The archival material contains few descriptions of life in, for example, children's homes, psychiatric hospitals or institutions for the mentally ill by the people who lived there, worked there or had other links to these places. Part of the project therefore involves the collation of eyewitness accounts from people who experienced the institutions of the period.
The project In Care, in History will collate eyewitness reports through:
• individual life-story interviews with people who have been in care
• focus-group interviews with former employees at the institutional level
• witness seminars with politicians and civil servants at the state level
• narrative workshops in collaboration with museums and associations
• narratives submitted to this website.
If you would like to participate in the life-story interviews, focus-group interviews, witness seminars or narrative workshops, please get in touch.
The project group will use life-story interviews to collate 70 eyewitness accounts by people who were placed in care during the period 1945–1980, for example in children's homes, psychiatric institutions, workhouses and institutions for the blind, deaf or physically disabled.
The interviews will be conducted in the interviewee's homes and will take as long as necessary (typically 3–4 hours).
The interview will cover the interviewee's entire life and involve drawing up a life map complete with important milestones, the aim of which is to aid their recollection of significant life events. We will then ask detailed questions about their experiences in the period up to 1980 in relation to the project's themes.
We will also ask about the interviewees' own photographs and objects from the period.
The interviews will be used in the project's final report. Edited versions of fifteen of the life stories will also be published on the website.
Eye-witness reports from former employees, e.g. carers, care assistants or nurses, will be collated through focus-group interviews in which 3–6 employees talk about life in a particular children's home, institution, hospital, etc.
These interviews will be transcribed and sent to all participants so that they are able to correct their own statements if necessary. The transcript will then be edited, posted on the website and used in the project's overall analysis and final report.
Eyewitness accounts from policy-makers, civil servants in central government and administrative leaders at the institutional level will be collected through a witness seminar.
The seminar will bring together as many as 12 participants, whose interactions will complement and qualify each other's memories.
The write-up of the witness seminar will be sent to all participants so that they are able to correct their own statements if necessary. The transcript will then be edited, posted on the website and used in the project's overall analysis and final report.
The witness seminar will take place in 2014.
In collaboration with local museums and the seniors' sections of the National Federation of Social Educators, a series of workshops will be held at which former employees talk and write about their memories of life and conditions in social care homes.
In the first instance, these recollections will be posted here on the website (under Fortællinger), but will also be available for use at local level to make things clearer.
In August 2013, narrative workshops were held in collaboration with the Kellers Minde and Hammer Bakker museums.
During the winter of 2013/2014, narrative workshops will be held in collaboration with the seniors' sections of the National Federation of Social Educators, Museum Ovartaci, Middelfart Museum, St. Hans Hospital Museum and the Nykøbing Zealand Psychiatric Hospital.
Museums, associations or individuals who are interested in contributing stories to the social history project and the website are very welcome to contact:
Stine Grønbæk Jensen
Scientific officer at Svendborg Museum
Telephone: +45 30 46 14 57