Helen Foster

Research Associate/ Outreach Officer - East Midlands Oral History Archive

Contact details:Helen Foster

  • Email: hlf8@le.ac.uk
  • Tel: +44 (0) 116 252 5065
  • Office: Room 10, 3-5 Salisbury Road, Leicester, LE1 7QR
  • Office Hours: Monday - Wednesday
  • Website: East Midlands Oral History Archive

Personal details:

I worked for many years as a heritage professional in Scotland, devising and delivering interpretation in historic buildings for the National Trust for Scotland and learning and engagement with digital archives for Historic Environment Scotland. I hold a BA (Hons) in Drama and English from Roehampton and an MA in Heritage and Identity from the University of Birmingham.

Teaching:

I am a qualified teacher of English, tutor adults in Creative Writing and have taught on an undergraduate module in Creative Non-Fiction at the University of Strathclyde. I am also a freelance trainer in heritage learning and engagement.

Research:

I am completing a practice-based AHRC-funded interdisciplinary PhD in Creative Writing and Oral History at the University of Strathclyde. My creative work is a historical novel, set against the backdrop of the East Midlands machine-lace industry. Alongside this, a critical thesis examines the possibilities that extant oral histories offer to the writer looking to reimagine a 20th century fictional setting. My ongoing research interests cut across the disciplines of creative writing, heritage studies and oral history, considering creative aspects of oral history and oral history and reminiscence practices as tools for wellbeing.

Publications:

Foster, H L. ‘Finding Poetry in the Sound Archives: Creatively Repurposing Oral Histories for Re-presentation and Engagement’, Oral History 46:1 (2018), pp.111-118.

As a writer of fiction, my creative work has been published in Mslexia magazine and presented at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Selected Papers:

‘Overheard in the Archives: Oral Histories as Creative Inspiration’, National Association of Writers in Education Annual Conference, York, November 2017.

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