Historically Speaking

Historically Speaking is a creative and innovative historical consulting and writing business established in 1995 by Karen George.

Historically Speaking offers high quality research, oral history and writing services and is committed to making history engaging and accessible to everyone.

As a member of the Professional Historians’ Association, Karen maintains high ethical standards and professionalism.

Geoff Speirs

I mainly work with museums on significance assessments, reviews of their operations or exhibition development. With exhibition development I would normally work with a designer and at times with multimedia specialists. I also undertake research and script writing and would like to embark on commissioned histories.

I was the first museum’s extension officer in South Australia, initially working at the South Australian Museum and then at the History Trust of South Australia. For three decades I have roved the State advising and guiding the many voluntary committees establishing around 200 community museums.

I was also the Project Director for the National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide for 3 years.

I am the author of ‘The History Shapers: South Australian History in 100 Objects‘, published by Axiom in 2016.

Bridget Jolley

I am a free-lance generalist historian. A former lecturer and tutor in western art and architectural history (Flinders University and University of Adelaide), and tutor in academic study skills for the Flinders Foundation Course, my social history research is catholic (Ug boots, agricultural settlement, beekeeping, explosives magazines and their work practices, for example).

From my work as a local government cultural development officer, I am able to develop community consultations, and facilitate/administer events and projects.

I am experienced in art and social history exhibition research, cataloguing, and mounting at a number of locations including:

  • The former Contemporary Art Society
  • Painting and paper-based exhibitions at Flinders University
  • Indigenous art and crafts at Salisbury
  • Maritime history at Penneshaw Museum
  • Kangaroo Island
  • Local history-in-photography at Prospect
  • Unley – assistance with several different object and image-based exhibitions, and curator of an architectural exhibition, 2012.

I have basic editing and graphic designing skills for posters and small publications, and copy editing experience for larger publications.

A list of my publications and other work can be accessed at the Australian Council of Professional Historians Associations Members’ work database and examples of my writing, at SA 175/Celebrating South Australia, Professional Historians (SA) web site.

Oral History Australia SA/NT

Oral History Australia is a non-profit body whose members practice and promote oral history.  The aims of Oral History Australia (OHA) are:

  • to promote the practice and methods of oral history
  • to educate in the use of oral history methods
  • to encourage discussions on all aspects of oral history
  • to foster the preservation of oral history records

The OHA South Australia/Northern Territory came to life just seven months after the national body was founded in Perth in July 1978.  There are associations in each state.

We provide advice and training relating to oral history projects. Members are available for recording oral histories on a paid basis.

Evocative Arts and Heritage

Evocative Arts and Heritage offers a variety of services to assist museums, art galleries and heritage sites in the creation of dynamic and engaging exhibitions, site interpretation and educational resources for visitors of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

Moira Simpson is a freelance artist, educator, curator and writer based in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Her services include:

  • Significance assessment to identify multiple meanings of objects, significance for different groups in society, and the hidden stories that reflect culturally-diverse historical perspectives.
  • Research, interviewing and oral history recording.
  • Advice on cultural diversity and access issues.
  • Advice on management of culturally sensitive objects and archival materials such as Indigenous Australian secret sacred or ceremonial objects and religious objects from various faiths.
  • The development of exhibitions and interpretation strategies that are engaging for visitors of all ages using various interpretive strategies including age-related design and texts; experiential learning; interactive (hands-on) activities; visual thinking strategies; and novel approaches to label-writing.
  • The design of educational strategies and writing of resources for educational groups to enhance learning and use of collections on and off-site.
  • Visitor evaluation to inform exhibition development, interpretation and marketing
  • Policy development to enhance visitation and develop links with other sites in the area / community.

History from the Heart

Annie Payne is a personal historian and life story writer.

Her business History from the Heart exists to help people turn their memories into unforgettable life stories.

My clients want more than a family tree with names and dates. They want to know the real stories of their grandparents and parents; why life changing decisions were taken and how the family survived the bad times as well as the good.  They do not want to have to do it in 20 or 30 years’ time when their children ask them about their grandparents’ lives and the family history.

I have been interviewing Australians about their life stories since 1988 and turning the manuscript into a beautiful, coloured bespoke book, lavishly illustrated with the narrator’s own photographs. These books become family heirlooms to pass on to future family generations.

Listening To The Past

Listening to the Past is the business and website of Dr Sally Stephenson who has worked professionally as an oral historian, researcher and writer for more than fifteen years.

Sally is an experienced oral historian (both audio-only and video oral history) across most subject areas, but with particular interests in science (all areas), technology and industrial history, medicine, defence, environment and conservation, biography, education, local and urban history, and the arts.

Sally has extensive experience using oral history in interpretive projects (multimedia productions, brochures, books, signage, museum displays, websites, audio installations) and in a range of heritage and urban renewal projects.  Examples of her work are on her website.

Sally has been a member of Oral History Australia SA/NT since 2005, and Treasurer since 2011.  She regularly runs advanced workshops for Oral History Australia SA/NT and gives presentations on oral history and its uses.

Kevin Jones

I offer consultancy services focused on community museums and historical societies.

  • I provide significance assessments and advice on all aspects of museum management from developing collections to engaging audiences.
  • I produce exhibitions and tours, deliver historical research and write for publications, films, and digital platforms.
  • I can deliver completed projects including exhibitions, tours or films. Alternatively, I can work with your staff or volunteers and lead you through the process to help develop skills within your museum.

My clients include community archives and local museums as well as national organisations such as the CSIRO and the Commonwealth Office of the Arts.

My consultancy services are based on a career delivering outcomes in museums and I focus on advice with practical application.

I spent 25 years working in state and national museums. I was Director of the South Australian Maritime Museum and a foundation curator at the Australian National Maritime Museum. I was President of the Australian Maritime Museums Council and led that association in providing support for regional museums.
I produced national and international touring exhibitions including a series of exhibitions that toured regional Australia. My exhibitions have been the centrepiece of events including the Olympic Arts Festival and have won national awards. I have been honoured with the Republic of France’s award Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Arts and Letters) for services to the arts and cultural relations.

JamJar Life Stories

JamJar Life Stories provides a unique service, a personal biographer, to work with individuals, families, businesses and groups to record and preserve personal histories.

We start with an oral history recording, an interview that assists individuals to tell their story, in their own words and, importantly, in their own voice. These permanent memoirs will become a priceless heritage, a gift to current and future generations. The recordings provide the basis for writing biographies and book publishing, creating podcasts and documentaries and incorporating into displays and marketing media.

JamJar Life Stories works to ensure that the voices and stories of the important people in your world are recorded and preserved so they are never lost.