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Annual Meeting Spotlight: Oral History in Spaces at the Boundary-Narratives of Social Change

Oral historians often work with activist communities that occupy spaces at the boundary of social change. Narrators, many in states of transition, describe their collective struggles for social justice. In the Thursday plenary session at the OHA annual meeting, veteran oral historians explore their experiences working with several such communities. Filmmaker, curator and activist Jim Hubbard, who co-directs the ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) Oral History Project will discuss his oral history based films and exhibitions about AIDS activism. Yolanda Chavez Leyva, Chair of the History Department at UTEP and Director of the Museo Urbano, that documents a Mexican immigrant barrio in El Paso, Texas will share some of the experiences of oral history projects that taught students not to “speak for those without a voice,” but to listen to them instead. Kim Diehl, a writer, listener and organizer whose profession is communicating stories about the power of people working collectively, will reflect on her experience using oral history to support hospital and nursing home worker organizing in Central and South Florida from 2008-2015. Aleia Brown, who co-founded the #MuseumsRespondToFerguson monthly Twitter chat that discusses how museums can address race inequities and contested contemporary issues, and who is part of the consortium that released the Joint Statement from Museum Bloggers and Colleagues on Ferguson and Related Events, will serve as the plenary commentator.

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