Changing Communities: An Oral History Project

This year, we are running an oral history-based project for those interested in applying for a humanities degree. The project, titled Changing Communities, will offer Year 12 students an opportunity to think about how community has changed over time, through a series of workshops designed to develop key study skills.

The purpose of the project is to broaden pupils’ experiences outside the classroom and foster the critical thinking and writing skills that will be used to craft a strong university application and essays once at university. In addition, students will be encouraged to express creative ideas that draw on existing and new knowledge, working independently and as a group to think about what community means to them and those they interview.

What is the project?

The project consists of three after-school sessions that will encourage you to write a 1500-2000 word essay answering the following question: How has the concept of community changed over time? At the end, we will have a tutorial-like discussion of your findings.

You will be asked to conduct an oral history interview – this can be an interview with a family member, a teacher, or can be conducted online or over the phone. The interview will form the basis of your essay and you will use other resources, such as academic articles, books, pictures or films to help you answer the question.

Here is the timeline for the project:

  • Friday 26 February: A Research Seminar with Oral Historian Grace Heaton.
  • Wednesday 10 March: Skills Session
  • Wednesday 10 March - Friday 16 April: Essay Writing Period
  • Friday 23 April: Tutorial

All the sessions will take place online.

Why apply?

The Changing Communities project is for you if you would like to:

  • Explore beyond the school curriculum and conduct your own small independent research project: the biggest difference between school and university is probably the amount of independent work that you will do!
  • Attend an Oxford research seminar: this could be a great addition to your personal statement
  • Develop your critical thinking and essay writing skills
  • Produce an essay and discuss your findings in a tutorial-like setting
  • Experience several aspects of academic study at Oxford

Who is it for?

This project is for Year 12 students from non-selective state schools in Christ Church’s link regions, the North East of England and the London borough of Barnet, who want to develop their interest in the humanities outside the classroom. Whilst oral history is an important historical method, interviewing is used in a range of disciplines, such as sociology or political sciences. In addition, the skills that you will be strengthening over the course of the project are crucial for all humanities subjects, so all students who are interested in pursuing a humanities course are encouraged to apply.

The applications for this year's Oral History programme have closed, but have a look at our Explore beyond school page for more ideas of how to pursue your interests outside the classroom.