Putting international graduates at the heart of Portsmouth's history

Archive image of students with member of staff

Can you help build our oral history?

  • 27 September 2022
  • 2 min read

Were you an international student studying at Portsmouth? If so, we’d love to hear your story!

University of Portsmouth researchers are starting a new project – one which puts graduates at the heart of the story of higher education in the city. By talking to former international students, who were in the city between the 1950s and 1990s, we hope to add to our understanding of what it was like to be a student.

Using Oral History interviews, our aim is to get a much fuller and more colourful account of what it was like to be a Portsmouth student who studied at earlier institutions, possibly away from home for the first time. 

What are oral histories?

Oral History is a technique that scholars have used for several decades to uncover histories and memories that aren’t readily kept in archives. Oral histories allow researchers to get a glimpse of the personal aspects of the past – to explore what people thought and felt about their lives, and the world around them. 

Portsmouth has attracted students from around the world throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, we have very little evidence of what their experiences were like. And that’s where you come in! International students, even more than ‘home’ students, often didn’t stay in the area very long so there are very few traces of them within the University archives.


What are we looking to find?

What drew people to the city, what they thought when they first arrived, what they did with their time outside the classroom, and more. Anything you can tell us about student life in Portsmouth and what came next!

What does it involve?

Oral histories involve an interview. If you’re interested in taking part, you’ll be invited to meet with a researcher (either in person or online) for approximately 1-2 hours. We would, of course, give you lots more information about the project, what to expect, what we will do with your interviews and your right to withdraw from the project at any time. 

We have some key questions we would like to ask you, but would also love to hear any anecdotes, funny stories or memories that you’d like to share. We’d also love to see any photographs or keepsakes you have cherished from your time in Portsmouth and would like to ask for a copy, or photograph, of them to add to the University’s archives.

Sounds great, how do I take part? 

If you'd like to be interviewed, we’d love to hear from you!

Complete this Google Form or email jodi.burkett@port.ac.uk or melanie.bassett@port.ac.uk.