National Life Stories Goodison Fellowship

A woman sitting on a couch, with earphones
Lightbox, Woking - In their own words - Artists' Voices from the Ingram Collection, 2017

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.

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The National Life Stories Goodison Fellowship series aims to increase public knowledge and awareness of oral history, particularly of the collections of National Life Stories.

This award is open to anyone resident in the United Kingdom who wishes to use the NLS oral history collections to reflect on life stories and memory, and share the results of their research in the public domain.

Outcomes from the Fellowship could be a series of national newspaper or magazine articles, an in-depth radio programme or series of programmes, a book, a journal article, an exhibition, a series of podcasts or an online or printed education resource.

The award is entitled the Goodison Fellowship in recognition of Sir Nicholas Goodison’s much-valued role as Chairman of National Life Stories from 2003 to 2015.

Past Goodison Fellowships

  • The 2020-2021 Fellowship was awarded to Suzanne Joinson, award-winning writer and academic. Suzanne is researching three life story interviews with creative women connected to Sussex: Juliet Pannett, archived under Artists’ Lives, and Ann Sutton and Barbara Mullins from the collection Crafts Lives. By focusing on these three recordings Suzanne will celebrate the unique contributions of these artists, and map the ways their individual stories link to a bigger cultural picture. For more information see the Sound and Vision blog.

  • The 2018-2019 Fellowship was awarded to oral historian and playwright Rib Davis. Rib has been researching NLS’s extensive collections of Holocaust testimony, in order to write a play script exploring how interviewees remember events – particularly of trauma – at different stages of their lives. For more information see the Sound and Vision blog.

  • In 2016 two Fellowships focusing specifically on Artists’ Lives were awarded to Michael Bird, and jointly to Hester Westley and Isabel Sutton, as part of a generous grant from the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation. Michael authored a book Studio Voices (Lund Humphries/British Library, 2018) exploring twentieth century British Art and curated an innovative exhibition at the Lightbox Gallery in Woking. You can read about the outcomes of Michael's Fellowship in his case study. Hester and Isabel focused their research on the influential Bath Academy of Art at Corsham (1947-1972). They have written an audio article for publication online, an academic article, and spoken at a national conference.

  • The 2015 inaugural Goodison Fellows were food writers and academics Polly Russell and Barley Blyton, whose jointly-held Fellowship was entitled ‘Food Matters’ and focused on over 300 interviews from the project Food: From Source to Salespoint, many of which are now available online on British Library Sounds. Polly and Barley researched and co-presented a dedicated episode of BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme, and also published an article in the national press, an academic article, and presented at several conferences. You can read more about the outcomes of Polly and Barley's Fellowship in their case study.

Related projects

National Life Stories: Crafts Lives

Memories and experiences of independent designer makers working in British studio crafts

National Life Stories: An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry in the UK

Life stories of people involved in the industry's development and operation in Britain

National Life Stories: Legal Lives

In-depth interviews with people involved in the legal and criminal justice system

National Life Stories: An Oral History of British Science

An Oral History of British Science is a national collection of in-depth, life story audio interviews with scientists and engineers.

All projects

Goodison Fellows

…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