Friday, 27 November 2015

The Keep and Mass Observation Archive

On Tuesday (24 Nov) students from Longhill visited The Keep in Falmer, which contains the archives of Mass Observation, East Sussex Records Office and the Royal Pavilion & Museums Local History Collections.

We met with Suzanne Rose, Education and Outreach Officer for the Mass Observation Archive, who began by giving us a tour of The Keep, letting us know what is kept at The Keep, and how things are conserved. This included looking at one of the cool storage conservation rooms, which stores documents at cold temperatures to preserve them. We also got to see the conservation room where documents, such as maps, books and pictures a repaired.

Suzanne then gave students the opportunity to look at and examine some of the artefacts in the Mass Observation Archive's collection. This included day diaries written by young people, diaries written during the war, daily life flip books created by teenagers and wardrobe content lists from the 1940s written by young people.

Students on the day were interested and engaged with the contents of the diaries, especially those written by other young people, and reading about people's lives during wartime. The session was an excellent introduction to how archives work, and how the Mass Observation Archive can influence Giddy's development.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Oral History Training

Today's fantastic session was led by Dr Rose Holmes from the University of Sussex. At the start of the session she asked the group to interview each other and ask why they wanted to be involved in Giddy and to feed something back to the rest of the group.

These were some of their responses:

- likes history and want to carry on with it throughout school life.
-  interested in history and want to meet older people
- wants to find out how Brighton has changed
- to hear people's personal stories
- wants to learn about people's lives and to see how the app will progress and how it will be shared with wider community.

Rose introduced herself as a University lecturer and informed the pupils that she was going to treat them like University students - and once the pupils relaxed and got talking Rose thought they wouldn't be at all out of place as first year university students!

She talked about what oral history was, its history, why it might be important and how to prepare for an interview.

These are some of the thoughts the group had about how to prepare for an interview:

- think about tone
- body language - open posture to reflect open attitude.
- how can you make yourself appear as relaxed and open as possible
- eye contact - good but not intense eye contact
-Listen to what the interviewee is saying and respond
-Listen - let them talk
-ask open questions
-ease in gently before you get into more personal questioning
- what do you do if someone gets emotional? - be sensitive to their feelings- emotions are natural, give them the opportunity to have a break if necessary.
- break down questions to smaller ones before you get to the BIG questions or how can a broad question be broken down to smaller more specific questions.
- if it becomes quiet, have another question ready (have too many questions)
- you may prepare a set of questions but you can just respond to what comes up

The group were set a series of role play exercises which they really enjoyed, Rose observed and gave feedback on everyone's interviewing skills. She was very impressed by many of the pupils natural ability,

Rose talked about 3 useful interview techniques:

1. Active Listening -  body language, eye contact and facial expressions are very important to help your interviewee feel listened to and feel relaxed to talk. Don't make noises (because of recording) when they are speaking.
2. Open questioning - they asking follow up questions based on their responses to the first question.
3. Guided discussion - how do you steer the conversation back to topics you want to discuss.

Potential issues to deal with:
What if they get upset?
What if they are quiet?
What if they won't talk about what I've asked?
What if someone says something I don't agree with - perhaps something racist or homophobic?

The have gone away with the task of writing a series of questions they might like to ask. The key I think is for the pupils to think about what they'd like to find out about, what interests them?
But also to think about giddy of course and of all the things that might make us feel Giddy.

Under a general umbrella of Youth Culture the themes emerging for questions are:
Music and dancing
Fashion and identity
Beach and seafront
Love and Romance
Hobbies and Pastimes

and from todays session 'friendship' might be one to add to the list.....

Thanks to Jade, Lilah, Izzy and Paige who are going to be setting up their own Giddy blog for all the pupils to add to.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Giddyness at Brighton Museum

This week's session took place at Brighton Museum with the aim being for the pupils to develop a deeper sense of decades 40's, 50's and 60’s and how one influenced the next. 

The group started off by exploring the galleries 'Exploring Brighton' and 'Images of Brighton' recording, observing and drawing, images, objects and oral histories in response to a sequence of 'prompts:

i). Choose an object from 40/50/60's (each group given different time period) - draw and or describe the object (find something unusual, that intrigues you or haven't come across before)- what it looks like and what it was used for. Be detailed. 

ii). Listen to an oral history from 40/50/60's (each group given different time period) write down an interesting quote/sound bite from what you hear.

iii). What did people do at work/home/free time in Brighton in 40/50/60s find an example for each.

After sharing their findings, the fabulous Brighton Museum learning assistant,  Penny Balchin, led a costume handling session looking at the change in clothes from victorian times – 1960’s and how these changes related to other social and political changes in national and internationally. The pupils had great fun trying on costumes, not everyone was willing at first by the end they were all dressing up.  

The last activity demanded imagination and a bit of detective work. The group were presented with an old suitcase and were told it had been left at Brighton Station. The objects inside might provide some clues to who owned the suitcase and why it was left there. Their task was to open the suitcase and carefully take out the objects and then work in groups to come up with a story about the owner/s and what might have happened. They came up with some very imaginative stories and presented them back to each other.

Next week oral history training!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Introduction to Screen Archive South East

Frank Gray from Screen Archive South East met with Longhill pupils today to introduce the film archive and show some potential material we could use including shots of Brighton streets and the beach from the 1950's, primary children from Knoll Primary school carrying on with lessons with their gas masks on from the 40's. Frank asked the group what life may have been like before television and showed some images from the Ice Rink in Brighton which was a popular activity and past time.

Pupil looks at film frames

Using iphone to see film frame images