Nicki Pombier Berger is an oral historian, educator, and artist.
As an oral historian, Nicki works primarily on arts-based community engagement projects. Currently, she is collaborating with playwright Suli Holum on an oral history-based play about the Bakken shale. From 2014-2015, she worked on A Fierce Kind of Love, The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University’s multifaceted arts-based project on the intellectual disability rights movement in Pennsylvania.
As a community partner and oral historian on the project, Nicki trained volunteers to interview narrators with intellectual disabilities, and co-curated content for a multimedia exhibit online and in the rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol and Philadelphia’s City Hall (Here. Stories from Selinsgrove Center and KenCrest Services).
From 2013-2104, she designed and produced an oral history-based professional development film, the TILL Living Legacy Project, to train staff at a service agency to see the complexity and humanity of the individuals with intellectual disabilities with whom they work. The TILL Living Legacy Project won the 2015 Innovation Award from the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers. In 2013, she produced an online multimedia collection of stories from self-advocates with Down syndrome, “Nothing About Us Without Us.”
From 2010-2013, she led several community engagement efforts at the national nonprofit organization, StoryCorps. From 2015-2017, she was a Research Fellow on the Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project.
Nicki is the Founding Editor of Underwater New York, a digital journal of stories, art and music inspired by the waterways of NYC, which has published more than 150 works, curated dozens of events in all five boroughs, and been profiled in The New York Times, among other outlets. She and Underwater New York are 2017 recipients of a Brooklyn Arts Fund grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council.
She is a fiction and poetry editor for the book, Silent Beaches, Untold Stories: New York City’s Forgotten Waterfront, which was published by Damiani in September, 2016. She is also an editor of In Context Journal, with fellow OHMA alums Sarah Dzidzic, Cindy Choung, and Sewon Berrera, an independent platform for oral historical work and thoughtful explorations of what it means to listen, to speak, and to be heard.
Nicki has taught at the New School for Drama (New School University, New York, NY) since fall 2015, and teaches oral history workshops regularly, for a wide range of audiences and purposes, including teaching a workshop at Oral History Summer School on mixed-ability interviewing in June 2015. Along with her collaborator and fellow OHMA alum Liza Zapol, she has co-developed and co-led Push Play, a workshop drawing on the tools and language of performance ethnography and theatre studies to enliven the practice of oral history as art.
Nicki has a Master of Arts in Oral History from Columbia University (2013), a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College (2009), and a Bachelor of Science in the Foreign Service from Georgetown University (2001). More at www.nickipombierberger.com