A key aim of Cornish Story is to make recordings from the Cornish Audio Visual Archive (CAVA) available to the wider public alongside written articles on a wide variety of subjects.

CAVA was established in 2000 with the aim of harnessing the multimedia power of oral history, film, music and photography in order to create a greater understanding of Cornwall in the past and present.

Central to its vision is the development of a ‘Living Archive’ linked to ongoing research and education programmes. Many of our recordings are available for public use at the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth. The archive’s cornerstone initiative was ‘Cornish Braids’, which was an oral history programme that was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This was a community-based study of Cornwall’s culture based on the themes of work, religion, politics, leisure and social relationships. Themed collections also cover such subjects as family traditions, Cornish Methodism, surfing and the Tamar Valley. The archive also welcomes donations of film and audio recordings from the general public.

CAVA also provides training and support for groups and individuals interested in oral history and video interviewing. These sessions explore the subject of memory, practical use of equipment, the techniques needed to help you achieve the best quality recordings, planning an interview, asking questions and listening, issues of copyright and ethics, looking after your recording, and compiling summaries. Training can be provided at Penryn or at a venue of your own choice. The archive can also conduct oral history and video interviewing projects if requested and can provide additional support in areas like the editing and dissemination of audio-visual recordings.

For further information on CAVA please email cava@exeter.ac.uk or telephone 01326 371 888. To access the recordings please visit the Cornish Studies Library at Alma Place in Redruth (telephone 01209 216 760).