Department of History at the University of Sheffield:

‘When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground’. History isn’t just books in the library, it’s also people’s lives and experiences, at home and at work. That’s the starting point of Witness, a new oral history project based in the Department of History, starting in 2011. Each year, a group of students, trained by the Oral History Society, will collaborate with interviewees from Sheffield to research a particular aspect of the city’s past. A sample of interviews, together with an accompanying historical report, will be posted online for free public access. Preserving the voices of Sheffield’s citizens, helping train a new generation of historians, and creating a historical resource for the future – Witness aims to achieve all these things by bringing together students, staff, and Sheffield’s wider community.

The students have received oral history training and will soon start interviewing people who recall Sheffield of thirty years ago, and are seeking people to volunteer to share their memories. Their story was picked up by History Today ( and their also have their own blog (

Posted in: Project News