Recording the unsung heroes of St Paul’s Carnival

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

Next year we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of St Paul’s Carnival with a new display highlighting some of the unsung heroes of the event.

Six M Shed volunteers, armed with sound recorders are currently scouring the city in search of these allusive heroes! Here, volunteer Sharon Woma describes her experience…

Being an avid student, you could only imagine the delight when I attended an event this summer at the end of which delegates were offered the chance to sign up for a 4-afternoon media course. I jumped at the chance!

Armed with fledgling skills, at the end of the fourth day we were all wondering what we would do with ourselves, when the opportunity presented itself in the form of a rather friendly chap called Finn from M Shed. He dangled the tempting treat of a further workshop in oral history training and using our over-enthusiastic energy almost straight away on the upcoming Bristol Carnival project.

Fast forward three months and I am immersed in the world of interviewing some rather interesting and in some cases, colourful folk all with a great story to share.

I must admit my first interview was dodgy, I chose the wrong location twice, the first meeting room came with a hum of air conditioning which our expert trainer in oral history advised us would show up on the recording like a bad penny and it did. I rightly took the advice of a sound check, but regretted not doing so the day before. I would have realised it was not going to work.

My wonderful interviewee and I hot-footed it through a maze of corridors to find another room; the room was quiet but every now and then I had to pause the interview because we could hear the footsteps of people walking past. I am sure the office cleaner was surprised when my interviewee popped his head out and asked him to be quiet as we were recording! Lesson learnt.

By interview number two I was a pro (wink), or at least in my mind. I was into it, hooked! Although I did not think I would do more than two interviews originally, before I knew it I was looking for more victims… erm or should I say remarkable human beings to share their story of carnival.

My best question was ‘if I was an alien who just landed on earth how would you describe the carnival to me… sell it!’ and they did. I urge you to pop along and see the M Shed exhibition on St Paul’s Carnival in 2018, if only to see if my interviews cut the mustard.

If you would like to find out more about this project, please contact Finn White at

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