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How it works

Their life. In their words.

How it works: Welcome
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What is the process?

The Memory Archive is about recording peoples personal histories so that their memories can be preserved. There has always been a strong tradition of oral history in the world going back thousands of years, but as our lives get increasingly busy we have less and less time to capture that.

 

So The Memory Archive is a way of preserving the memories of your loved ones.

 

The concept is very simple.

 

The first thing we do, which is really important, is to have a chat with both the family and the interviewee at the same time. This helps build up a level of trust and ensures that there are no surprises. We talk about what we'll be doing and make sure that everyone is comfortable. And we agree ground rules about what we will and won't be discussing. Many people have areas of their life that they'd rather not remember and so we respect that. Similarly, people often have things that they're especially proud of and they'd like to concentrate the conversation on those achievements. 

(Whatever ground rules are agreed, there's always the opportunity to revise them before we finish and to 'tweak' the final outputs so they meet the expectations of the interviewee).

So once we've met everyone, we arrange a series of follow up conversations with the interviewee. We have to ensure they're comfortable in their environment, so these might be in their home, it might be a communal area in a care facility or it might even be their favourite pub! It's entirely where they feel the most comfortable.

And then we chat about their lives with a structured approach that gives them the opportunity to think back and reflect on themselves, their environment, their hopes, dreams and sometimes, even their disappointments. The conversations typically last about an hour, but breaks can be taken whenever it suits. 

We bring with us our discreet but state-of-the-art recording technology and we set it up in such a way that interviewees quickly forget that it's there. Even when people think they have nothing to say, it's surprising how a skilled listener can draw them out of themselves, and without exception, everyone is interesting.

The magic ingredient here is active listening, and that's what we are expert at. Often, passing phrases can open avenues of conversation that might otherwise have been ignored and so we give the interviewee our full attention throughout, seeking clarity when necessary at a later date so as not to interrupt the flow of the conversation.

Over a number of meetings, best organised over a number of weeks which gives the interviewee time to reflect and often triggers additional memories, our gentle prompts support the creation of an oral autobiography. Typically, 10 one hour interviews will provide about 60,000 words.

The final session is used to establish points of clarity in the narrative that we have captured digitally and by this point we've established a friendship based on a common experience and trust has been established. 

The digital recordings can then be transcribed into written text, and with minor structural tweaks to ensure that the narrative remains consistent, we are able to create a beautiful hardback book from their words. We can incorporate special photographs into these and also annotate the narrative with curated pictures of the places and sometimes the people it describes. This book, along with the digital recordings on CD, is then presented back to the interviewee and the family to keep and cherish and forms a complete record of the life and times of the interviewee. 

It's their life. In their words. 

Get in touch today for a chat, and lets capture the memories that make people who they are. Because memories are priceless.

Services and Prices

How it works: FAQ
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