Oral history interviews often provide writers with great stories and authentic dialogue. With this activity you can transfer memories to a piece of creative writing.
You will need:
-Audio files and/or transcripts (available below)
1. Four of our storytellers feature on each of the tracks below. Select one interviewee each from the transcripts.
2. Highlight/ Make notes on the sections of the transcript that:
a) Mark a shift in time or location in the interviewees’ story.
b) Document an important event (this could for the interviewee or historically)
c) Prompt a reaction or feeling from you as the reader.
3. Working in groups of between 2 and 4, use your notes to introduce your interviewees’ story to each other.
Discuss and decide:
-Where could your interviewees meet?
-What event/s could have happened to bring them together?
-What topics could they be discussing?
4. Write a short scene in which the two interviewees meet (1-2 pages, 15 min. Activity)
Tips and tricks
In addition to/instead of writing scenes for a play/film, try these alternatives:
- A song lyric
- A written or spoken word poem
- A newspaper article
- A short piece of biographical writing
- A letter
Participants will likely have identified that there are four main topics linking the
interviewees’ stories, and that these relate to the names of each audio set: experiences of migration (roots), growing up (wings), knowledge or experience of prejudice (racism), and various approaches to campaigning (change).
By taking part in this exercise, participants will have thought about how the interviewees have a common heritage brought about by their experiences.
This is a useful activity for expanding creative writing skills and education. Participants can choose what to write according to what inspires them.
For a series of sessions, discuss and relate the four main themes back to participants own experiences:
- Roots – family heritage and experiences of migration (whether between countries, cities, or generalised experiences, such as moving classrooms)
- Wings – growing up, ambitions, and where they have/may take them to.
- Racism – either their own experiences of prejudice or the stumbling blocks that they’ve experienced in achieving their aims.
- Change – differences they’ve seen, or made in their own area (whether countries, cities, regions, or schools) changes they’d like to happen, or how they can achieve their own aims.