Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Fieldworker Gathering

On Saturday 9 March 2013 members of the Study Team met with some of those who have undertaken fieldwork to reflect on their work.

So far, 58 people (28 men and 30 women) have been interviewed by 16 fieldworkers. The ages of interviewees range form 21 years to 95 years old.

Extracts from interviews already conducted were introduced by each fieldworker.  This was followed by reflections from the group on what had been heard.  Listening in a group proved to be an interesting exercise in its own right as the subsequent discussion drew-out aspects of the recordings not otherwise obviously apparent.  In addition, the great detail contained in the brief extracts listened to at the gathering demonstrated the value of conducting this type of work in that we are already capturing a lot of information on life and society across Dumfries & Galloway.  

Some themes which have yet to come-up in interviews are those which can be termed, in broad terms, folk life, such as traditional narrative, custom & belief etc.  This probably stems from the necessary focus so far on the functions of life and society.  As work continues, fieldworkers can open-up their interviews to allow for coverage of the non-functional or the internal world of individuals.

In thinking about what should be done with the material being collected it was noted that whatever is done, the material should be made as widely and freely available as possible. One way in which this might be achieved will be by working with schools to offer the material as a resource for them to use as part of Curriculum for Excellence.   
The intention of the EERC to mount road shows in which the material is presented as a small exhibition was considered a good idea – especially if such road shows were held in the places where the recordings were made. 

The success of short publications such as the EERC’s Flashbacks series and those of the Stranraer and District Local History Trust suggests that this would be a good additional way in which to disseminate results. 

Almost all fieldworkers intend to conduct further interviews and would be interested in preparing transcriptions of interview recordings after suitable training and guidance.

This was a stimulating and encouraging gathering which provided an opportunity to meet and share ideas.  Another such event will be held shortly for those who were unable to attend. 

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