On the Record is recognised nationally and internationally for our role in co-producing arts and heritage projects with groups who are otherwise under-represented in culture. We specialise in oral history, co-production and creative media. We are a not-for-profit organisation guided by co-operative principles, founded in 2012.
Oral history is a shared process of recording and archiving people's lived experiences. Before anything else we listen. We ask “what was it like to be a stay-at-home dad then?” “What is it like to be a hospital cleaner now?” Each person’s account is in its own way unique.
Our work explores places, communities and movements from multiple perspectives: at Speakers’ Corner we imagined past moments of London’s famous site of open air oratory from the speaker’s soapbox, the heckler’s hide-out and the gathered crowd. We weave together subjective accounts of lived experience to tell complicated and rich stories.
We collaborate with the people we record, and whose stories we tell. Our projects often bring together different generations or groups of people who have something to learn from each other, to connect ‘what has happened’ with ‘what could be’. Working together to co-produce archives and creative media we share authority and build new connections. We explore past experiences to help people re-imagine what is possible in the present and future.
Our work is recognised as excellent and has won national and international awards, including the Women’s History Network Community Prize (2020), Sound Walk September Prize (2020) and a London Community Story Award (2021) from the GLA. Our staff and volunteers are frequently invited to contribute to education, policy, national and international heritage networks, academic conferences and seminars and to appear on media stations.
In addition to the projects we run ourselves, On the Record contributes significantly towards nurturing growth, creativity, collaboration and diversity in many sectors by providing specialist advice and training to 15-20 groups annually. We have provided support to flagship cultural institutions, including Somerset House, Kiln Theatre and Bishopsgate Library, public sector bodies, parks, non-profits, museums, archives, universities, non-profits and even a Malawian public health project. We also work with artists such as Modus Arts whose amazing https://tapeletters.com drew on our specialist oral history project management advice. Tape Letters has engaged hundreds of people of Pakistani heritage in the UK and reached up to a million people through the dissemination of their work.