Oral memory workshops

Oral memory workshops
2011. La Línea. Dina León, Francisca Aguilar’s daughter, reads her mother’s autobiography to her as recounted and prepared in "The Story of my Life" workshop. ‘Centro de Día’ (Day center for the elderly), El Junquillo. Photograph: Beatriz Díaz Martínez © Beatriz Díaz Martínez

Oral memory workshops

In 2010 I organised an oral memory workshop in the city of La Línea with the aim of approaching daily life in the region of El Campo de Gibraltar between 1930 and 1980. This was requested by social epidemiologist Antonio Escolar (Department of Public Health, Cádiz, Junta de Andalucía), for an epidemiological research into Excess deaths from cancer in El Campo de Gibraltar.

The workshop, called “La Historia de mi Vida” (“The Story of my Life”), consisted of workgroups with elderly people several hours a week over a three month period, to gather their memories. Once transcribed and catalogued, I used their contributions to build their life stories. The stories were edited jointly as parts of the puzzle of local history and presented in their community to recognise and dignify their experiences.

Given the social inequalities during the period under study, the workshops were organised for the poorest social groups, who made up the greater part of the population. Women workers at the fish-canning factories in Tarifa, day labourers in the farmsteads and hills in Facinas and Los Barrios; and the inhabitants of the shanty towns in La Línea. Their experiences allow us to discover the lives of other social groups who they interacted with: the landowners or “masters”, the customers in the hotel or catering business, the families where they served, or the foremen in the factories where they worked.

Vicente Ricardo (1920), Francisco Gil (1921), Francisca Aguilar (1925), Teresa Almagro (1926), Maruja Gil (1928), Antonio Casablanca (1931), Vicenta López (1931), Antonio Barros (1932), Isabel Álvarez (1934), José Araújo (1936), José Sánchez (1942) and Rafael Pérez (1952), who took part in the oral memory workshops in La Línea, offer their testimony in this Exhibition.