Looking back at the CAT oral history project

I can’t believe its five years since I started work on the CAT Oral History Project! This has got to be one of the most enjoyable, creative and life affirming things I’ve ever done. There were so many brilliant things about meeting the hundreds of people I met as a result of the project.

I can’t begin to talk about all the individual moments of joy and inspiration that rose up just because we started to talk to people. Oral history is a brilliant process. As a way of really listening to what people have to say about a subject it can’t be beaten. It was a complete privilege to spend time with people and learn from them, and then to make those interviews available for other people to hear.

I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything quite as good. I hope I do, but if I don’t, then this is a legacy I can be proud of. Partly because all that part of CAT’s history no longer exists, and the only place the culture of the place lives on outside of the memories of the people themselves is in these interviews and the various history books that exist, including my own. It really was a special place, far from perfect, but always striving to find a better truth. A better way of being human.

Some of this is reflected in the interviews. They are all available at the National Library of Wales. Most are about an hour long. Go to the library, pick out an interview, spend an hour with a stranger. Learn something new. If you can’t get there then this podcast is a great place to start. It tells the story of the beginning of CAT, and features a whole range of voices. I love just listening to everyone’s voices, with the different accents and ways of speaking. Turn down the lights, relax in a chair with a nice cup of hot chocolate. Listen whilst dusting. Enjoy!

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