New College Worcester students help collect memories

Two students interviewing an older person

Heritage Grants

Worcester, Worcestershire, West Midlands
New College Worcester
Students collected stories and discovered what life was like being blind or partially sighted in the past.

The project celebrated 150 years of New College Worcester, a national residential school and college for blind or partially sighted young people.

Young students interviewed 23 former pupils and staff about their boarding school memories.

Training from the Oral History Society helped the students developed interview skills, learn how to use recording equipment and gain the confidence to talk to new people with differing ages and backgrounds.

During the interviews they uncovered fascinating stories from the escapades of bygone students to changing assistance technology. The students also visited the Hive library and archive in Worcester to explore how the recordings could be shared with as many people as possible.

Vice-principal Sian Shaw, said “The students discovered rich details of the College’s history and were able to make direct comparisons with their own present day experiences. It was fascinating to hear the rapport developing over each interview.”

30 hours of full recordings were preserved for the future at the Hive Library while edited highlights were shared through a CD, celebration event and website. The students also created a mobile exhibition and a CD and headphones listening station which continues to tour the area.