Oral History Project
A unique project drawing on the practices of both choreography and oral history.
Oral History is the art of collecting spoken testimonies – these are personal, intimate and unique audio records that illuminate much about the time and society that has been lived through.
As part of Akademi’s Heritage Project, more than 30 pupils from across Krishna Avanti Primary School (Harrow), Pagrav Dance Company and Sanskruti Cambridge took part in a multi-layered project with Oral Historian Laura Owen and Lead Dance Artists Krishna Zivraj-Nair, Linnéa Husmann, Parbati Chaudhury and Olivia White.
Participants collected precious oral testimonies from elderly family and community members, and used this experience to devise a choreographic response, drawing upon themes of diaspora, migration and identity.
Oral Historian, Laura Owen, has produced a series of podcasts with the participants of Akademi’s Oral History project.
They interviewed family, friends, and elders to find out stories about their migration, culture and memories. Some participants shared thoughts about their identity as an Indian child in the UK and how they remain connected with their South Asian heritage by engaging in music and culture.
Migration, culture and memory
This episode of Akademi’s oral history podcast series explores themes of migration, culture and memory with students from Krishna Avanti Primary School, Harrow. After 5 oral history training sessions, students interviewed family, friends, and elders to find out more about their childhood memories, migration stories and the challenges they faced. In this episode we hear clips from some interviews recorded by Krishna Avanti students – including Rajesh’s story of growing up in Kenya and June’s memories of World War II in England.
Family stories and life experiences
This episode of Akademi’s oral history podcast series showcases the interviews recorded by students of Sanskruti School of Dance in Cambridge. We hear stories passed down through families and the life experiences of family and friends of Sanskruti students including stories about their migration to the UK, South Asian culture in the diaspora and the importance of music to their interviewee’s lives. In this episode we hear clips from students’ interviews – including Gita’s thoughts about her identity as an Indian child in the UK and Vivek’s memories of migrating from India to Australia via the USA.
Connecting with South Asian heritage through music, prayer and cultural events
This final episode of Akademi’s oral history podcast series showcases the interviews recorded by students of Pagrav Dance Company, who underwent training in oral history as part of Akademi’s Heritage Project. This episode explores how the interviewees remain connected with their South Asian heritage throughout their lives in the diaspora by engaging in music, prayer, and cultural events. We’ll hear stories including Lata’s cultural connections to India whilst living in Africa and the UK and Chandni’s experiences of being one of the only South Asian girls at school.