OHMA is hosting a weekend workshop event on Saturday, January 24th, 2015. Join us for an intensive day of oral history workshops with OHMA faculty and alumni!
Registration: $50 per workshop for students and $75 per workshop for all others. Lunch is included.
Location: Schermerhorn Hall. See below for room assignments, which vary by course [Campus map.]
Schedule at a Glance:
10AM-1PM Selection of introductory workshops
· Oral History and Research, with Mary Marshall Clark. Register.
· Introduction to Oral History for Educators, with Amy Starecheski. Register.
· Introduction to Oral History for Public Historians, with Marie Scatena. Register.
· Introduction to Oral History for Writers, with Gerry Albarelli. Register.
2PM-5PM Selection of focused workshops
· Oral History and Human Rights Work, with Mary Marshall Clark. Register.
· Oral History in Museums, with Marie Scatena. Register.
· Oral History and the Practice of Buddhist Deep Listening, with Erica Fugger. Register.
· Oral History’s Applications, with Sara Sinclair. Register.
· Re-imagining the Past: Autobiographical and Biographical Writing, with Gerry Albarelli. Register.
Morning Workshops, 10AM-1PM
Introduction to Oral History for Writers, Gerry Albarelli
Oral history reminds us that people are natural storytellers. The oral history interview also gives writers unusual access—to the past; to stories they may not have heard otherwise; to important stories in danger of being lost forever; to the liveliness of speech; to small worlds within our larger world. The oral history interview also poses a particular—and particularly interesting—challenge to writers: What do we do with multiple perspectives on a single event? How do we confront the mystery of what, if anything, actually happened? Participants will be introduced to interviewing techniques that tend to lead to rich, anecdotal testimony. This workshop will be structured around two questions: How does one earn the right to hear the important story? Having heard the story, how does a writer earn the right to re-tell it?
Oral History and Research, Mary Marshall Clark
Oral history is a form of biographical, social, economic, political and cultural research – contributing to an understanding of the many ways in which the past influences our thinking about the present and the future. This workshop will focus on ways in which oral history as a form of interdisciplinary research can contribute new knowledge and the development of unique primary sources. Practical aspects of the workshop will include thinking about how to design oral history research projects, and how to read and analyze narrative sources.
Introduction to Oral History for Educators, Amy Starecheski
Oral history can be a powerful tool in the classroom, transforming students into engaged researchers from the elementary grades through graduate school. This workshop will provide a focused introduction to oral history specifically tailored to the needs of educators. Participants will be guided through the process of designing and executing an oral history project and thinking through how to use oral history to meet their teaching goals. This workshop is suitable for educators working in formal and informal settings, with any age group, and across the disciplines.
Introduction to Oral History for Public Historians, Marie Scatena
How do intended outcomes for the work influence oral history practice? What are some of the practical and ethical considerations oral historians face when creating public history projects? In this introductory workshop, participants will identify processes used to conduct oral history research which also served as the foundation for public presentations including a movable exhibition, an oral history anthology, a commemorative program and a web archive in process. As a follow-up participants will engage in an activity to design criteria for oral history in public displays from the perspectives of interviewer, narrator and audience.
Afternoon Workshops: 2PM-5PM
Re-Imagining the Past: Autobiographical and Biographical Writing, Gerry Albarelli
We will discuss some potential literary uses of oral history interviews, with particular emphasis on autobiographical and biographical writing. Oral history interview transcripts can be a useful starting point, but the writer can—and probably should—draw from other sources of inspiration as well. A bold and imaginative act of transformation must take place. We will look at the relationship between form and content and will discuss the important question of the writer’s relationship to the material. There will be one or two in-class writing assignments meant to conjure up the past in language that conveys a sense of urgency and immediacy.
Oral History and Human Rights Work, Mary Marshall Clark
Oral history is increasingly used in human rights work to engage in historical dialogues, advocacy and the gathering of testimony in societies engaged in conflict and post-conflict situations. Oral history methodologies can be used by human rights advocates in multiple ways: a) to discover the real, daily life needs of vulnerable people, b) to advocate for social and political change based on that real knowledge; c) to develop ways of engaging, through in-depth interviews, across lines of social and cultural difference; and d), to construct opportunities for critical dialogues based on models of social change that emerge out of oral history stories about the past, the present and visions of the future. In this workshop we will discuss models of oral historical dialogues in human rights work, breaking down the components of successful transformational practice. Participants are encouraged to bring their own experiences in human rights and oral history work to the workshop.
Oral History and the Practice of Buddhist Deep Listening, Erica Fugger
Oral historian Jacquelyn Hall once defined the term “deep listening” as: “Listening beyond and beneath words. Listening for layers of meaning, for the cacophony of voices embedded in every story… Listening, too, for the unscripted, for the memories that hurtle to the surface for the first time, with a force that can make you rage or weep.” Comparably, Vietnamese Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh grounds the humanistic application of deep listening within the ability of the listener to relieve the suffering of the storyteller by offering undivided attention and compassion. This workshop will therefore examine the convergence of oral history methodology with the Buddhist practices of mindfulness, body awareness, and meditations on compassion. It will explore techniques for fostering a sense of openness to rapport-building, emotional exchanges, and extended periods of deep listening. Participants are encouraged to attend the workshop well-rested and be eager to engage in interactive exercises.
Oral History in Museums, Marie Scatena
Whether identified as universal or participatory, art or history, local or national, a museum’s mission is to collect, preserve and interpret stories which reflect and influence public audiences. In this workshop participants will discuss narratives present in recent museum exhibitions at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and The New York Historical Society. We will work in small groups to imagine aspects of oral history practice presented in museum exhibitions such as narrator selection, developing questions and interview strategies to shape story lines, and identifying objects, visual components and possible conceptual frameworks.
Oral History’s Applications, with Sara Sinclair
Once largely viewed as a resource for future researchers and relegated to the archives, today oral history practice is more often directed towards active outcomes. In this workshop we will consider how to engage different aspects of our work, and use different editing practices, to apply our interviews to different forms, including literary narrative, teaching tool and materials for advocacy. We will ask how the impact we want our interviews to have should direct the forms we present them in. We will get specific as we play with narratives to convert them from one form to another, thinking though how various incarnations lend themselves to various intentions, and reach different audiences. Throughout, we will contemplate how to stay true to oral history’s distinct ethics and ideals while pursuing various expressions of it. This workshop is suitable for people just beginning an oral history project, or for those interested in putting an existing collection of interviews to work in new ways.
Gerry Albarelli is author of Teacha! Stories from a Yeshiva (Glad Day Books, 2001), chronicling his experience as a non-Jew teaching English as a second language to Yiddish-speaking Hasidic boys at a yeshiva in Brooklyn. He has published essays, poems and stories in numerous anthologies and reviews, including The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories, Global City Review, The Breast, and Fairleigh Dickinson Review. Albarelli is on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College and the Columbia University Oral History Master of Arts program.
Mary Marshall Clark is the director of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR). Mary Marshall is also the co-founder and co-director of Columbia’s Oral History Master of Arts degree program. Mary Marshall has been involved in the oral history movement since 1991, and was president of the Oral History Association in 2001-2002. She was a founding member of the International Oral History Association. Mary Marshall teaches and writes on issues of memory, the mass media, trauma, and ethics in oral history. She was the co-principal investigator, with Peter Bearman, of the September 11, 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project, and directed related projects on the aftermath of September 11th in New York City. Mary Marshall’s current work focuses on the global impact of U.S. torture and detention policies, focusing on Guantánamo. Mary Marshall is an editor of After the Fall: New Yorkers Remember September 11, 2001 and the Years that Followed, published by The New Press in September 2011.
Erica Fugger is a New York-based oral historian whose focus lies in examining the personal narratives underpinning revolutions and social movements. She currently serves as the Administrative Coordinator of Columbia University’s Oral History M.A. program, of which she is a recent graduate. Erica’s previous experience includes managing the historic collections of the Columbia Center for Oral History Archives, conducting oral histories for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center, and teaching interviewing workshops around the New York metropolitan area. Her master’s thesis explored the evolution of activism within the Riverside Sangha, a local Buddhist meditation community in the tradition of Vietnamese Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh.
Marie Scatena is a Visiting Lecturer and Visiting Oral Historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she teaches a new Public History course. Marie delights in exploring the nature and purposes of oral history narratives with students, and drawing on her background in museum education to help craft interpretations. She was in the first OHMA graduating class, and from 2010-2012, she taught core courses in the OHMA program. Marie is currently conducting interviews for the University of Illinois Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and consulting on History Moves, a public history gallery “on wheels” that displays the under-explored histories of Chicago’s communities.
Sara Sinclair grew up in Toronto, Canada. Before moving to New York City to attend Columbia University’s Oral History Master of Arts program, Sara lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she conducted an oral history project for the International Labor Organization. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Athabasca University, Sara’s previous work is in the fields of theatre performance and broadcast journalism. Sara has conducted oral histories for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and on the closure of New York gallery/artist’s space Exit Art. Sara currently works at the Columbia Center for Oral History Research, where she is program manager of the Robert Rauschenberg Oral History project. Her own work explores the narratives of Native North Americans from tribal communities, who attend elite academic institutions and go home to work after school.
Amy Starecheski is the Associate Director of the Oral History MA Program at Columbia University. She has worked with the Columbia Center for Oral History for over fifteen years as an interviewer, educator, and project director. Amy is co-author of the Telling Lives Oral History Curriculum Guide, and has taught oral history at Columbia Teachers College. She has a PhD in Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she was a Public Humanities Fellow. Her research focuses on the historical practices of former squatters on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the use of oral history for social change.