Dr Rob Perks has been Lead Curator of Oral History at the British Library since 1988, and Director of National Life Stories since 1996. Rob leads the oral history team at the BL and his interests include: oral history, memory and narrative: its development, interpretation and presentation in Britain and around the world; oral history and audio-visual archives: issues of collection, documentation, description, access and presentation; the development of UK local and community history, and representations of personal testimonies in public history contexts; the retrieval of 'hidden' and marginalised histories through oral history methodology; and corporate and business oral history. As a Winston Churchill Fellow he researched nationalism, memory and oral history in Eastern Europe, and has acted as a special historical advisor to the Council of Europe in Romania. He was Co-ordinator of the Millennium Oral History Project, a collaborative initiative between the British Library and BBC Regional Broadcasting, and the largest oral history project ever mounted in Britain.
Rob acts as an advisor to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (formerly HLF), the Centre for Life History Research at the University of Sussex, and the Canadian Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg. Currently he co-ordinates the BL’s relationship with the BBC for ‘The Listening Project’ airing four times weekly on BBC Radio 4; and sits on the Project Board for ‘Unlocking Our Sound Heritage’, an ambitious five-year £18.8m project to digitally preserve 100,000 of the nation’s most rare and vulnerable sound recordings, both at the British Library and around the UK, working with a consortium partnership network of ten regional audio preservation centres. He previously served as a Council Member of the International Oral History Association; as a Board Member of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council South East (MLAC-SE), 2002-2007; and was Visiting Professor at the University of Huddersfield, 2008-2011, from where in 2007 he was awarded an honorary DLitt in recognition of his work in the field.