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Oct 25 | OHMA Fall Open House

  • Pupin Hall, Room 420, Columbia University 538 West 120th Street New York, NY 10027 New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)


Please join us for an Oral History M.A. program open house on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in Pupin Hall, Room 420. Refreshments will be served.


  • Information session

  • Learn about our Future Voices Fellowship

  • Meet OHMA students and alums

  • Presentation by OHMA Alumnus Lynn Lewis

  • Mini-interviewing workshop, taught by OHMA Director Amy Starecheski

OHMA is the first program of its kind: a one-year interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree training students in oral history method and theory. Our graduates work in museums, historical societies, advocacy organizations, media, the arts, education, human rights, and development. OHMA is also excellent preparation for doctoral work in fields like anthropology, history, journalism, and American studies or professional degrees in law, education, or social work. 

Jointly run by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research, one of the preeminent oral history centers in the world, and INCITE, a lively hub for interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences, OHMA connects students with the intellectual resources of a major research university, and with the intimate society of a small cohort of talented students.

During a year at OHMA, students learn the skills of digital audio and video production and editing, digital archiving, oral history project design and interviewing, and both historical and social science analysis. Working with an OHMA faculty member, each student is guided through the process of creating a thesis or capstone project. Past projects have taken the form of academic and creative essays, film and audio documentaries, performances, exhibits, and multimedia websites. OHMA students also have access to elective courses taught anywhere within the University and exclusive oral history internship opportunities.

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In this open house, OHMA alumna Lynn Lewis will present her thesis work on the Picture the Homeless Oral History Project. Lynn Lewis is a graduate of the OHMA Program (October, 2018) and a long time community organizer and social justice worker.  She is interested in the potential for oral history research to support the work of grass roots organizations to win social justice.  To that end, she has been working at the nexus of community organizing, participatory action research and oral history to explore what a participatory oral history research practice and research structure might look like.  Her current research is an oral history of Picture the Homeless, a homeless led organization where she worked for 17 years.  She is a founding board member of the E Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust and sits on the board of the Cooper Square Community Land Trust. Lynn works in NYC as a consultant and trainer to grass roots organizations.

The Picture the Homeless Oral History Project documents the organizing methodology of this homeless led organization through oral history research for the purpose of supporting homeless folks’ organizing and leadership in social justice movements. In this presentation, Lynn will share her experiments in working deeply with a core group of interviewees, creating structures to extend the shared authority of the narrators during the interview into the analysis phase of oral history research. 

Prospective students are also welcome to meet with the OHMA director or sit in on our classes leading up to the open house. Please send us an email ( to connect and plan your visit!

Please review our admissions page for further information leading up to our priority deadline on Wednesday, March 1 and RSVP to our Eventbrite if you are able to join our open house.

We are looking forward to reviewing your applications and meeting you in person on the 25th!