Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Volunteers are go!

Hello, let me give you an update on what's been happening.

We now have a team of eight volunteers for the oral history interviewing. Everyone is really enthusiastic which is great. I am really enjoying working with the group.

We have had two workshops in May - the first looking at themes and questions for the interviews. This was a very important workshop as OMH is very much about service users researching their own history. The group came up with lots of themes they wanted to explore through the oral history project including: the early days of the movement and how it got off the ground, successes of the service user movement, attitudes and how they have been changed, what influence service users have had on developing services, how has being involved in collective advocacy affected people on an individual level. The group was also keen that we cover the Crisis Centre campaign and recognise the key role service users had in getting advocacy into the Mental Health Act. We also looked at developing questions for the interviews.

The second workshop was a chance for volunteers to look through relevant paperwork for the project and also a refresher about interviewing skills. We also had a chance to do some practice interviews with the voice recorders and microphones.

So what's next? The volunteers are going to interview each other for the archive. This is a chance to do a formal interview, but with someone familiar.

We will then be moving on to carry out oral history interviews over the summer months. I will be starting to get in touch with potential interviewees VERY SOON, so if you would be willing to be interviewed or know someone who would be, please get in touch! Call me at CAPS on 0131 538 7177.

Other things that have been happening are that Jim McGill and I gave a talk to Outlook students in April. This went very well and we both really enjoyed it.

Anne attended the latest meeting for the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival and it seems that there are some exciting opportunities for events we can take part in.

I have met with the Scottish Book Trust to talk to them about their "Days Like These" project as I was thinking of having a way for people to contribute to the archive in writing if they did not want to be interviewed (or in addition to being interviewed!) We are planning to launch "Oor Mad Stories" soon. Watch this space!

I've been out to West Lothian to meet with folk there. Three people from West Lothian have volunteered with OMH which is fantastic.

I went along to the launch of the Scottish Oral History Groups new website recently. This was a great afternoon. The website is a wonderful resource of information about oral history - a point of contact for all who are interested and a way for different groups and individuals involved in oral history to keep in contact and share information.

Jim McGill and I are speaking at an event in Midlothian this week so must get back to preparing for that! Also we have another couple of conferences coming up as well (Oral History Society and a conference around Student Mental Health and Wellbeing) so it's a busy time for OMH!

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