OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on Workshops

In conjunction with the annual meeting, the OHA offers a robust assortment of workshops aimed at everyone from novices to experienced practitioners.  The workshops cover a wide range of topics, from the collection and preservation of oral history interviews, to legal and ethical issues, to the use of oral history in diverse formats and settings.



Wednesday, October 9

Workshop: An Introduction to Oral History

The introductory workshop serves as an informative overview to the field of oral history from initial

idea through finished product. The workshop will cover specifics within three sub-categories of

oral history: Pre-Interview, Interview, and Post-Interview, including the basics of oral history,

project planning, technology, interview setup, writing questions, release forms, providing access

and/or a transcript, available resources, and any other topic of interest to the attendees.

Additionally, the workshop will include a series of audio question and answer examples from

several oral history interviews to help individuals hone interviewing skills and provoke additional

discussion in the workshop.

Jeff D. Corrigan has been the Oral Historian for The State Historical Society of Missouri at the

University of Missouri-Columbia.


Workshop: Thinking & Writing Digitally: Bringing Multimedia Content to the Writing of Oral


This half-day, hands-on workshop is designed to provide guidance to authors who seek to

integrate multimedia content into the writing of oral history. The aim of the workshop is to help

attendees realize the goal of “writing digitally”—that is, making multimedia content integral, rather

than merely supplemental, to the arguments presented. Toward that end, the workshop leaders,

members of the Oral History Review’s editorial team, will not lecture on the concept of “writing

digitally”; rather, attendees should bring a work-in-progress, article-length writing project (or a

solid, well-thought out idea) for which they have (or intend to create) digital content. After an

initial introduction to the concept of “writing digitally” and a demonstration of one or two digitally

conceived articles, the workshop will consist of the OHR’s editors working with attendees to

integrate their multimedia content into their work-in-progress in such a way that the text and

multimedia content mutually enhance each other and the argument presented. The focus will be

on “thinking digitally” (and not on providing technical assistance), but the editors will provide

guidance on technical matters, as possible.

The workshop is limited to 10 participants, and registrants should send a one-paragraph

description of their work-in-progress to Troy Reeves (at treeves@library.wisc.edu) at the time

they register for the workshop.

Kathryn Nasstrom serves as the Editor of the Oral History Review. She is an Associate

Professor of History at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches oral history, women’s

history, and the history of social movements (especially civil rights movements).

Doug Boyd serves as the Digital Initiatives Editor for the Oral History Review. He directs

the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.


Workshop: Oral History and IRBs

Dealing with your institution’s IRB for your oral history project can be confusing and frustrating.

When the federal Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) ruled that oral history did not

meet the federal definition of research and was therefore exempt from institutional review board

(IRB) oversight, the final decision on how to handle oral history research still remained with

individual institutions. The result is that IRBs’ approach to oral history varies widely. The

relationship is further complicated when IRB members and staff are not familiar with oral history

methodology. However, there are underlying consistencies in IRBs which can demystify the

bureaucracy and help you shepherd your project through it. This workshop will provide you with

the knowledge and strategies you need to successfully navigate your institution’s human subjects

approval process.

Barbara Truesdell is the assistant director of the Center for the Study of History and Memory at

Indiana University


Workshop: Oral History and the Law

The goal of this workshop is to explore the major legal issues that all practitioners of oral history

should be knowledgeable about. Topics to be covered include: professional ethics, legal release

agreements, protecting sealed/restricted interviews, defamation, the privacy torts, copyright,

uploading interviews to the internet, and institutional review boards. Participants will be given

ample opportunities to ask questions related to their project or subject matter interest. The

workshop is intended to be academic in nature and will not provide legal advice.

John A. Neuenschwander is an emeritus professor of history at Carthage College in Kenosha,

Wisconsin and the author of Oral History and the Law.


Workshop: Turning Oral History Transcripts into Performance Texts

This workshop explores the process of converting oral histories from the page to the stage.

Working in small groups, from sections of the same oral history transcripts, we will investigate the

following: What makes something theatrical? How does embodiment change an oral history

transcript? What issues of contextualization and de-contextualization arise? How does the identity

positioning of a performer enrich or subvert a transcript? What literary strategies can be used to

enhance theatricality while honoring oral history? Be prepared for a laboratory approach that

involves a few basic acting and directing exercises, as well as group experiment and discussion.

Julie Pearson-Little Thunder is a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Oklahoma Oral History

Research Program (OOHRP) at the Oklahoma State University Library.


Saturday, October 12

Workshop: Folk Music and Oral History, Folk Music AS Oral History: Teaching with Folk

Music, Photographs, and Voices from the Depression and New Deal

Learn more about integrating oral history, music and photographs into your curriculum through

this performance-based, hands-on workshop led by The 198 String Band featuring Mike Frisch,

Peggy Milliron, and Tom Naples. This workshop is designed to provide teachers with ideas for

discussing history and culture through music, photographs and oral history. Using songs,

photographs, images, lyrics, and linked audio documents focused on the Great Depression and in

particular on the Dustbowl and Oklahoma-California migrations, the band will explore the

backgrounds of these materials and the integration of folk music within a broader context. The

songs and documents, many from and about Oklahoma, engage topics ranging from social

conditions to cultural patterns to political responses. The 198 String Band will work with teachers

to explore how particular songs, photographs, and resources can be leveraged in the classroom

to help students connect history to contemporary issues and community concerns. This all-day

workshop will be particularly relevant for educators involved in teaching American history, social

studies, political science, Oklahoma and regional history, and music, but the techniques are more

generally applicable as well for any curriculum.

The 198 String Band has researched and assembled Depression Era/New Deal music from the

Library of Congress and other archives, including the Farm Security Administration (FSA) migrant

camp field recordings from the late 1930s and early 1940s that have rarely been performed and

never commercially recorded. Period audio sources include excerpts from oral histories, poems,

narratives, thus bringing actual Oklahoma voices from the Dust Bowl into range for classroom

and public use.

Workshop participations will receive a CD of songs from The 198 String Band, a lyric pack used

in discussions, a CD/DVD with representative public domain photo sequences and audio

documents, along with guides to online materials and lesson plan models that emerge from

workshop activities.

A certificate of completion for all participants will be made available.

Mike Frisch (fiddle, guitar, vocals) is Professor of American Studies and History at the University

at Buffalo, a recent President of the Oral History Association, and serves on the Board of the New

York Council for the Humanities.

Peggy Milliron (guitar, vocals) is a music educator, history researcher, and avid photographer

who did the photo research and selection for this presentation and partnered in the editing


Tom Naples (guitar, banjo, autoharp) is a folk singer who has researched the music of the Great

Depression in archives and travelled the route of the Dust Bowl migrations, visiting migrant camp

sites and interviewing former camp residents.


Workshop: Oral History and Digital Preservation

The preservation of digital fieldwork materials forces a radical reconsideration of traditional

approaches to preserving archival resources. This workshop will provide an introduction to

current archival best practices for the preservation of multimedia digital resources created by oral

historians. The primary intention of this workshop is to provide guidelines to insure the longevity

of the research collection of oral historians who are working in institutional environments. We will

discuss the fundamentals of digital preservation, with a special consideration of the demands of

digital multimedia materials. We will cover issues pertaining to the choice of acquisition formats,

obsolescence cycles, digital storage options, file formats, file management, and analog-to digital

conversion for preservation and access purposes. We will examine the technological needs for

appropriately processing digital audio, images, and video for archival preservation purposes. This

year, we will include particular focus on the findings of the IMLS funded Oral History in the Digital

Age best practices initiative as well as pay particular attention to digital video preservation.

Doug Boyd serves as the director of the Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University

of Kentucky Libraries.


For schedule details and complete bios please see full program.


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