What is a Life Story?

A Life Story is the story of a person’s life in their own words.

I interview and record people’s life stories on audio, capturing their memories of significant events, periods, and relationships that have shaped their lives.

Welcome to Life Story

What happens at a Life Story recording session?

When you book a Life Story with me I will arrange a pre-session introduction call with the person you would like me to interview so that we can discuss what they would like their particular Life Story to focus on.

Some people choose to tell the story of a particular time or event that was important to them or want to tell a story they might not have told before. Other people like to focus on the significant people and relationships in their life. Many enjoy a mix, exploring many facets of one or two important areas in their lives.

I will then craft questions and the structure of the Life Story interview based on our pre-session conversation in preparation for our recording session.

On the day of the Life Story recording session I will visit the home of the person telling their Life Story. It is important that the room we record the Life Story in is quiet with little disturbance so that we can have a clear audio recording.

I like to interview people in their home or in the home of someone they trust so that they are in an environment that is calming and familiar to them. I invite them to sit in their favourite comfy chair with a cup of tea or glass of water at their side.

Before the interview begins, I will set up my digital audio recorder and microphone , placing them on a table. I like to use equipment that is discreet so that it isn’t invasive during the interview and recording session.

I will then pop my headphones on and explain what will happen throughout the interview. I encourage people to tell me if they would like to pause and take a little break,  have a sip of their drink, or take a trip to the loo.

I will lead the interview in a very relaxed, informal, and gentle way, helping draw out the memories that are most significant. The Life Story recording session will take up to two hours.

In the Premium Life Story package we will then have a relaxed photo shoot to capture the interviewee as they are today – doing some activities that they love,  and we will gather some vintage photographs for scanning so that I can create the beautiful photobook.

In the Basic Life Story package, I will take a portrait photograph for them to keep.

Before I leave I will check that they are happy with what we have discussed and if there is anything they would like to exclude in the final Life Story.

I will then edit the Life Story.

The person sharing their Life Story will receive both the audio recording and photobook or portrait photograph via recorded delivery and as an mp3 download.

What does a Life Story sound like?

Click on the films below to hear examples of what a Life Story sounds like –

Hear Christina share her memories of growing up on a hill farm in Scotland, her family life, and her wartime memories:

Hear James recollect his colourful neighbours and the Essex farming community he grew up in: 

Listen to Joan sing her way through the music hall songs of her childhood as she remembers her youth:

Why choose a Life Story recorded by me?

I am passionate about helping people tell their stories.

I am a sensitive and intuitive interviewer and have been recording life stories for many years. I have extensive experience of working with a diverse client group and am highly skilled at establishing rapport and creating a relaxed and informal environment where people are able to talk honestly and openly.

I am ethically sensitive and non-judgemental and strongly believe in giving people a voice, and in the value that telling one’s own story has – both for the individual and for the community.

I have both the people skills and the technical abilities to help people tell and share their stories in a way that is tailor-made for them.

I have recorded life stories, oral histories, and in-depth interviews for

  • Private clients
  • Southdown – a large not-for-profit specialist provider of care, support and housing services for vulnerable people. Examples of my work can be found here and here.
  • WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service)
  • Brighton & Hove Museums
  • The Duke of York’s 100 Project
  • Individual charities and not-for-profit organisations, for example PLOT 22
  • Social and community development research projects led by local authorities and their partner organisations

In 2010 I delivered a workshop on oral history in the community at the Living Memory: Reminiscence, Oral History and Intergenerational Work conference at the University of Sussex.

To book a Life Story for someone you love, please call me on 07745 152741 or email me at vaska@lifestorytelling.co.uk

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