Pamela Jane Smith
The Personal Histories Project
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SMS sites and films for our 2010, 2011 and 2012 Personal Histories discussions will be uploaded soon.
The Personal Histories Project is supported by financial grants from Pamela's husband, the Africanist, Thurstan Shaw, the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, the Newton Trust, The Roberts Fund and by the Thriplow Charitable Trust.
The Personal Histories Project is an on going, educational, oral-history research initiative founded by Pamela Jane Smith, of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, in which senior scientists are invited to share their memories and life stories. Through their personal recollections, we better understand the development of archaeology and the origins of current research agenda. The retrospective discussions introduce audiences to the enjoyable experience of listening to life histories as aural and visual sources are created. These sources are then combined with published literature and unpublished archives to enhance our understanding of twentieth-century science. Free DVDs are available to be used as teaching aids.
A truly dedicated team of volunteer producers work with Pamela year round and help her run the Personal Histories Project. Silas Michalakas, Sam Wakeford, Emily Walker, Owen Vince, David Redhouse, Sarah Ashley, Jennifer Bates, Jennifer Bennett, Rebecca Blaylock, Jade Lauren Cawthray, Rachel Crellin, Mark Dyble, Liz Farmar, Harriet Flower, Madeleine Gerry, Sarah-Jane Hacknett, Aran Kalagroulis, Katia Knight, Cynthia Larbey, Mallika Leuzinger, Emma Lightfoot, Dominick McOmish, Preston Miracle, Hannah Moots, Gabe Moshenska, Luiseach Nic Eoin, Sue Oosthuizen, Cassie E. Lloyd Perrin, Alex Piel, Alex Pryor, Hannah Sainsbury, Miranda Semple, Georgina Stewart and Alex Wilshaw have all contributed in different ways to the very successful, over-subscribed Histories events.
Pamela believes that personal narrative is an elegant tool for teaching the history of archaeology. The Personal History recordings capture the tone, volume, silence, emotion and personal meaning of events, the ethos and etiquette. Attitudes are rediscovered and historical descriptions made colourful. A primary merit of oral recollections is that they can help to recreate the complexity and uniqueness of past experiences. We hope that our Project, by using oral methodologies, will enrich our history and encourage a reflective study of our discipline.
Four films are now uploaded to the University's Streaming Media Service (SMS) and two others will soon be available.
An oral history of the New Archaeology of the 1960s: http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1080569.
Professor Colin Renfrew from the University of Cambridge, Professor Mike Schiffer from the University of Arizona and Professor Ezra Zubrow of the State University of New York remember their personal and historical involvement with the development of the New Archaeology during the 1950s and 1960s. Also speaking are Disney Professor Graeme Barker and Professor Paul Mellars from Cambridge, Professors Robin Dennell and Marek Zvelebil from the University of Sheffield and Professor Rob Foley from the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies. The retrospective, oral-historical discussion was held at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, on the 23rd October 2006.
An oral history of the beginnings of gendered analyses in science: http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1080389
Four of most eminent scholars in archaeology, William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, Henrietta Moore, Professor Meg Conkey from University of California at Berkeley, Professor Ruth Tringham also from Berkeley and Professor Alison Wylie from the University of Washington recount and analyse their memories and young experiences as they pioneered early 'post-processual' symbolic, gendered and structural approaches to archaeological analyses during the 1970s. The discussion was held at the University of Cambridge on the 22rd October 2007.
Personal Histories of the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG): http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1080397.
An oral history of TAG through 31 years is presented by the two original founders of TAG, Professor Colin Renfrew, Cambridge, and Professor Andrew Fleming, University of Wales, and Professor Richard Bradley from the University of Reading, Professor Clive Gamble, Royal Holloway, University of London, Professor Timothy Darvill from Bournemouth University, Duncan Brown from the Southampton City Council and Professor Tim Champion from the University of Southampton recounting their memories. The session was filmed at the Southampton Theoretical Archaeology Group on the 16th December 2008.
Oral-histories and the development of human evolutionary research: http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/754446.
Professor Meave Leakey from the famous Leakey family and Head the Koobi Fora Research Project, Professor Chris Stringer from the Natural History Museum, Professor Leslie Aiello, President of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Professor David Pilbeam from Harvard University and Professor Adam Kuper of Brunel University share their memories of their own research into the origins of our species.
A montage comprised of clips from the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 Personal Histories Panels created by Emily Walker is available: http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/756276.
Oral historical accounts of the history of the Institute of Archaeology, UCL A film of the Personal Histories which Stephen Shennan, Director of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, and I organized held at the Institute in London on 11th November 2009, will soon be uploaded.
The panellists included the 96–year-olds, Beatrice de Cardi and Rachel Maxwell-Hyslop, who worked with Tessa and Mortimer Wheeler as they founded the Institute during the 1930s. The late Peter Gathercole and the late John Alexander, graduate students during the early 1950s also spoke. Ian Hodder, one of the Institute's first undergraduates in the late 1960s, and three Directors, John Evans, David Harris and Stephen Shennan contributed their memories. The resulting film will be used during orientation for new students and as a reference source on the Institute's web site.