Goodison Fellowship 2016: Artists' Voices

Michael Bird, St Ives by Peter Garrett

Michael Bird is an author and researcher. He used his time as Goodison Fellow in 2016-17 to explore the Artists’ Lives collection in depth.

Published date:

I ranged at will through more than fifty interviews – still just a fraction of the total

Key points

  • Artists' Voices exhibition, May-July 2017
  • Artists’ Lives in Modern Britain book, due in 2018

Michael Bird used his time as Goodison Fellow to explore the Artists’ Lives collection in depth: “I ranged at will, sampling and pursuing, following threads and taking detours through (at the last count) more than fifty interviews – still just a fraction of the total.”

Michael used this time to great effect, gathering audio material for a startling exhibition ‘In their own words: Artists’ Voices from the Ingram Collection’ at the Lightbox, Woking which ran May-July 2017. Michael is also working on a ‘history from below’ book exploring post-war art in Britain, provisionally entitled Artists’ Lives in Modern Britain, for Lund Humphries in partnership with British Library Publications, due 2018.

For more information on both the 2016-17 Fellowships, read the Fellows’ reflections in the 2016-2017 National Life Stories Review and Accounts, p26-27.

Oral History case studies

…To create an archive which will be part of the Library is really a privilege…

Dvora is a collaborative PhD student exploring the social world of Crown Court clerks from the 1970s onwards.

…I ranged at will through more than fifty interviews – still just a fraction of the total…

Michael Bird explored the Artists' Lives collection to produce an exhibition and a forthcoming book

…The Fellowship allowed us to dedicate ourselves to researching the food recordings and finding different audiences for them…

Polly Russell and Barley Blyton are food writers and academics. They were 2015 Goodison Fellows at National Life Stories where they focused on the 'Food: From Source to Salespoint' oral history interviews.

Oral history projects

National Life Stories Goodison Fellowship

This award of £5,000 allows the Goodison Fellow a period of sustained engagement with the oral history collections in order to share the results in public domain.

National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

Artists’ lives and work in their own words

National Life Stories: Architects' Lives

Documenting the life and work of British architects and their associates

National Life Stories: Authors' Lives

In-depth interviews with leading authors working in Britain today

All projects