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Press release

  • 13 May 2008

Global life story day celebrated with holiday tales


16th May Life Story Day

From postcards to personal diaries to video documentaries, the various ways in which people recount their lives is to be celebrated at the University of Sussex on Friday (16 May) as part of the first International Day for Sharing Life Stories.

The event, which is organised by the University's Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research, will give people an opportunity to share their holiday stories in an interview booth and take part in a global story-telling chain. There will also be opportunities to find out about the University's unique collection of 20th century diaries, the Mass Observation Archive, as well as hear the true tales of migrants' journeys and listen to the songs to which people fell in love - and out of love.

"Life story-telling is more and more popular and increasingly being recognised as central to personal and community wellbeing," says Dr Margaretta Jolly, co-director of the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research at Sussex.

"Sussex has an exceptionally strong tradition of life history research. We'll showcase our work and invite everyone to find out more about telling their lives in a variety of ways, including using our interview booth, adding to a collective timeline and enjoying a range of oral history, video memoirs and life writing exhibitions.

"Community oral histories, autobiographical or biographical writings, family albums, health stories, blogging and digital networks are tools for collective memory-making and popular representation. We believe that they can be a powerful way for communities and groups to find identities and to educate or lobby for social change."

The University of Sussex's event takes place between 12 noon and 2pm outside the Gardner Centre building on the University's campus in Falmer, Brighton.

Parallel events to share and gather life stories will take place in Africa, Australia, Europe, India and in North and South America. More than 200 individuals and organizations, including the British Oral History Society and Studs Terkel, have endorsed the establishment of the International Day for Sharing Life Stories. You can add your support at

The International Day for Sharing Life Stories was launched by The Museum of the Person International Network (Brazil, Portugal, USA and Canada) and the Center for Digital Storytelling (USA).

Notes for editors

For more information, contact Dr. Margaretta Jolly at The Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research 01273-873585

To find out more about the Centre for Life History and Life Writing, visit

University of Sussex Press Office contacts: Jacqui Bealing and Maggie Clune, 01273 678888,

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