Scilly Voices

A collaboration between the Isles of Scilly Museum and the University of Sheffield, this project produced an online database which archives the Islands' oral history collection.

This project was a collaboration between the Isles of Scilly Museum and the English Language and Linguistics Programme at the University of Sheffield. An on-line database was produced which archives the Islands’ oral history collection. The aim was to continue to expand the archive in order to learn more about Scilly’s history, community, migration and social and economic change.scilly

In cataloguing traditional Scillonian life (some aspects of which have experienced significant decline, for instance, fishing and farming), and reflecting upon contemporary Scillonian lifestyles, we can document the Islands’ stability and change. Whilst this is interesting for its own sake, it also has the potential to stimulate debate relevant to policy decisions (for instance, about sustainable housing and use of limited resources).

Scilly has been subject to analysis from external bodies (such as the Island Parish television series based on the islands) and controversial decisions are often made by institutional bodies within and outside the Islands. This archive gives local people the opportunity to represent themselves in their own words. It also provides a resource which can be used to answer questions such as: What is it like to live on Scilly? Why is Scilly special? What does it mean to be a Scillonian, or a local, or an Islander? How is each island different from the others?

The website and database is an extension of the artefacts that you can find in the Isles of Scilly Museum.


Duration: 7th September 2009 – 22nd January 2010

Project Team

  • Dr Emma Moore (PI – School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, University of Sheffield)
  • Michael Pidd (The Digital Humanities Institute)