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University of Leicester is one of 10 UK-wide partners who are helping save the nation’s sounds as part of the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project.
The Midlands Hub of the UOSH project is based in Special Collections, in the David Wilson Library at the University of Leicester. We have been preserving collections from across the Midlands of England, including from:
- Coventry Archives
- Coventry University Library
- Derbyshire Record Office
- Forge Mill Needle Museum
- Nottingham Central Library
- Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland (ROLLR)
- Sword Dance Archive (SDA)
- Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service (WAAS)
The collections vary from oral histories of Nottingham before World War One, to recordings of Sword Dances from across the UK, to local BBC radio recordings from across the region. Each collection we have worked with has proved to have notable recordings. Among them there are:
- Detailed memories of World War Two from Worcestershire Archives.
- The audio archive of the radical Banner Theatre company in Birmingham.
- Programmes about archaeology and national transport from BBC Radio Leicester.
- Audio records and memories of new towns come from Shropshire Archives (Telford) and Forge Needle Museum (Redditch).
- Material about authors DH Lawrence and Colin Wilson from the University of Nottingham.
- Oral histories of the car industry from Coventry Archives and Coventry University.
As well as the preservation work, we have welcomed many volunteers, both face-to-face and virtually, who have provided invaluable help with all aspects of our work. We have also run two major outreach projects. One, with Museum Studies students at the University, has created a module that enables the students to work with our sound archives to create exhibitions designed to engage the public with sound. The other, a partnership with Leicestershire County Council, has used our sound archives to create web resources for carers who work with people who have dementia. Both projects have demonstrated how working with sound archives can be a rewarding process that can create useful and enjoyable resources.
Find out more about the University of Leicester Unlocking Our Sound Heritage hub here:
Link to student work: https://sites.google.com/view/listeninginlockdown/home
Link to reminiscence material: https://www.cultureleicestershire.co.uk/projects/unlocking-sounds/