Talking Quilts Oral History Project

Talking Quilts will capture the stories of today’s quiltmakers in their own words

Talking Quilts: Saving Quilters’ Stories

What’s it all about?

Talking Quilts is an exciting three-year oral history project which aims to document, preserve and share the UK’s rich and diverse quilting heritage. The project is supported by the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Talking Quilts will capture the stories of today’s quiltmakers in their own words through recorded and transcribed interviews, together with photographs of their quilt. Volunteers will be trained in oral history methods for interviewing and transcribing. The project will provide opportunities for the public to learn about our quilting heritage through regional events, as well as providing a free digital archive of quilter’s stories.

Behind the scenes
Talking Quilts is community based, led by Quilters’ Guild members and involving both Guild members and non-members. The project will be delivered locally by trained volunteers. It is co-ordinated by the Talking Quilts Committee (Chair: Dr Pauline Macaulay) and managed on a day-to-day basis by a part-time Project Manager. During the three year project, Talking Quilts will be rolled out to eight regions, making use of the Quilters’ Guild regional structure. In 2014 the project  was rolled out to Region 14 (Yorkshire and Teesside), Region 12 (Mid and South Wales) and Region 1 (London and Middlesex). In 2016 the project will be visiting Region 11

If you are interested in volunteering as an interviewer and/or transcriber, or have a story to tell, please contact Vicky Martin, Talking Quilts Project Manager, email info@talkingquilts.org.uk or contact the Quilters’ Guild.

Talking quilts website - www.talkingquilts.org.uk/

Talking Quilts email newsletter
The Talking Quilts email newsletter can keep you up to date with the latest news and interviews. If you would like to receive the newsletter please send your first name, surname and email address to info@talkingquilts.org.uk. In the current issue of the newsletter there is a review of the Talking Quilts project in Region 14 (click here to read this article) and an extract from Judy Wilkinson’s interview (click here to read this article).

Inspiration
The project is inspired by the Quilters’ Save Our Stories (QSOS) project organised by Quilt Alliance in the USA, which, for 11 years has recorded more than 1,000 interviews across the country. Whilst there are excellent sources of published information about the textile history in the UK, we lack an archive that captures the memories and stories of everyday quilters. Talking Quilts builds on a successful pilot study carried out using adapted QSOS methods by Dr Pauline Macaulay with volunteers from London Quilters.

Heritage Lottery Fund Support
Dr Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, commented: “Quiltmaking has a strong traditional craft base and broad volunteer following. It is important that we recognise and celebrate the commitment and passion of quiltmakers and their contribution to the UK’s heritage. The Talking Quilts project will preserve this unique heritage by bringing its stories to life, letting everyone get involved and share their past.”

Heritage Lottery Fund