Blog: The International Oral History Conference – Power and Democracy: the many voices of Oral History

This month we will be highlighting Power and Democracy:  the many voices of Oral History.  The XVIII International Oral History Conference to be held 9-12 July, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.   Information about the conference can be found at  Please note that the deadline for the call for proposals has been extended to September 15, 2013.  For more information about submitting a proposal, see  Individual papers, thematic panels, workshop proposals and performance segments are being sought.

Details about the conference focus are as follows:
The force of democracy as well as the resistance it has met have prompted oral history project around the world.  Interviews with advocates of change have supplemented and supplanted archives of discredited regimes.  Oral histories have document social and political upheavals, reform movement and reactions. Oral history have revealed the effects of power relationships that exist between citizens and their governments, workers and employers, students and teachers, and the layers within institutions, communities and families.  As a democratic tool, oral history records and preserves the memories, perceptions, and voices of individuals and groups at all levels and in all endeavors, but that raises questions about what to do with these interviews and how to share them with the people and communities they reflect. “Power and democracy” will be the theme of the IOHA’s meeting in Barcelona, with the sub-themes:
•    Archives, Oral Sources and Remembrance
•    Power in Human Relations
•    Democracy as a Political Tool
•    Oral Sources and Cultural Heritage
•    New Ways to Share Our Dialogue with the Public

Rob Perks at the British Library has recently proposed a theme panel ‘making oral history interviews available on the Web’.  If interested in participating in this panel, please email Rob Perks at outlining what you can contribute to the overall subject.  He would particularly like to explore Ron Grele’s recent provocative assertion that “the future does not look bright.  The only interviews that will be placed online will be very, very ‘safe’ or innocuous.  We will soon be back to vanity interviews of movers and shakers.” The British Library’s website is

Hope to see you in Barcelona.

Many thanks
Your International Committee Web Liaison,
Leslie McCartney

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