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Kent Mining Oral History Project with Goodwin Academy

From January 2018, students from Goodwin Academy in Deal have been working with staff, postgraduates, and undergraduates within the History and Sociology departments at the University of Kent on a local history project.

The project is designed to discover information about Kent’s often forgotten mining heritage. Working in conjunction with the soon to be built Kent Mining Museum, based at Betteshanger Park, students will explore the history of the four Kent collieries and their communities at Betteshanger, Snowdown, Tilmanstone, Chislet, Mill Hill, Aylesham, Elvington, and Hersden. 

Year 12 students at the school have also begun training in a series of workshops designed to equip them with the skills to undertake oral history interviews. Once completed, Year 9 students from Goodwin Academy will then join the group, permitting the older students to teach the younger group the knowledge and skills that they have learned. All of the students will then go in to the community and interview former miners and their families in order to discover more about the history of mining in Kent, with the support of students and staff from the university. 

With material gathered from these interviews, and from the archives at the Kent Mining Museum, an exhibition is due to take place in the Autumn of 2018, which will be curated by the participant students. Students will learn many transferrable skills, looking at how to construct an interview, use equipment, utilise material gathered from interviews, and learn about the ethics of undertaking this sort of project. 

This project follows on from one undertaken by the university in conjunction with students at Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey and the Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust, who interviewed members of the community in order to explore the history of the Dockyard Church, which is being renovated as part of a regeneration programme.

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