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Oral history

Oral History: Witness Seminars

Witnesses at the Gulf War 1991 Seminar with permission of Crown CopyrightSince 1986 the ICBH Witness Seminar Progamme, directed by Dr Michael Kandiah, has organised over 100 oral history 'witness seminars', creating an unparalleled oral history archive - which are best described as group interviews - on a variety of topics ranging from the 1982 Falklands War, the resistance to the Poll Tax, the failure of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 and the Friends of the Nunhead Cemetery, an examination of community activism.

What is a witness seminar?

Witness seminars are conducted and recorded in front of an audience of expert academics and other interested individuals, from which an agreed transcript is published for the use of scholars and practitioners. These Witness Seminars are widely acknowledged by historians, academics in other disciplines and practitioners as important study and research tools.

Forthcoming seminars

Our current seminar programme includes seminars on British embassies in Latin America, the High Commission in Ottawa, Intelligence and Deterrence in the Cold War, the Child Poverty Action Group and three on the role of the United Nations, marking its 70th birthday.

For more details, click on the 'Forthcoming seminars' link on the left.

Online Seminar Archive

Our aim is to make the annotated transcripts of all the witness seminars freely available, with introductions by experts and other useful background information. Our latest publication is the seminar 'The Resource Allocation Working Party - Origins, Implementation and Development, 1974-1990', available to download as a pdf.

Many other witness seminar transcripts are also available on this website, annotated and published with introductions by experts and other useful background information, such as chronologies of events.




For any other information about the witness seminar programme, please email Dr Michael Kandiah ( or Dr Virginia Preston (



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