Multimedia Online Archival Practice: What New Historiographical Opportunities Does It Present?

Vanessa Jackson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis harnesses the practice of creating and running the Pebble Mill website ( and associated @pebblemillstudios Facebook page, to explore a new historiographical method, which embraces the functionality of online interactivity to tell a democratic community history, through the contribution of the community themselves. It demonstrates a new collective approach to the writing of contemporary history, and identifies a paradigm shift in oral history work.

The subject of the project: Pebble Mill, was the BBC broadcast centre in Birmingham, which opened in 1971, and was demolished in 2005. It produced around ten per cent of BBC television and radio output in its heyday, and employed around 1,500 staff. The aim of the website and Facebook page is to celebrate and document the programme making from Pebble Mill.

The Pebble Mill project has created an openly accessible online archive of more than 1,600 multi-media artefacts, the majority of which have been donated by members of the online community which has grown up around the project. The digital archive includes video, audio, photographs as well as written blog posts.

The research is at the intersection of different academic fields and draws on literature from oral history, memory studies, archival practice, online participation, and museum display, in order to inform the practice.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Ellis, John, Supervisor
  • Hall, Nick, Supervisor
Award date1 Jun 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


  • citizen curator
  • community
  • idiosyncratic archive
  • video oral history
  • multimedia archive
  • community history

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