Alessandro Portelli and Barbara Dane: Records of resistance

In this post part-time OHMA student Bud Kliment examines the relationship of folk music to oral history through the intersecting careers of Alessandro Portelli and Barbara Dane, occasioned by the release of Dane’s retrospective Hot Jazz, Cool Blues and Hard-Hitting Songs on Smithsonian Folkways.

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The Liberation of Oral History: A Little History and A Lot of Work

In this post, Mary Marshall ClarkDirector of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research, Co-Director of OHMA, and Senior Member of the Columbia University Institutional Review Boardreflects on the recent update to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, which has clarified the exclusion of oral history from its research review mandates. 

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Announcing the 2016-2017 OHMA Research Grant Award Recipients

We are proud to announce that our 2016-2017 OHMA Research Grants have been awarded to current students Robin Miniter (2016) and Fanny Julissa García (2016), who will be exploring the experiences of women who have navigated either American wilderness and patriarchy, or immigration detention and identity formation. Funding and support has been made possible through the GSAS Thesis Research Matching Award program.

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Jun. 19-30: Memory, Visuality, and Mobility Oral History Summer Seminar in Florence

Applications are now open for a new two-week long intensive seminar exploring oral history, memory, visuality, and the body. The course is co-sponsored by the European Research Council Project Bodies Across Borders: Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond (BABE) and the Columbia University Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA), and hosted by the Department of History and Civilization at the European University Institute, Florence.

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Fernanda Espinosa to be a Smithsonian Fellow in Washington, DC

Fernanda is spending her Summer at the Smithsonian Institution in America’s Capitol

Ecuador native, New York based, Fernanda Espinosa is off to do a Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP). She will be working with Ranald Woodaman, Director of Exhibits and Public Programs (and LMSP alumn) – Smithsonian Latino Center, on the Latino DC History Project: Muralism project research.

The Latino DC History Project is a multi-year initiative to document, preserve, and share the stories of Latino/as in the institutions, culture, economy and daily life of the nation's capital. Working with the Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC) Exhibitions and Public Program Director, Fernanda will explore the feasibility of a long-term muralism project in DC as a component of the Latino DC History Project.

Fernanda Espinosa is an Andean immigrant based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a cultural organizer, language justice advocate, and oral history artist.  She is currently a Master of Arts candidate at Columbia University’s Oral History Program and holds a BA in Anthropology as well as in Latin American Literature.

Fernanda is a steward and co-founder of the People’s Climate Arts group, a diverse network of artists and cultural organizers that uses art and culture to help support, mobilize and amplify social movements, while simultaneously creating space for local, long-term projects. The group was a recipient of the 2015 Rauschenberg Foundation Artists as Activists fund. She also co-founded and is a project coordinator of Cooperativa Cultural 19 de enero (CC 1/19), an art and oral history collective working with interviews, murals, and other visual and audio tools. CC 1/19 received The Laundromat Project’s 2015 Create Change commission award.

As part of her thesis at Columbia Oral History MA, Fernanda is working on Hogar de la Distancia (Home of Distance), a sound and visual art project documenting stories of immigrants from Ecuador, one of the largest migrant populations in New York metropolitan area. The interviews and participatory efforts serve as points of departure that inspire audio-visual portraits put together in conjunction with the CC 1/19 collective. In addition to documenting the voices, the project seeks to make visible, honor and recognize the memory and experience of people who migrate and must navigate complex relationships with their loved ones and their homeland from a distance.

With the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program Fernanda hopes to expand her experience in intentional cultural work and continue to create bridges between institutions and Latinx communities by making visible their histories in the United States.  She is also excited to learn more about these communities in Washington through her practicum in muralism research.

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. On July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation by James Smithson and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 127 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.

If you would like more information about this Smithsonian Internships, Fellowships, and Research Associates, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Internships at 202-633-7070 or check out their website