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International Committee Blog

It is with great sadness I submit this monthly blog.  The passing of Cliff Kuhn, the OHA Executive Director, is such a great loss and my sympathies go out to his family, friends and colleagues.  The Oral History Association’s Annual Meeting in Tampa was excellent this year due to the efforts of Cliff and Gayle Knight.  Cliff’s energy and passion for oral history will be truly missed.

This month we hear from two International Scholarship recipients who presented their papers at the OHA annual meeting in Tampa:

The OHA conference in Tampa, Florida was the third OHA I have attended, and what a rewarding experience it was, again. Given that my permanent location is 6000 miles away in South Africa, having this opportunity to attend an OHA is a rare and special experience.I presented my paper entitled, “The practice, limits and meaning of empathy in oral history” on the first day of the conference.

The session was well attended and the unusual mixture of papers dealing with empathy, compassion and mindfulness in oral history interviewing triggered a lively discussion and several productive differences were illuminated.  My own presentation was well received, and the questions and feedback from the audience will usefully  guide my reworking of the conference paper into a journal article. As with previous occasions, I was struck by the smooth and very efficient conference organization, and a special acknowledgement of the superb job done by Cliff Kuhn and Gayle Knight is necessary. I thoroughly enjoyed several sessions and the opportunity to have extended conversation with oral historians from across the USA and many from other countries was invaluable. Sessions dealing with trauma, memory and various post-violence themes were especially informative to my on-going work on these themes.

Finally, my sincere thanks and appreciation to the OHA international committee for granting me this scholarship to attend the Tampa conference.

Best wishes, Sean Field, University of Cape Town, South Africa


The Oral History Association conference was very instrumental for my development as an oral history researcher and presenter.  This opportunity helped me acquire some tools that I will use in my professional work and research. The conference also helped me to present my research to scholars who then gave me suggestions on how to improve it. The scholarship helped me to cover part of the expenses that I incurred to attend the meeting.

As a full time student it would have been impossible for me to cover the expenditure to attend as well as hotel, airfare and registration. Without the scholarship, I will not have the opportunity to attend, present and participate of the conference.

Jorge Mercado, Puerto Rico


In October I attended the 2015 OHA Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida thanks largely to a generous scholarship from your committee that assisted with travel and conference costs. I want to take this moment to thank you for this opportunity. The scale of this conference far exceeded my expectations (and I had heard wonderful things). The program was packed with an incredible range of workshops, seminars, and presentations from a broad range of people. It really highlighted the diverse and innovative uses of oral history in this interdisciplinary field. From the moment I arrived, I felt welcomed into this community of established and emerging scholars. I met incredible people and learned about the great work that is being done. The conference theme ‘stories of social change’ was ideal for me to reflect on and share my research on single and/or lesbian mothers. Again, thank you for the chance to share my work in an international context, but more importantly thank you for the opportunity to learn from the members of the American oral history community. I return to Australia for the final write-up of my doctoral thesis with a renewed sense of excitement and inspiration with regard to the power of oral history and the importance of sharing these stories of social change.

Christin Quirk, Australia

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