Chronicle Blog – Kayleigh Williams

The Chronicle’s Volunteer Blog features blog posts and articles about what it’s like to be a part of the Chronicle Project and is written by our volunteers.
This post is by Kayleigh Williams, who is currently a history student studying at Cardiff University.

My name is Kayleigh and I am currently studying for my Masters in Modern history at Cardiff University. One Sunday afternoon I saw an advert for the Chronicle Project, I sent of my CV and now here I am! When I started my Masters, I was eager to find a volunteering placement that would fit around my studies and allow me to develop practical skills in history, and this project lets me do both!

Since November I have been volunteering as an oral historian, this means that once a fortnight, on average, I interview somebody who was, or still is, a volunteer, as well as those who co-ordinate volunteers in the various organisations that operate within Cardiff. As part of this role, I video edit the interviews I’ve conducted so that they can be aired on the project’s YouTube channel. When I started with the project, video editing was the first task I was given. This was at first a huge challenge! I was somewhat of a technophobe when I started the project and I spent ages trying to understand the video software. But thanks to the patience of my supervisor I’m now a bit of a tech geek!

This project has complimented my studies nicely. At Masters level our tutors have stressed the importance of investigating history through primary sources, and in particular, looking beyond textual sources. Thus, practising oral history has helped me look beyond texts. It has made me think about the variety of ways in which we can explore the past, and how I can use these to conduct my own research.

For me, this project has been an eye-opening experience. I have had the opportunity to hear some truly inspiring experiences. I used to feel nervous when I conducted interviews, but now I look forward to hearing more about this city. Prior to joining this project I barely stepped outside of Cathays, and I have lived in Cardiff, on and off, for five years! Through volunteering I have discovered that there is so much going on in areas like Grangetown and Splott and that these areas have an incredibly rich history.