11am, 19th July 2023
Waurn Ponds: IC2.108
Zoom link here.
Talking About Buying And Selling: Oral History and Department Stores
Department stores occupy a significant place in our history. More than mere retailers, they have been major institutions that have performed a variety of social, cultural, and economic functions. Although their presence and impact has certainly waned in recent decades, they nevertheless continue to exert a unique connection with shoppers. It is this ongoing connection that our project, ‘Shop Talk: Department Stores, Shoppers and Consumer Capitalism, 1945-2025’, seeks to explore. Using oral history testimony, this project seeks to deliver a new insights and understandings of department stores. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of the ‘Shop Talk’ project with a view to reflecting on some of the lessons and insights gleaned from our efforts to reach out to staff, management, and the general public on a national scale. I will then move on to examine some of the key recurring themes in these oral history interviews and to consider what they can tell us about the past as well as the future of the department store.
Robert Crawford is Professor of Advertising in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. His research focuses on the growth and development of the advertising, marketing, and public relations industries nationally and internationally.
Professor Crawford’s research on the history of communication and marketing is recognised for its innovative approaches as well as its capacity to connect the past with the present. His current project, Shop Talk: Department Stores, Shoppers and Consumer Capitalism, 1945-2025, is supported by the Australian Research Council’s Discovery scheme (DP220100943). Professor Crawford also works closely with industry and businesses (most recently Cadbury, Griffiths Bros., and Claude Neon) on marketing history matters.