Looking for ‘Life on the Move’ and ‘Life Now’ contributors

27 November 2018

By Peter Emmerson

In the light of recent changes to European data protection legislation, the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) would like to contact any contributors (or their immediate families) to the publications Life on the Move (1993) and Life Now (1996). In the 1990s this material was collected for the Shell Ladies Project. The EAC would like to ensure that contributors agree with their stories being held by the EAC for future research. Contributors to these two books are kindly asked to get in touch with the EAC at welcome@xpatarchive.com or call +31(0)70 427 2014.

Shell Ladies Project

In 1992, a group of ‘Shell ladies’ appealed to others to contribute stories and reminiscences for a possible publication, describing their lives ‘on the move’ as partners of Shell expatriate employees. These contributions translated, where necessary, and edited, were published as Life on the move in 1993. With the success of this book, the group appealed for contributions describing life after returning to the home country. This second volume, Life Now, was published in 1996. Together they made up the Shell Ladies Project.

Each appeal made clear that contributions would be published. Contributors were asked to complete a sheet providing brief biographical and service details and a current contact address. Published items were not directly attributed in Life on the Move, the book included a list of contributors. In Life Now, contributors’ initials appeared at the end of each piece, and a list of names as an appendix allowed each author to be identified, with one or two exceptions. The number of contributions for these books surpassed organisers’ expectations, which meant that selection had to be made and not all stories were published.

A third volume, The Source Book, was published in 2008, using excerpts from some of the earlier submissions and from new contributors, aimed at increasing awareness of the research value of the Centre’s holdings. Once again, contributors’ initials appeared with the published extracts and a list of names was included.

Shell Ladies Project and the EAC

By 2001 the original contributions to Shell Ladies Project had been carefully filed. It was this valuable collection of original writings which was the inspiration for Judy Moody-Stuart, Glenda Lewin and Dewey White to create the Outpost Family Archive Centre in 2003, originally as part of the Shell support organisation Outpost in The Hague. When the foundation Outpost went through structural changes and morphed into Shell’s Global Outpost Services, it became clear that the archive should become separate. The original foundation was revised, reduced and renamed to deal solely with the preserving and expanding of the growing collection of expatriate writings. The EAC was formally launched in April 2008 as an independent foundation.

The material collected by the Shell Ladies Project in the 1990s remains a vital part of the core EAC collection. Contributors to this project had agreed to the publication of their material. However, they had not specifically agreed to it being used for any other purpose. The EAC has tried to contact contributors to explain what has happened to the Shell Ladies Project and to obtain an agreement to use their material for research, but with very little success.  People have moved and their contact details were outdated.

European data protection legislation

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018 and introduces new, enhanced protections for personal information of ‘data subjects’ held by third parties. These include the right for an individual to ask for data held to be corrected if it is wrong or for it to be deleted if it is likely to cause them serious financial or reputational damage – ‘the right to be forgotten’. The restrictions apply only to living persons.

The EAC would like to give contributors to the Life on the Move and Life Now the opportunity to confirm that the EAC may continue to hold, describe and make available their contributions for future research. The EAC will, of course, manage the personal information in line with the wider GDPR requirements, preserving anonymity where required, ensuring that researchers using the material will do the same.

Next steps

The EAC would like contributors to complete and sign a new Depository agreement which describes how their material can be used by the EAC. If you or a member of your immediate family contributed to either publication (or both), please get in touch with the EAC at welcome@xpatarchive.com or call +31(0)70 427 2014. If you would like to receive any additional information about your original contribution, please contact us.