Sounds for the Future

We are delighted to announce that the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA), and Special Collections at the University of Leicester, have been awarded £250,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a new project, Sounds for the Future, which will secure the future of the collections of the EMOHA. 

When we first started preserving the region’s oral history collections, more than 20 years ago, we digitised recordings by copying them onto CD-Rs, which are now at risk of deterioration. For example, if a CD-R had a sticky label put on it, it may well be unplayable now. We also have a number of collections of tapes that have never been digitised, and a large backlog of cataloguing, which means that many recordings are not available to be listened to. 

A photo of a reel of tape.
There are still lots of tapes that haven’t been digitised.

Sounds for the Future will preserve all EMOHA’s collections in a new digital preservation system, which is in Special Collections, and bring the cataloguing up to date. This project will not only ensure the future of the recordings, it will make all of them more discoverable and more usable.

We are not only excited by this, we are also delighted to be able to offer lots of opportunities for volunteers to learn about audio preservation, cataloguing, and using oral histories for local history and heritage. We aim to create oral history resources for local schools, give public talks and presentations, and we are open for suggestions on creative uses of oral histories too. We also have associated photograph collections and ephemera that needs cataloguing.

We will post information about the progress of the project, and any volunteering opportunities, on this blog, our social media, and a dedicated page on EMOHA’s website, which you can see here:

It’s going to be an exciting 18 months for EMOHA and our new Sounds for the Future team!

If you would like to find out more about the project and how you can volunteer contact Colin Hyde on or 0116 2525065. 

The logo of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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