Oral history enthusiasts from all parts of the country and the UK met in the historic surrounds of Butler House, Kilkenny for the third annual conference of the Oral History Network of Ireland (OHNI).   “Making Connections: Oral History and Community” took place on the 12th and 13th of September.  Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) was delighted to present Kilkenny’s very own successful oral history project as part of the diverse programme.

oral history network (13)

Leading Irish historians, history collectors, local community groups, curators, archivist, academics and policy practitioners came together for a lively and stimulating mix of training, workshops, presentations, discussions and networking.  The group focused on the connections between oral history and the community in its broadest sense.  The conference programme reflected this emphasis with two ‘Moments in Oral History’ sessions dedicated specifically to community groups.

The panel sessions included a range of topics from music and performance, to stories from rural and urban life including marginalised communities.  They also explored the challenges of collecting and disseminating oral history with modern technology.  The conference concluded with a panel examining the role of oral history within the heritage landscape in Ireland.  The speakers were drawn from every province of Ireland and further afield representing both academic and community-based oral historians.

Kilkenny’s Oral History Project was presented by Martin Rafter (KLP Assistant CEO).  He outlined the history of the project, which was initiated by KLP, co- funded by the Kilkenny/Carlow Education and Training Board and supported by the Heritage Officer.  He outlined how this project supported communities in Kilkenny to explore their own identity and addressed the impact that various historic events had on their lives.