Schooling Memories presents a collection of oral history interviews that looks back to the middle decades of the twentieth century (1930s to 1970s) from the viewpoint of students, teachers, school counsellors, and educational administrators. Interviews were conducted as part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project: Educating the Adolescent: An historical study of curriculum, student counselling and citizenship, 1930s–1970s. The project was led by Professor Julie McLeod and undertaken in collaboration with Associate Professor Katie Wright. Most of the interviews were recorded between 2009 and 2012. The website presents an initial group of twenty-four interviews and, in the future, will include all the participants that agreed to have their stories featured.
An important aim of the research project was to preserve the oral history interviews and make them available to other researches (subject to appropriate permissions and consent). You can browse the profiles and summaries of people who were interviewed. Other information, including a map that shows where the interviewees went to school or worked is also available. Interview summaries have been organised in two main ways: the role of the participant (student, teacher, counselling, policy & administration) and the decades relevant to their story: from the 1910s to the 2000s. This website provides a gateway for researchers to discover the archive of oral history interviews conducted as part of this research project.
Some of the research data is also available to researchers through the SOCEY (Studies of Childhood, Education & Youth) Repository, hosted at the Australian Data Archive. Information about how to access to the recordings and transcripts is available on the contact page.
In addition to recording the voices and capturing the educational experiences of a range of educational actors, the project had a number of other aims. It set out to investigate key ideas and debates about how best to educate Australian secondary school students and the role of schooling in shaping social values and citizenship. The research generated important new knowledge about Australia's education history through historical perspectives on current concerns about school values and student wellbeing, by providing novel insights into questions of citizenship and ethics, and by deepening understandings of transnational educational ideas and policy drivers. You can read the various publications that have arisen from the project.
A new book based on this research, Emotion and Nostalgia in Oral Histories of Schooling: Memory, Education and Social Change, by Julie McLeod & Katie Wright, is due to be published in 2023.