Collecting Memories: Oral History With British Computer Pioneers

Speaker: Tom Lean
Date: Tue 28th March 2023
Time: 17:00 for 17:30
Location: Manchester Metropolitan University, John Dalton Building. Room E0.05



About the seminar

In 2009 National Life Stories at the British Library began a major project to record the lives of British scientists and engineers in their own words. An Oral History of British Science was intended to be a national collection of science and technology oral history and has grown into a unique resource, with well over 1000 hours of recordings available to the public.

Many of the first interviews in the project were conducted with British computer scientists from the 1940s and 1950s, whose work laid the foundations for the digital world of today. In this talk I will reflect on what we can learn from listening to these interviews with British computing pioneers, and on the value of oral history for preserving a richer and more nuanced account of the past.

About the speaker

Dr Tom Lean describes himself as a “Historian of tech, sci and farm insecticides; oral historian of sci and tech; curator; 8 bit computer geek, author of Electronic Dreams”' He holds a PhD from Manchester University on 1980’s Personal Computing, which became the book “Electronic Dreams: How 1980’s Britain Learned to Love the Computer”. He is currently a associate curator at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.

Remote Access

The seminar is available via Zoom for anybody who is not able to atend in person. Go to https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82602680945?pwd=U2czMnJ1MzBTZTQ2cFB5TWFjcXNYdz09 to attend remotely.