School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Professor Graham Smith

Professor of Oral History


I completed a first degree in History at the University of Stirling in 1981 and then a postgraduate degree in Social History with oral history at the University of Essex. In 1996, I successfully defended my PhD 'The making of a woman's town: household and gender in Dundee 1890 to 1940',

In the 1980s and 1990s, I worked as a researcher at Sheffield and Glasgow in medical as well as arts and humanities faculties. As a lecturer, I was involved in a number of research projects and programmes, including the multi and inter-disciplinary Leverhulme Trust funded Changing Families, Changing Food programme at Sheffield and Royal Holloway, University of London (2005-2008).

In 2017, I was appointed as Professor of Oral History at Newcastle University.

My research interests continue to be in oral history and public history, with a particular focus on how people remember in groups, as we as the history of family and the history of medicine. I also continue to jointly edit, with Edward Madigan, the Historians for History blog.

Please click here for more of a biography.


As an oral historian, I have worked in a number of different research areas including:

·         community history (1984 - 1996)

·         history and sociology of health and medicine (1998 – 2005; 2006 – 2009; 2009 - 2011)

·         ethnicity and migration (1996 – 1998; 2006 – 2007)

·         history of the family and social mobility (and food (2006 – 2008)

·         oral history of reading (2014 – 2017)

Within these areas I have maintained an interest in how remembering operates in small social groups in relation to individual and collective memory.

Major Grants

September 2014- August 2017: Memories of Fiction: An Oral History of Readers’ Life Stories. Shelley Trower, (PI, Roehampton), Graham Smith (CI), Amy Tooth Murphy (RA). AHRC.  £297,532

March 2009-February 2011: The Lifespan Initiative for the Research and Data Archiving Repository, Antonia Bifulco (joint-PI) and Graham Smith (joint-PI) Ananay Aguilar and Leonie Hannan (RAs). JISC. £30,000

August 2006 – July 2009: How is leadership transmitted through health service organisations to effect service delivery? Paula Nicolson (PI), Yiannis Gabriel (CI), Chris Howarth (CI), Kristin Heffernan (CI), Graham Smith (CI), Rebekah Fox (RA). NHS Service Delivery and Organisation Programme (SDO).  £400,000

May 2008-August 2008: Sinnerladies: life stories and public (media) representations, Graham Smith (PI), Rebekah Fox (RA). The Leverhulme Trust. £15,599

Jan 2006 – June 2007: The Social-Historical Transmission of Food Values, Graham Smith (PI), Barry Gibson (CI Paul Ward (CI, Flinders). Oscar Forero (RA). The Leverhulme Trust. £60,316

Jan 2006 – June 2007: (No) Family (No) Food, Graham Smith (PI), Paula Nicolson (CI). Becky Brown (RA). The Leverhulme Trust.  £62,874

Jan 2006 – September 2007: Families Remembering Food, Graham Smith (PI), Peter Jackson (CI). Sarah Olive (RA). The Leverhulme Trust. £57,573.

Jan 2006 – September 2007: Making Healthy Families, Penny Curtis (PI, Nursing), Jenny Owen (CI), Graham Smith (CI), Paul Ward (CI, Flinders). RA Dr. Pamela Fischer. The Leverhulme Trust.  £118,436

April 2006 – May 2007: Food Provision and the Media, Margo Barker (PI), Peter Jackson (CI), Graham Smith (CI). Joseph Burridge (RA). The Leverhulme Trust. £30,040.

September 2001 – August 2003: Evaluation of the Electronic Clinical Communications Implementation Programme (ECCI), Frank Sullivan (PI), Claudia Pagliari (CI), Peter Doonan (CI), Liz Mitchell (CI), Graham Smith (CI), Jill Morrison (CI). Scottish Executive Health Department. £117,976

Other grants and awards

July 2012: Medical Humanities. Displaced Childhoods: Oral history and traumatic experiences. The Wellcome Trust. £3,365

June 2012: Exploring partnership working: toward funded research with the Trades Union Congress and the Black Trade Unionists' Oral History Project. The Research Faculty Fund, RHUL. £3,033

 4-5 July 2008: 2008 Oral History Annual Conference, Graham Smith, Tilli Tansey (UCL). The Wellcome Trust. £2,900

 May 2008: Exploring the re-use of life history data in understanding health and identity, Graham Smith, Toni Bifulco, Jonathon Gabe. Faculty of History and Social Sciences, RHUL.  £1,000

December 2006- November 2015: Oral History in the History of Medicine, Training and Research Development, Graham Smith, Rob Perks (British Library). The Wellcome Trust.  £40,992

1-3 July 2005: 2005 Oral History Annual Conference, Graham Smith, Joanna Bornat (Open University), Edgar Jones (King’s College), Simon Wessely (King’s College); Peter Coleman (Southampton). The Wellcome Trust.  £2,665.

April 2001: Developing WebCT-based, open learning and distance-learning materials for BMedSci Health and Human Sciences, Jenny Owen, Graham Smith, Jill Brunt. Learning and Teaching Development Fund, University of Sheffield.  £10,800.

May 2001: Narrative and memory in the history of health, medicine and illness, Graham Smith and Rona Ferguson. Royal Society of Edinburgh.  £2,436

October 1985 – September 1986: Dundee Oral History Project, Graham Smith and Dundee Oral History Committee. Manpower Services Commission.  £110,600