Oral History Project Researcher
Disability Alliance

Oral History Project Researcher
Disability Alliance


Pete M

0.00.02 My name is Pete M. I work here part-time at the Birmingham Disability Resource Centre. I’m working here for 12 months on a part-time project running an oral history project and we’re writing a history of this centre. I’ve got two other part-time jobs. I work in Coventry for two and a half days a week for another disability charity called the Coventry Council of Disabled People. And the third bit of work I do I’m the editor on some local gazettes, magazines which are commercial magazines which are based on advertising.

00.00.45 Throughout school you felt that there was this, there was a different class culture there really which alienated, I felt a bit alienated really by grammar school. I think that experience of alienation is a reason why I left school early. I didn’t do well in my O-Levels and they allowed me to stay on a year to retake them. Certainly I was really glad to get out of school because a lot of my mates that had gone to comprehensive schools who were in the large part the people I hanged out with, they were on apprenticeships and doing training to be managers.

00.01.28 So earning good money and so really I so that was largely what drove me to leave school at that time, which was probably looking back it’s a very superficial reason. May be I should have stopped on and tried for university. A turning point for me as a young person in my early 20s was after I finished nursing I became unemployed and the thing about being unemployed is you get into an actual lifestyle cycle of being unemployed.

00.02.07 So everything that you do becomes around survival on a lower amount of income. And that affects everything in a sense, it affects your diet, it affects your social circle, it affects your lifestyle. And also sometimes they become ideologies that you become, you feel yourself to be one on the bottom rung. So even someone that had had opportunities which a lot of people don’t have you still get dragged down sometimes into this cycle of being unemployed.

00.02.47 And met a guy, someone introduced me to a guy named Paul who was, he was a teacher by profession but he now called himself community educator. So I started supporting Paul as a volunteer and became more and more involved in community arts as an unemployed person. I think it was an interesting experience for me because I suddenly in life discovered that your activity isn’t necessarily just about earning money and I think we’re living in these times now of the credit crunch and I think there are lessons there for the whole of society really because society seems obsessed with money and material possessions.

00.03.38 And I think that period in my life taught me the meaning and value of life being about one’s community more than being about one’s personal possessions. I had some interesting experiences on that level that taught me values that have lasted the rest of my life I think and that still drive me.

Pete M works part-time at the Birmingham Disability Research Centre on an oral history project. He also works for a Coventry disability charity, and does some editing for local magazines. He trained to be a nurse, but a period of unemployment taught him to be less concerned with money and material possessions.

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The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

34%  male  66%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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Social and humanities scientists study and analyse human behaviour and the origin, structure and characteristics of language; undertake research in areas such as sociology, economics, politics, archaeology, history, philosophy, literature, the arts; organise the collection of qualitative and quantitative information, and perform subsequent analyses.


Entry is most common with a degree or equivalent qualification but is possible with other academic qualifications and/or relevant experience. Postgraduate qualifications may be required for some jobs.


  • Studies society and the manner in which people behave and impact upon the world;
  • Undertakes research across the humanities that furthers understanding of human culture and creativity;
  • Traces the evolution of word and language forms, compares grammatical structures and analyses the relationships between ancient, parent and modern languages;
  • Identifies, compiles and analyses economic, demographic, legal, political, social and other data to address research objectives;
  • Administers questionnaires, carries out interviews, organises focus groups and implements other social research tools;
  • Undertakes analyses of data, presents results of research to sponsors, the media and other interested organisations;
  • Addresses conferences and publishes articles detailing the methodology and results of research undertaken.
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