Interviewing

The procedure

Telephone your interviewee and have a general chat to find out a little bit about them.
Introduce yourself and give your prospective interviewee as much information as possible. Explain clearly who you are working for, what your oral history project is about,  the outcomes of the project i.e. the interviews are being collected for an archive/to go online./to be part of research for a piece of writing/research for a play/film/television documentary/drama.

You need avoid doing the interview on the phone, you just want to establish if you think they have something to contribute and will be a good interviewee. Let them know that you will come to their home to interview them and arrange for a mutually convenient time.
I have never had any problems, but you should let somebody else know where you are and going and when.

Check your equipment before you go. Test the digital recorder, check the batteries and main lead, check the external mic if you are using one, and the headphones.

Logging and archiving the interview

Copy the interview onto a computer via the USB lead. Back this copy up onto an external hard drive or make a CD copy.

Logg the content of the interview. i.e. write chronological notes of the content of the interview

Write a short synopsis  – i.e. “XXXXX came to the UK in the 1950s, in this interview he speaks about his life in the UK. He recalls the Bristol Bus Boycott but was not directly involved.  He talks about his work and family. He refers to specific incidents and speaks about his experience of racism and his feelings about living in the UK.”

Interview Questions

Below are some suggested questions for an interview – you do not need to stick to these but they will help as a guideline.
Background/biography
Begin by introducing yourself – i.e. this is xxxx interviewing xxxx on Tuesday March 1st 2011
Ask your interviewee to introduce themselves
Can I begin by asking you a few biographical details – where were you born, where were your parents born.
(if interviewee not born in the UK) When did you come to the UK
When did you come to Bristol
Can you tell me a little bit about your reasons for coming to the UK
What did you think it was going to be like

Bristol in the 1960s
What were your first impressions of the UK/of Bristol
What was Bristol like in the 1960s – very open question this one, some interviewees might describe people and places and you may want to pursue this
Where did you live and what was it like
Where did you work and what was it like
Can you tell me about any family of friends in Bristol at this time.

The Bristol Bus Boycott
Were you in Bristol during The Bus Boycott in 1963
Can you tell me about your involvement/feelings about the BBB
Did you work for The Bristol Omnibus Company?
Did you know anyone who worked for them
How do you think it was reported in the media
What was the effect of the Bristol Bus Boycott on your family

Do you think that the Bristol Bus Boycott contributed to the 1965 Race Relations Act

Impact of the BBB
How significant was the BBB in the history of race relations in Bristol – and race relations elsewhere
Can you tell me about any other reasons why you feel the BBB was important and significant
Can you describe any specific incidents
Did you feel there were racist issues in Bristol in the 1960s
How have things changed – both generally and personally
How has political activism changed in Bristol since the 1960s
What do people protest about today – and how do they protest
If there was a bus boycott today what do you think it would be about
How do you think immigrants have been perceived since 1963 – i.e. Eastern European/ Polish, Somali.
Is there anything else you would like to add

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