Life history and life writing research uses life story - whether in the form of oral history, personal narrative, autobiography or biography - as a primary source for the study of history and culture.

Life history and life writing research uses life story - whether in the form of oral history, personal narrative, autobiography or biography - as a primary source for the study of history and culture. Life stories capture the relation between the individual and society, the local and the national, the past and present and the public and private experience. Research involves grappling with theories of memory, relationship and self representation, and with debates about literacy and orality. Many disciplines contribute to the field, including history, sociology, anthropology, literary philosophy, cultural studies and psychology. Life history and life writing researchers present their work in many forms. As well as academic publications, we contribute to radio and television documentaries, auto/biographical drama, reminiscence work, digital and video presentations and exhibitions. Life history and life writing research is, of necessity, concerned with ethics and power relationships, and with the potential for advocacy and empowerment.

Our annual conference: 
Locating women in 'The Folk'
Perspectives on women’s contributions to folk song, folklore, and cultural traditions.
  9 June 2018, University of Sussex 

An interdisciplinary conference, co-presented by Sussex Traditions and The English Folk Dance & Song Society. Supported by The Centre for Memories, Narratives and Histories (Brighton University), and Sussex University’s Music Department.

Women in the Folk logo

Women have always been central to the study and practice of folklore, arts and cultural traditions – as tradition bearers, performers, authors, collectors, storytellers and scholars. However, their contribution hasn’t always received the recognition it deserves; this symposium aims to redress the balance. The deadline for submissions has now passed and the programme will soon be announced. 

To book your place now click HERE.


Our next free event:

Colour and Cruelty. Honoring artist Carry van Biema

Co-organised with the Department of Art History and the Centre for German Jewish Studies at Sussex.

Free, no need to book, all welcome.

Carry van BiemaCarry van Biema at 15

Carry van Biema was born in Hannover, Germany, into a prosperous, intellectual Jewish family. She taught art and art history, mingled with German avant-garde groups, while also displaying a sincere duty to old masters and classic texts, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s writings on colour. In 1930 she published Farben und Formen als lebendige Kräfte (literally: Colours and forms as living forces), an intensely personal and intellectual work on colour in art. 

In this seminar art historian Dr Alexandra Loske (Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museums/University of Sussex) will talk about how, on first hearing about Carry van Biema, she became interested in finding out more about van Biema's life story and only published work. It soon became clear that researching van Biema would go far beyond analysing her work and placing her in the canon of colour literature. This research 'work-in-progress' raises questions about how to combine art history with life writing and how to commemorate victims of the holocaust, in a personal and public context.





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Free event today, 24 April: Writing about colour, art and life under the Nazis. Honoring German-Dutch-Jewish writer……

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RT @TheKeepArchives: Are you interested in going beyond the family tree? Coming soon, 6-week course led by author Shivaun Woolfson explo……

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