The Tell Me Project was "an innovative educational project connecting young people with the older generation". The aim of the project was to give older people the opportunity to share their memories of times past with primary and secondary school children through interviews, and thus develop greater inter-generational understanding. The recorded interviews were published and archived to form a unique record of social history.
An archive of memories, organised by subject matter, was built online, with around fifty of the best interviews published in an annual book and featured in radio programs. Culture Vannin provided funding for the printing and publishing costs of the 2010 and 2011 Tell Me' Project books
The project, which originated from an idea of Sandra Davidson, was planned for four years, from 2008 -2011. It was jointly funded by AXA Isle of Man, and the H & S Davidson Trust.
The primary partners were Age Concern (IOM), the Department for Education & Children, AXA (IOM) and Manx Radio. Their contribution to the project was wide-ranging and included (but was not limited to): the development and maintenance of a website, the provision of advice, HR and training skills, and the production of project radio programmes.
MNH were also important partners and Edmund Southworth was a valuable member of the Steering Group. Manx Telecom installed and funded the special IT server.
MHF played an important role in the success of the project, and in addition to contributing to funding, were unfailingly helpful in providing knowledgeable advice on the right processes to follow, key heritage topics to focus on, and website strategy.
MHF also generously funded the net cost of producing the 2010 and 2011 annual books. This was essential, since, as the success of the project caused it to expand, there was a need for more paid help, and the original budget came under pressure. The annual books were an important part of the project, and provide a long-term legacy to add to Manx heritage.
80% of Primary and Secondary schools participated in the project over a four-year period. In total, almost 1,000 teachers, pupils, and older people were involved.
Additionally many teachers and pupils organized their own special events. Notable events included: a number of WW2 events at St Ninians, where military veterans were interviewed and a 1950's Event for pupils, teachers and invited older people, period dress, and a sing-song at Onchan primary.
The work of the Project was also marked through successful annual book launches, to which all interviewers, interviewees and others were invited. Tell MeÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ received international interest; indeed, a well-received presentation on the project was given to 50 philanthropists at the Rockefeller Foundation, on 5th Avenue in New York.
While no external Evaluation was conducted, the anecdotal evidence is that the project succeeded in its objectives. To quote from the 2011 book:"Tell me has helped build greater understanding between generations, enhanced skills and knowledge of the young, and recorded unique memories of older people. There has been warmth, laughter, surprise, and learning on both sides."
Four annual books, with edited versions of over 200 interviews in total, were published, in addition to at least ten radio programmes. Full interviews are stored on www.thetellmeproject.com, together with much instructional material.
In total over 2250 books were printed over the four-year period, and most were sold to members of the public.