Introduction from one of the project leads 

September 2021

Since the late 1980’s the British Library Sound Archive (BLSA) has collected oral histories of people living with and affected by HIV, but so far they have missed out the perspective and important stories of people who have grown up living with HIV…Until now!

In June 2021 a team of us met up, over two days in London, discussing our goal of creating an oral history project that collects the stories of young people living with HIV; the project (dream) team consists of 5 young adults living with HIV from CHIVA and oral historians, with the support of the BLSA. Spending the two days learning all about what oral history is, how do we deliver this project, and why it’s needed.

…So what is an oral history project? Oral history is the archiving of recorded interviews of people who have experienced historical events, in the UK these interviews are stored in the BLSA. Why are we creating an oral history project? No one has collected the stories of young people who have grown up with HIV, we want to change this. Having grown up with HIV ourselves, we know that we have insightful and important stories to tell, but due to the stigma surrounding HIV we often don’t have the chance or safe space to share our stories. With the help of oral historians our interviewers spent the two days in London understanding how to use the recording equipment, what to ask and how to interview for oral history projects; ready to start interviewing and reaching our goal of collecting 50 life stories from young people growing up with HIV.

As this project is so exciting and new, we had to give it an amazing name. After a lot of workshopping the design and communications team decided on “Positively Spoken: An oral history of growing up with HIV” we know you’ll love it!

In November 2021 we will start recruiting for interviews, if you’re a young person who has grown up living with HIV and wish to be interviewed – watch this space!! We can’t wait to share more about Positively Spoken with you all, keep an eye out for more blog posts here and follow @freedom2spk on twitter to see updates and take overs from the Positively Spoken team.

– Design & Communications team