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Stimulating critical thinking in the theoretically timid: the role and value of oral history assignments within an interdisciplinary context

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The Cultural Studies Department at London College of Fashion introduced an Oral History unit in the Summer Term 2003, offering students the opportunity to engage in primary research by conducting oral history interviews, and develop critical arguments around their interpretation and analysis. The unit aimed to contribute to a more culturally diverse curriculum, and enhance the learning experience and outcomes of participating students by offering a tangible demonstration of both the relevance of such research to the study of fashion and dress, and of the students' own contribution to its furtherance. This article reflects on this experience; suggests some of the ways in which oral history assignments might stimulate critical thinking and independent research; explores how oral history methodology can be situated in relation to an interdisciplinary concept of ‘research’; outlines how a dialogical approach to theory and practice might address student approaches to research and critical thinking in an interdisciplinary context.

Keywords: active learning; critical thinking; interdisciplinary; oral history

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: London College of Fashion.

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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