Shelly Grant retires from National Library

National Library staffer Shelly Grant in 1985 with the new Studer A-820 tape recorder

National Library staffer Shelly Grant in 1985 with the new Studer A-820 tape recorder

The National Library of Australia will next week farewell one of its leading oral history professionals when Shelly Grant retires after more than three decades of public service.

Shelly began work at the National Library of Australia (NLA) in 1984 when she took up a position with the oral history team. She was tapped on the shoulder in an interview for a manuscripts librarian, and from that beginning blossomed a career in which she played a vital role in the development and preservation of the Library’s Oral History and Folklore collection.

She was snapped up by Sound Preservation and Technical Services (SPATS) and developed a remarkable technical skill and knowledge around sound recording and preservation. Her librarian qualifications, coupled with her Political Science/History degree and passion for the sound of the voice as the carrier of historical narrative saw a career-long commitment to the preservation of the collection. She managed SPATS and ensured the successful 15-year plan to preserve the collection was implemented.

Shelly later moved to the role of Senior Librarian for Oral History and Folklore, and not only oversaw the growing collection, but managed staff and interviewers with equal care and aplomb.

For the past five years she has been the Curator of the Oral History and Folklore Branch, managing its programs, shaping its collection and participating in many significant projects.  She has had many key roles, providing training to countless interviewers including those in the Bringing Them Home Oral History Project and the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history projects.  She was the key manager of the Beyond the Cables – Australian Ambassadors to China oral history project, and has had full oversight of the History of Australian geoscience oral history project to name just a few. She has also worked tirelessly on the Library’s Digital Library systems, including audio delivery.

Shelly is retiring from the Australian Public Service with her farewell scheduled for 27 August 2018. Her legacy is an extraordinarily well-organised and managed collection, but no one doubts that more achievements will be added to an already impressive list.

National Library staff at oral history project launch 'Beyond the Cables'

Shelly Grant (pictured second from left) with NLA staff at the launch of the ‘Beyond the Cables’ oral history project.

Oral History Victoria 2018 Award – Call for entries

Oral History Victoria 2018 Award – Call for entries

Oral historians based in Victoria (anyone engaging with oral history) are encouraged to apply for this annual award judged by Oral History Victoria (OHV). The award is open to oral historians working in any field, across community, academic or professional history. The award winner will have been responsible for an oral history project or output that is innovative, excellent and inspirational.

Eligibility: To be eligible, projects / outputs must have been active (in creation and / or production) in 2017 and / or 2018. Applicants must be based in Victoria, though their project may involve oral history work interstate or overseas. Applicants need not be members of OHV, though they will be added to the OHV mail list and encouraged to join. Members of the OHV committee may not apply.

The award winner will receive a prize of $250, and all shortlisted applicants will also be posted on the OHV website. The judging panel may award a joint prize and / or Commendations for Excellence to outstanding runners-up. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to make a short presentation about their project or output at the OHV annual general meeting on Thursday 25 October 2018.

How to Apply: Please visit our OHV Award page for information about entry requirements and details of previous winners.

An Australian at the helm of the International Oral History Association

Congratulations to Dr Sue Anderson on being elected President of the International Oral History Association at the biannual conference in Finland mid June.

Sue is the immediate past president of Oral History Australia and editor of the OHA Journal.

A lecturer in Indigenous Cultures and Australian Society at the University of South Australia, she has worked for 25 years with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as an oral historian, archaeologist, and cultural consultant.

Her research interests are oral history, Indigenous culture and history, Australian history.

Sue is pictured below (centre) with the IOHA Council. Photo by Essi Nerg.