Would you like to help record others' histories?

Would you like to be a volunteer fieldworker?

The Regional Ethnology of Scotland Project has so far trained more than 50 volunteer fieldworkers and we are keen to recruit many more for the East Lothian Study. 

No experience is necessary as full training is provided to anyone wishing to participate. The training - which includes advice on how to use the recording machines, how to construct interview questions and ethical guidance- takes only a few hours and can be organised with groups or individuals.  After the initial training session, we will provide equipment for your recording sessions and the project team will be available to offer ongoing advice and support.  We will also provide opportunities for our volunteer fieldworkers to meet up and share their collecting experiences.

After each interview the fieldwork volunteer and the interviewee receive a CD copy of their interview. 

The Study is concerned with gathering in material that reflects the life and society of East Lothian and so we leave our volunteer fieldworkers free to choose the subject matter for their interviews.  We are interested in everyday life and this includes just about everything you can think of: from the stories and games we remember from childhood to memories of schooldays, home life, domestic economy, shops and businesses, buildings, working life and leisure and also customs, traditions and superstitions. 

Our volunteer fieldworkers come from all walks of life and often have very different interests and motivations.  One fieldworker may want to interview just one person who they know has an interesting life story to share, others will be interested in conducting interviews on a common theme or geographical area. Some will work alone, while others might undertake a series of interviews under the auspices of a local group.

What the volunteer interviewers all share is a commitment to be a facilitator: to allow their interviewee to record their memories so that those memories can then be shared with the wider community.

Our experience so far has demonstrated that our volunteer fieldworkers and the people that they interview very much enjoy being part of the Study and the opportunity it provides to share knowledge and develop new skills. 

Team member interviewing.


We hope you will chose to become a volunteer fieldworker with us.  By recording others’ histories for the East Lothian Study you will be:

  • Preserving the voices and experiences of people
  • Learning new skills as fieldworker
  • Have opportunities to meet other volunteer fieldworkers and share experience and knowledge
  • Gain opportunities to extend your participation beyond fieldwork, e.g. transcribing the recordings that you make
  • Contribute to the inclusion of the experiences of those not present in the current historical record
  • Be part of Project which seeks to preserve the cultural and linguistic record of Scotland and which returns that record by making it available on the web, in books and in libraries and archives

Margaret Smith volunteer filedworker (l) with team memebr (r).


The interviews will also be shared with our partners at the John Gray Centre in Haddington.

To find our more, fill out the online form and we will contact you.


Here are some examples of the work being created: