Scottish Parliament oral history project

The Scottish Parliament oral history project aims to capture otherwise untold memories from those working at the Parliament.

Interviews with MSPs, Parliament staff and Holyrood-based journalists explore the Parliament’s influence on political practice in Scotland, the impact of political changes it has witnessed, and how it has been shaped by them.

The entire lifespan of the Parliament

The Scottish Parliament is far younger than the great majority of democratic legislatures around the world, making it possible to speak with numerous individuals who were involved at every stage of its development, from its creation up to the present day. This has allowed the project to examine the entire lifespan of the Parliament, constructing a more complete story of its history than is possible in more well-established institutions.

Oral history interviews are a particularly valuable resource that can capture elements of history that are not available elsewhere. Individuals possess a great deal of knowledge that is not found in written records and are able to provide a more personalised and nuanced perspective.

Over 70 interviews have been conducted so far and the Parliament’s oral history archive, as well as this online collection, will continue to grow.

In their own words

Interviewees have been generous in sharing their memories and listeners are asked to treat this material with respect and sensitivity.

Recordings represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the Scottish Parliament. The memories it has captured might at times be unreliable. They may have been obscured by the passage of time, or been shaped by the biases, whether unconscious or conscious, of both the interviewees who described them and the interviewer whose questions they were responses to.

The project does not aim to promote a specific viewpoint or seek simply to celebrate the Parliament’s past. It merely attempts to provide an avenue through which these stories can be brought together and provide the opportunity for the thoughts of those who have worked within this Parliament to tell their own story, in their own words.

A book containing extracts of interviews captured by the project is available to purchase from Luath Press: The Scottish Parliament in its own words: an oral history.

Further information

Recordings are subject to the conditions of the Scottish Parliament Copyright Licence.

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