The Resonate Project

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Foyle Foundation, the Leonard Cheshire Archive digitised 256 sound recordings, some of which date back to the 1950s and cover the impact of the Second World War, the disability movement in the UK and the development of disability charities globally.

The history contained in the sound collection includes Group Captain Cheshire’s wartime experiences, the development of the charity Leonard Cheshire, and history of the disability movement within the UK and internationally. The recordings range from Leonard Cheshire’s experience of being an observer at the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki to oral history interviews with residents and staff at Leonard Cheshire Homes from the 1950s onward.

Alongside the digitisation work, project staff ran a digital volunteering opportunity. The digital volunteers were given online training in using audacity to edit sound clips and produce a podcast. They were trained in transcribing skills and helped transcribe over 230 recordings. Also, volunteers contributed blogs on the things they had learned from the recordings. In total, the volunteers contributed over 1,177 hours to the project.

A selection of the digitised recordings have been turned into captioned films and are available to view at the Leonard Cheshire Archive. We have published highlights from the sound tapes on our website, which can be viewed here.

Finally, we produced the Resonate podcast, and published 3 episodes. Episodes are available on YouTube and most podcasting apps, and can be accessed on the Anchor. There are plans to continue podcasting about our collections and work – do keep an eye on our Podcast page.

Resonate co-incided with the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, which brought with it its own challenges, and we are very grateful to our volunteers for their commitment and enthusiasm. Our planned exhibition was delivered as two webinars. The first, on the theme of Remembrance Day, can be viewed here and our final exhibition, Voices from Leonard Cheshire, can be viewed here. Both films have captions.

You can find out more from our volunteers and project staff in the film below.