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The Listening Project

The Listening Project is a partnership between BBC Radio and the British Library that invites people to share an intimate conversation, to be recorded and broadcast by the BBC and, if suitable, curated and archived by the British Library. These conversations will form a unique picture of our lives today, preserved for future generations.

Visit The Listening Project website (BBC) and get involved.

Throughout the Project, our experts will be discussing these conversations and highlighting related recordings in the archive, on their Sounds blog.

Visit the Sounds blog and join the conversation.

Sounds at the British Library

Our Sounds website showcases over 50,000 recordings from our world-class collection of 3.5 million items.

From 1950s interviews with East Anglian farmworkers to 1970s recordings of children talking about their playground games to British scientists telling the stories behind their greatest discoveries, the archive offers us fascinating insights into history - through the words of those who were there.

Listen now to over 50,000 sounds.

Oral history and research

If the Listening Project has inspired you to learn more about oral history as a powerful means of recording the unique memories and life experiences of people whose stories might otherwise have been lost, get more information from our Oral History web pages. For many people oral history offers a personal insight into history and society, and preserves the accents and language of the past. To find out more about oral history local to you, go to the Oral History Society website.

Oral history in the classroom

Our Learning website suggests many opportunities for using audio material in schools.

For example, Voices of the Holocaust consists of oral history testimonies gathered from survivors in Britain, together with associated information and student activities.

And are you sitting or sat at a computer? Sounds Familiar? Accents and Dialects of the UK captures and celebrates the diversity of spoken English in the second half of the 20th century.

The BBC and the British Library: in partnership

The Library works closely with the BBC in a number of ways, including on several major projects to preserve the voices and memories of the UK. The Millennium Memory Bank, one of the largest oral history collections in Europe, recorded people aged from five to 107 years old, and from communities across the UK, talking about their everyday lives and creating a record of the UK on the eve of the new millennium.

Listen to Millennium Memory Bank recordings