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Faculty of Humanities and Education

Department of History and Philosophy


Oral History Project

The Oral History Project was established within the Department here at the Cave Hill Campus in the academic year,1974-75. Its objective was to utilise oral history methodology to facilitate research into under-documented areas of local history and to capture the perspectives of non-elites. To this end, the Project prioritised for investigation:  plantation subdivision and village formation; the origins of socio-cultural institutions such as friendly societies and cricket clubs; mass politics and the labour movement from the 1920s; the growth and consolidation of local businesses and the life histories of a wide cross section of Barbadians.  

The Oral History Project is research-driven and is heavily dependent on research grants mainly from the Campus Research Awards Committee to fund projects undertaken by research postgraduates and faculty members of the Department of History and Philosophy It has a part-time volunteer coordinator drawn from among the academic staff of the Department.

Dr Aviston Downes has served as the coordinator since 1998. It is one of the foremost enduring research projects within UWI but has had to survive under Spartan and Cinderella conditions. Nevertheless, the Oral History Project at Cave Hill (CHOHP) has developed an important collection of hundreds of hours of interviews covering a wide range of social, political and cultural experiences such as mass politics and migration, among others. 

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