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OHA Membership Feedback Wanted: Strategic Plan

The OHA has been working on a strategic planning process since 2019. At the 2019 Annual Meeting Council engaged in a planning retreat, and we held focus groups and one-on-one interviews with members. Taking all of this into account, at our Mid-winter Meeting in Feb 2020 Council developed the following mission, vision, values, goals and strategies.

We then paused our work to respond to the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our original intention was to continue to refine success indicators for each goal, create a timeline for implementation, and prioritize our strategies before sharing this document with committees and membership for feedback, but the ongoing uncertainty and heavy workload created by the pandemic has led us to decide to share this document now, as is.

We feel that this draft plan still provides a powerful framework for our work, even as we have shifted to unanticipated tasks such as preparing to hold meetings online and developing remote recording guidelines. We are sharing this for feedback now, so that we will be ready to prioritize strategies as short, medium and long term and develop an implementation plan later this year.

For our members: We invite you to read and respond to this draft, and begin to ponder how you as a member might contribute to implementing it, both in this time of crisis and in the medium to long term. We also ask you to consider how this plan serves you and all the members of the Oral History Association. In our recent Statement on the killing of George Floyd and solidarity with Black Lives Matter, we discussed the need to confront institutional racism in our institutions, and this work extends to the OHA itself. Though this strategic plan is not the only place we will describe and commit to anti-oppression work within our organization, it is important for us to address it here intentionally. So we ask you for particular feedback on the ways we’ve included diversity and inclusivity, how this may be lacking, and how we can improve and expand this work.


This initial phase of feedback will be open until August 9, 2020. Council will then review and integrate feedback from the membership and OHA committees and distribute a revised draft for membership approval in September.

Strategic Plan PDF:

Give feedback here:

Summer Workshop Series on Anti-Oppression and Oral History

The Oral History Association is proud to partner with the Columbia Oral History Master of Arts Program to present a summer workshop series on Anti-Oppression and Oral History. This series will consist of five virtual workshops: an introduction to an anti-oppression approach to oral history work, and four follow up workshops exploring project design, interviewing, and transcription from an anti-racist and decolonial perspective.

The workshops are free and open to the public- though please consider donating to cover the costs of the facilitators. Any donations that go beyond covering these costs will be used to support a Black incoming OHMA student.

For more information:

To register:


July 25, 2020, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Identifying Patterns: How Oppression and Abuse May Show Up in Oral History
Noor Alzamami and K.K. Hammond

August 7, 2020, 3:00 – 6:00 PM
Amplifying Oral Histories of Resistance
Sara Sinclair

August 13, 2020, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Listening for Embodied Knowledge: An Approach to the Oral History Interview
Nyssa Chow

August 22, 2020, 4:00 – 7:00 PM
Talking White: An Anti-Oppression View Towards Transcribing Black Narrators
Alissa Rae Funderburk

August 27, 2020, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Decentering Dominance: Language Justice in the Field
Fernanda Espinosa

*All times are listed in Eastern Standard Time


OHA Highlight: 2020 Emerging Crisis Winners- Ricia Chansky and Sierra Holt

The OHA congratulates our 2020 Emerging Crisis Research Fund Winners:

    • Ricia Chansky’s “Mi María” project is a large-scale public humanities project that uses oral history and other biographical methodologies—contextualized in critical disaster studies and environmental humanities—to study the impacts of Hurricane María on the people of Puerto Rico while working to resituate the national narrative from stories about the people to those by the people. This new phase of the project, “Sheltered in Place,” works to understand connections between the climate emergency and the public health crisis of Covid-19 in marginalized and underserved communities that are disproportionately impacted by both. A secondary objective of this project is to devise methods for creatively listening to and circulating life stories in a time of necessitated physical distancing.
    • Sierra Holt’s project is to produce an oral history of the descendants of the community who live in or near Lambert Lands. Lambert Lands became the home of newly emancipated people from Bedford County, Virginia in 1843. After establishing their settlement, this group obtained a deed, built a church, and developed the oldest Emancipation celebration, which continues today. They also were a stopping point for those escaping slavery in the South.  Since its creation, the legacy of Lambert Lands has continued despite threats of violence from the Klu Klux Klan, growing poverty in Appalachia, and numerous drug epidemics.  To fully comprehend the history of this community, Holt will also research and interview distant relatives who hold knowledge of the community’s origins in Bedford County, Virginia. For preservation, the results of these interviews will be donated to a library or archive housed at an academic institution or museum, particularly one that is focused on Southern and/or Appalachian Black history.