Time, space, and local history

Local history is vital to our communities – part of libraries’ role is to serve as custodians of history and memory for the people around us.

How can we use partnerships to deliver even better local history offerings? And do we search widely enough when looking for new projects?

State Library’s Memory team made an exciting discovery last year, which developed into a partnership with the radio station ABC 612.

We noticed that Janet Fielding, who played Doctor Who’s companion Tegan in the early 1980s, was born in Brisbane – and was playing a character who was, herself, a Queenslander.

This was too good an opportunity to pass up – we decided to interview Janet for our oral history archives, although she now lives in the UK.

To increase the reach of our project, we contacted radio host Spencer Howson, a lifelong Doctor Who fan who jumped at the chance to speak with Janet in an interview recorded for our archives. You can check out the resulting discussion, and read more about the project, here.

So – when looking for local history connections with your community – don’t forget to look at pop culture as well as esteemed traditional history. Think about who could ally with you to deliver the project and spread it far and wide. Because history might be local, but it also ranges across all of time and space…