Help Make Dental History, UK

A project to build a comprehensive living history of dentistry, the John McLean Archive, is seeking participants from across the UK to help make dental history. Participants are required to participate in the project’s next witness seminar in October; and to take part in an ongoing series of oral history interviews across the UK.

The second witness seminar for the project, which will take place at the British Dental Association’s (BDA’s) London headquarters on 26 October 2011, will focus on changes in dentistry since 1948. Discussion is expected to concentrate on topics including the introduction of the NHS, payment and contracts, developments in equipment and evolution of private practice. Participants in the project’s first witness seminar, which took place in March and looked at the development of the regulation of dentistry, included past Presidents of the BDA and General Dental Council, three former deans of dental schools and a former dean of the Dental Faculty of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. It was chaired by Professor Nairn Wilson, Dean of King’s College London Dental Institute. Deliberations from each of the witness seminars will be published and placed in the John McLean Archive and will be publicly available via the BDA Museum’s website.

Volunteers are also being sought to carry out oral history interviews with dentists and dental care professionals across the UK. The transcripts of these interviews, which will focus on different aspects of the development of dentistry, will also be published as part of the project. Volunteers must have a connection to dentistry, good listening skills and an interest in dentistry. Volunteers selected to take part will receive training in oral history and the use of the recording equipment that will be used in the interviews.

Individuals interested in participating in either strand of activity contact Sophie Riches, the John McLean Archive project co-ordinator at the BDA Museum. Email or visit the BDA Museum stand at the 2011 British Dental Conference and Exhibition.

The John McLean archive has been jointly established by the BDA Museum and the Unit for the History of Dentistry at King’s College London Dental Institute. It is funded by a bequest from former BDA President John Walford McLean OBE. It aims to fill a void in the profession’s recorded history.

1) John McLean was a leading dental practitioner and internationally renowned dental materials scientist, author and lecturer. He was appointed an OBE in 1978 and was the recipient of numerous awards, including the John Tomes Prize for research. He served as BDA President from 1994 to 1995.

British Dental Association (BDA)

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