I’ve always been frustrated that so many people record oral histories just to use in an academic paper or to deposit in an archive, thus depriving the wider world of so many wonderful stories.

The name that Roy Nevitt and I gave to the organisation we founded in 1984, the Living Archive , sums up the philosophy that made our approach different. We wanted to collect primary source material, particularly people’s memories, about our local area Milton Keynes. We then used that material as the inspiration for all sorts of creative activities including plays, books, songs, dance, sculpture, exhibitions, films, websites and radio programmes that could be given back to the community that inspired them and they could be used a source of pride and community celebration.

If you are recording people’s stories, I’d urge you to find ways of sharing them, and hopefully the ideas on this website will help you. It may be that you are not the one to do the transformation, but one of Living Archive’s mottos is, ‘Dig Where You Stand’. You don’t need to seek out the famous or notorious celebrities to find stories to inspire you, for the people with those stories to tell are your neighbours.

Likewise the talents to transform those stories into film, dance, plays websites etc. are also there in your community if you ask around. Occasionally you might need a little outside professional help, but I never cease to be amazed at what incredible talents people do have.