Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Blog: Education Committee and the OHA Annual Meeting

Fall.  Besides autumn leaves and season change it is considered a time for new found ideas and shared experiences.  And of course, a new school year across ages and institutions.  Education. I’ve been thinking a lot about its meaning and what Oral History in Education means to the Oral History Association and its members. If I asked five members if they could share their understanding of Oral History in Education, I would get a different answer from each.  As Chair of the Education Committee for OHA, I grapple with this question and I wonder if the Education Committee is meeting the members’ needs. The Committee is made up of a diverse group of people working in varied institutions with K-12 students, adult students, and community members with oral history at the core of their teaching and learning.  Our views and expertise are mixed and expansive but we have found commonalities through our conversations.

A discussion we keep circling around is how oral history as a tool is used in the public education realm. We would like to invite you to be part of the dialogue.  If you are attending the annual meeting in Oklahoma City this year, join us on Friday, October 11 at 8:30 am in the Continental Room for a Roundtable discussion on The Transformational Power of Oral History to Invigorate Public Education.

If you can’t make the session but would like to become involved with the Education Committee, please feel free to join us for our meeting on Thursday, October 10 at 12:15 in Centennial 2.  (Check the program guide for any room changes.)

Debbie Ardemendo
Education Manager- School Programs
Apollo Theater
253 West 125th Street
New York, New York 10027
Direct: 212.531.5343
Fax: 212.749.2743

View All Blog Articles.

Blog: IOHA Scholarship Awards Available

XVIIIth International Conference
“Power and Democracy: The Many Voices of Oral History”
9th – 12th July 2014
Barcelona – Spain

For each international conference the IOHA is able to provide small grants for a limited number of participants. The IOHA Conference/Master Class Scholarship Fund aims to bring together international oral history scholars from inside and outside the academic realm, to continue building a unique global platform for professional exchange and comparative oral history inquiry.

IOHA Conference/Masterclass Grants take the form of financial support for travel costs, master classes fees or conference fees. This time the maximum grant is 6.850-€. (as of March 2014). Most awards range between 250 € to 500 €. The grant is a supplement; applicants are advised to start looking for funds from other sources as soon as they determine their intention to participate.

Scholarship application deadline: 1 December 2013

Consideration will be given only to those whose proposals for inclusion in the conference program have been accepted. (Submission for conference paper proposals is due by July 15, 2014.) See the conference website for more information:  
and the IOHA website:

The IOHA Scholarship Committee will send out notification letters by 1 January 2014 to all applicants whose application has reached us before the deadline. In order to receive an award, those selected must submit their final abstracts and papers by the published deadline and present their papers in person at the conference in Barcelona.  .

The deadline for receipt of the final paper is April 30, 2014. The final confirmation of IOHA Scholarship Award will depend on the submission of your paper. Any offer we make will be withdrawn if you do not submit your final paper.

Early submission of final paper is strongly advised, as this may prove helpful as you try to secure your visa. Applications for a visa should generally be submitted at least five months in advance of your planned date of travel.

Please see the attached document for criteria and submission information

View All Blog Articles.

Blog: The International Oral History Conference – Power and Democracy: the many voices of Oral History

This month we will be highlighting Power and Democracy:  the many voices of Oral History.  The XVIII International Oral History Conference to be held 9-12 July, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.   Information about the conference can be found at  Please note that the deadline for the call for proposals has been extended to September 15, 2013.  For more information about submitting a proposal, see  Individual papers, thematic panels, workshop proposals and performance segments are being sought.

Details about the conference focus are as follows:
The force of democracy as well as the resistance it has met have prompted oral history project around the world.  Interviews with advocates of change have supplemented and supplanted archives of discredited regimes.  Oral histories have document social and political upheavals, reform movement and reactions. Oral history have revealed the effects of power relationships that exist between citizens and their governments, workers and employers, students and teachers, and the layers within institutions, communities and families.  As a democratic tool, oral history records and preserves the memories, perceptions, and voices of individuals and groups at all levels and in all endeavors, but that raises questions about what to do with these interviews and how to share them with the people and communities they reflect. “Power and democracy” will be the theme of the IOHA’s meeting in Barcelona, with the sub-themes:
•    Archives, Oral Sources and Remembrance
•    Power in Human Relations
•    Democracy as a Political Tool
•    Oral Sources and Cultural Heritage
•    New Ways to Share Our Dialogue with the Public

Rob Perks at the British Library has recently proposed a theme panel ‘making oral history interviews available on the Web’.  If interested in participating in this panel, please email Rob Perks at outlining what you can contribute to the overall subject.  He would particularly like to explore Ron Grele’s recent provocative assertion that “the future does not look bright.  The only interviews that will be placed online will be very, very ‘safe’ or innocuous.  We will soon be back to vanity interviews of movers and shakers.” The British Library’s website is

Hope to see you in Barcelona.

Many thanks
Your International Committee Web Liaison,
Leslie McCartney

View All Blog Articles.

2013 Emerging Crises Research Fund Recipient Announced!

The Oral History Association is delighted to announce that the 2013 Emerging Crisis Oral History Research Fund goes to Carrie and Michael Kline of Talking Across the Lines for their proposed project “The Oil and Gas Rush in the Marcellus Shale Fields of West Virginia: An Emerging Crisis.”

As in other parts of the United States, northcentral West Virginia is experiencing an ecological and public health crisis and a deep community conflict ensuing from deep and horizontal drilling, known as “fracking,” to extract natural gas. As the Klines write, “The Appalachian region is in an uproar of pain and confusion” around fracking. Citizen opinion about the practice runs along a wide spectrum, and community relations run the risk of being ruptured.

With support from the OHA Emerging Crises Research Fund, Talking Across the Lines will record lengthy testimonials from people on all sides of the issue in far greater depth than the average journalist or news crew will cover, linking larger reflections about family, home and community to fracking, and perhaps helping to “discover common ground among apparently polarized points of view.” As the Klines write, “Without this proposed listening project, these complexities would otherwise be lost or unavailable.” They argue that their project “can play an important role in balancing the need for energy independence with protection of health, happiness and human rights among the region’s inhabitants. Such is the power of spoken narratives.”


Carrie and Michael Kline

View All News Blog Articles.

2014 Oral History Association Awards


Article Award

Tracy K’Meyer

“Remembering the Past and Contesting the Future of School Desegregation in Louisville, Kentucky, 1975-2012″


Book Award

Anna Sheftel and Stacey Zembrzycki, editors

Oral History off the Record: Toward an Ethnography of Practice

Palgrave, 2013


Nonprint Format Award

Kenneth Bindas and David Hassler

May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970


Vox Populi Awards

Densho:  The Japanese American Legacy Project, Seattle, Washington

African American Oral History Project, Oakland, California


View All News Blog Articles.

Blog: Harford Voices – A Digital Oral History Exhibit Created by Harford Community College Students

post by James Karmel

Oral history is a great way to learn and teach history. At Harford Community College (Bel Air, Maryland), my history students participated in an exciting project during the Fall 2012 semester in a class about the 1960s. The undergraduate students conducted 17 interviews with narrators from the community, their families and college personnel. They recorded each interview on campus or in the field for the purpose of developing a website that featured significant video clips of the interviews. With student input, I utilized WordPress to develop a website called Harford Voices, located here: After the semester, I developed the website using the interviews and with great help from a web consultant and college staffer. Eventually, we will also post the full interviews in the college’s library archive, accessible online.

The Harford Voices project was an exciting opportunity for students to hear more directly about the 1960s from people who lived through that tumultuous and transformative era in American history. The interviews focused on broad themes that were later defined on the website: civil rights, Vietnam and cultural change. Each student had access to all the interviews through utilization of Vimeo, an online video sharing program. For their projects, each student developed substantial analysis papers in which they reacted and commented on the interview(s) they participated in and others that classmates had conducted. Harford Voices also includes a page entitled “Student Reflections” that includes textual student reactions to the oral history project and three recorded video clips of students discussing the project.

For this oral history educator, the student reflection component of the project was most gratifying. Yes, the students understood that this was a required element of their final projects and that the grades on these projects factored into their grades for the class. Yet, their thoughtful statements illuminated the meaningful learning that they experienced through participation in the project. For example, one student compared classroom instruction to the oral history experience:

It is obvious what is meaningful to the narrator as she discusses the environmental aspects, sexual revolution and hippy lifestyle of the 60’s to a great length. The impact of an oral history project is different in many aspects of traditional classroom learning. In class you learn about the events in history analyze the events. Participating in an oral history project you get the perceptive of the individual person verse society as a whole.

Another student wrote of the power of oral history to inspire:

As a student historian, this has simply re-ignited my passion to want to learn and hear more from people who have lived through various time periods, even in the recent past of about a hundred years. I am more dedicated than ever, I believe, to trying to capture whomever I can, even if it is not video recorded. I also want to record somehow both my own memories and those of my age group and younger. Things that I remember and forget are so historical, such as 9/11, the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the cold war, what it was like living under the threat of nuclear war, how people reacted at the prospect of Y2K, etc. Interestingly enough it makes me want to turn into a roving journalist again, asking anyone I come in contact with even the things that they think majorly influenced them or their lives.

Harford Voices is just beginning. We expect it to grow in the future as our students continue to conduct oral history and add their interviews and thoughts to the project. For more information, please visit Harford Voices and/or contact me directly at

View All Blog Articles.

Blog: International Scholarship Award Winners, Part 3

Each year scholarship applications submitted by selected international participants for the upcoming OHA annual meeting are reviewed by the International Committee. This year seven participants were granted scholarships. With only $3,500.00 in total to offer, the decisions on which applications to fund were difficult ones for the committee.

For the past few weeks we have been highlighting the scholarship winners and their conference topics. The final two are below.


Therese Sweeney, Australia
Paper Title: Pioneers of the Fringe South West Sydney 2009-2012: A Case Study by Memory Bank cultural Media Inc.
Abstract: Pioneers of the Fringe, an extensive digital sound and image survey, was initiated in 2009 by Memory Bank in response to radical social, cultural and demographic changes occurring in the traditional market gardening communities on the fringe of Sydney. This semi-rural landscape is in transformation, culminating in a city the size of Canberra, a population increase from 5,000 to 250,000 people in coming years.

This farming community is located in Austral & Leppington (Postcode 2179), housing the highest concentration of ageing migrants residents from South East Europe, in the whole of the New South Wales. These ageing migrants, first and second generation, started market gardening in the early part of the 20th century and grew food for our armed forces during World War II and fed greater Sydney. Farming methods were developed by residents from the old Yugoslavia, who in turn taught the Italian, Maltese migrants and so on. Their extraordinary and enduring contributions remain invisible and virtually unrecognized in our local cultural institutions and our national narrative. They remain out of the consciousness of the wider Sydney population.

The Memory bank initiative aimed to redress this blank in history and acknowledge this group through digital media in oral history and photography. There is no broadband in this region and the group had no understanding of current technology or digital equipment. Themes of migration, women, labor, poverty, farming methods, crops, community and culture were explored. Sites of engagement (as there were only a few in this landscape), included the Bowling Club, the Bocce Club, the Community Service and of course, farms and market gardens.

The digital resource now includes forty migrant pioneering residents personal oral histories (as digital sound recordings), private photograph archives were scanned (digitized), uncovering much photographic history, hundreds of ageing residents participated in contemporary photographic portraiture (in a makeshift studio and in their environment); many hours of observational video footage was also recorded at sites where they gather (digital); either video/films were produced and exhibited as video installations in galleries, museums, libraries, on buildings and online during the project.

The digital material will lay the blueprint for this communities’ future and allow for further research and investigation. Memory Bank projects are to be housed through the University of Technology, Sydney whose library staff are building the technical infrastructure to host this multi-media archive and other future work, that it be open to the public and students as an open learning source. The archive development is underway and will commence during 2013. Many of our other major library institutions have a great analogue backlog to clear and have budget constraints to host this work.

Memory Bank is a not for profit, legal charity and achieved private funding to complete the engagement and collection phase of the Pioneers of the Fringe. No government funding was forthcoming. Memory Bank is in fact pioneering a new way with oral history in this country, Australia. Memory Bank is development a best practice model that establishes and values technically and conceptually well produced sound and image projects, as a way to engage communities and train residents in oral history and considers photography both in still moving image to be a vital part to stimulate more project work, archived and technical production and to attract new audiences and practitioners.
Miroslav Vaněk, Czech Republic
Paper Title: Work as a Value. Of Unemployment and Bananas (1970 – 2012). An Oral History Project
Abstract: This paper will be based on the analysis and interpretation of about 300 interviews with members of different group of Czech society (manual workers, farmers, intellectuals, workers in the service sector, members of the armed forces, members of management, senior marketing personnel etc.) born roughly between the years 1935 and 1955 who were in their active age during the last twenty years of the communist regime and at least during some part of the post-revolutionary transformation. These interviews were carried out as part of the research for the Center for Oral History Institute for Contemporary History between 2006 and 2012.

View All Blog Articles.

Blog: International Scholarship Award Winners, Part 2

Each year scholarship applications submitted by selected international participants for the upcoming OHA annual meeting are reviewed by the International Committee. This year seven participants were granted scholarships. With only $3,500.00 in total to offer, the decisions on which applications to fund were difficult ones for the committee.

Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting the scholarship winners and their conference topics.


Yin Peili, China
Paper Title: Review on Mainland China Research of Oral History in Libraries
Abstract: As far as Mainland China is concerned, the research of oral history in libraries is still at its beginning stage. Until now, there still have not been any books published, while the number of published articles is also relatively less, only 41.

In the year 2000, the first article was published in the Library Journal Shanghai Library. Compared to America, it’s more than 30 years later must be noted that a large amount of articles (take the percentage of 43.9%) were written by librarians of Shantou University Library, which is the first library in Mainland China carry out oral history with the support of Li Ka Shing Foundation.

The most important is that the research theme is also very narrow. Almost half of the articles were on the importance and feasibility of oral history in libraries. The oral history management problems especially cataloging, digitizing, laws and ethics were little discussed. Researchers and librarians should pay more and more attention to them.


Marica Sapro Ficovic, Croatia
Paper Title: Oral History Shows Vibrant Life in Libraries Under War Conditions in Croatia 1991-1995
Abstract: I received my Dr. Sc. degree in Spring 2012 from the Postgraduate Study of Information Sciences, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb, Croatia. The dissertation was entitled: “Activities of libraries under siege in war. Case studies: Croatia 1991/1995.” The research includes extensive oral history interviews in ten cities under siege during the Homeland War with the objective to collect and organize recollections and reflections of librarians and from library users about the use of libraries and nature of reading in conditions of war. The oral history collection consists of over 54 hours of interviews; transcripts contain over 450,000 words. The topic of these oral histories is unique; nothing similar is reported anyplace in the world. Methods with extensive examples and quotes from results are presented in the paper submitted the OHA meeting.

In my own country, Croatia, oral history is not widely practiced or even understood as yet. I intend to promote and even teach the use and analysis of oral histories not only among the library community in Croatia, but also involving other fields and general practices.

View All Blog Articles.

Blog: International Scholarship Award Winners, Part 1

Each year scholarship applications submitted by selected international participants for the upcoming OHA annual meeting are reviewed by the International Committee. This year seven participants were granted scholarships. With only $3,500.00 in total to offer, the decisions on which applications to fund were difficult ones for the committee.

Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting the scholarship winners and their conference topics.


Bina Gandhi Deori, India
Paper Title: Oral Tradition and the Genealogy of the Galo tribe
Abstract: My presentation is on the Oral tradition and genealogy of the Galo tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, a region which is still an unexplored territory in India. Because of its remoteness and difficult terrain, it is more or less cut-off from mainland India even today. Not many researchers have ventured into this land of dense and thick forest because of its inhospitable nature. Thus, very little is known about this tribe.
I, myself belong to this tribe. This ethnic community has diverse and rich traditional knowledge systems but in the absence of any script these indigenous knowledge have been passed on to the next generation orally. The Galos have a perishable material culture, thus oral history of the Galo tribe plays a very important role to understand their culture. The oral histories of the Galos contain narratives of their migration, origin of agriculture, rituals, folklores etc. But unfortunately, due to unawareness among the ethnic population regarding the significance of their oral tradition, their oral history does not get documented.

Therefore being one from the same tribe, the opportunity to attend the OHA AM will help me to share my work on the Galos to a larger audience about whom very little is known even in India and a rare opportunity to interact with the best researchers and scholars of all over the world in the field of oral history.
Haweiya Egeh, Canada
Paper Title: Forced Migration and Settlement: A History of the Somali Community in Toronto, Canada
Abstract: The Somali community is one that is maturing within Canada and the city of Toronto. After about 20 years in Canada, I believe the time is right to document the immigration and settlement experience of the 1st generation, as well as the different yet similar experiences of the youth (2nd generation Canadians). This is especially important in Toronto given that there has been a glut of violent incidents with young Somali men which have cast a negative light on the community and has led to questions as to why this is happening. Is it connected to the initial settlement of these youth’s family 20+ years ago? Is it related to various systemic failures (i.e. schools, prison system, family, etc.)? Is there an intergenerational culture clash occurring (“back home” values vs. “Western” values)? Can it be related to religion and the Islamaphobia that many Somali-Canadians, young and old, feel stigmatized and alienated by? These are all questions that this project can begin to answer and I believe these answers are of interest to all Somali communities, Muslim communities and African/Caribbean communities around the globe.


Lei Facheng, China
Paper Title: Unveiling The Walking Horse Culture in the Hexi Corridor
Abstract: A high school library located in the Hexi Corridor, Northwestern China, started an oral history program in 2009 to record an indigenous multi-ethnic culture as part of a library centered program funded by the Evergreen Education Foundation. In February 2012, the teachers and students started to record the oral history of the local walking horse culture. They interviewed local scholars, horse breeders, horse trainers and horseracing organizers, and observed several horse racings and the breeding and training of horses in the field.

The Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County, Gansu Province, China was the gateway to the Hexi Corridor, the hub of the Silk Road. Due to the needs of the trade caravans, the pony express and the nomadic nature of its local people, the horse bears rich cultural connotations. The Chakouyi (Fork Stage) horse that is good at a flying pace (called walking horse by the locals) as an excellent breed local to Tianzhu and played an important role in multiple aspects of the local people’s lives. The Tianzhu horse racing entered around horse trading promotes and demonstrates the unique glamour of the walking horse, whose high spirited gait was vividly captured by the bronze statue of Horse Stepping on Swallow, the emblem of China’s tourism.

Over a long period of time, factors including trade and business, ethnic customs, and social environment had formed a rich walking horse culture of breeding, training, trading and racing. Due to the change in social, economic and cultural conditions due the period of social transformation in China, the walking horse culture has changed greatly in the past half century. For instance, the past fifty years has witnessed that the popular horse breeding places have changed from local temples to People’s communes, then to family and private businesses. Meanwhile, because traditionally the knowledge of horse breeding and training highly relies on oral transmission, the literature on this subject is acutely lacking, and this minority culture is in great need of preservation and study.

Based on the Study of the Walking Horse Culture Oral History Project of Tiazhu No. 1 High School, this paper synthesizes the connotations and changes of the walking horse culture from the oral narratives or ordinary folks, and supplements for the lack of existing literature on this subject. It analyzes the changes of the walking horse culture during the period of social transformation in China and narrates the preservation of this cultural heritage by high school teachers and students.

View All Blog Articles.

Blog: Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program: Thoughts on Volunteer Training

Post by Allison K. Tracy

When we think about education and oral history, training volunteers for community-based oral history projects perhaps receive less attention than more traditional pedagogical efforts in oral history. It is, however, an important and vital part of the work we do to foster the use of oral history and to provide people with the tools to document their own and others’ stories.

At the Stanford Historical Society, volunteer interviewers are a vital part of the Society’s oral history program. Though interviews conducted by the Society date back to the 1980s, the program was revitalized in 2006 in part by an ambitious project to document Stanford alumni memories and stories during an annual reunion weekend. Since then the Society has conducted oral history interviews with many important faculty, staff, and others, documenting Stanford’s history as a university and a community. Most of our volunteers have a Stanford affiliation, and all have a passion for capturing personal stories.

The Society’s approach to educating volunteers has evolved over the years, utilizing both consultants and its own small staff. Multi-day workshops have been held, as well as one-on-one training sessions over the course of an afternoon.  The Society hasn’t settled on one set curriculum, and has used numerous resources to train volunteers, ranging from OHA Best Practices to its own wisdom cultivated through building an oral history program from scratch.  With the creation of my position a little over a year ago, the Society has worked to professionalize its standards. As procedures and policies have changed and evolved (and some have changed more than once), keeping volunteers up to date has been a challenge. Stanford, like so many others has forged ahead into the digital world, and yet our oral history training manual is still available in paper copy only. Indeed, the staff at Kinko’s eyes me wearily every time I walk in with what looks like a full ream of paper to be copied and bound. In thinking about ways to better serve our new and continuing volunteers, a fully digital training manual, though it seems like a simple thing, struck me as a useful tool—a way to make sure that busy volunteers who provide an invaluable service to the Society and to Stanford have easy access to current policies, procedures, and practices. It’s an idea and a summer project (hopefully not a long one!), and fewer trips to Kinko’s.

For more information about the Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program, please visit the Society’s website:

View All Blog Articles.