Recaps of the Annual Meeting from Attendees

From Baylor University:

From Bryn Mawr College:

And from the Southern Oral History Project newsletter:

Director’s Note

Staff, students, and friends of SOHP recently gathered at the 2014 Oral History Association (OHA) annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. I felt all the satisfaction, inspiration, and exhaustion that a great conference brings. OHA is a unique meeting–it is a refreshing combination of presentations about historical findings, project workflows, archival tools, teaching methods, engagement strategies, artistic work, and ethical issues. The conference touches on every aspect of oral history work in every setting (communities, universities and schools of all sizes and shapes, non-profit organizations and corporations). It reminds us that regardless of our specialty, all of us have a role to play in moving our field forward, and that, as Seth Kotch, late of the SOHP, stated during the panel presentation he shared with our Coordinator of Collections Jaycie Vos and NC State Library Fellow Virginia Ferris, “oral history is not over when the interview is done. That would just be an interview.”

We had recently seen many of our alums and friends at the Symposium and Celebration for Jacquelyn Dowd Hall here at UNC, but reconnecting with so many of the SOHP family involved in planning the OHA conference was a particular thrill. Current and former staff and students of SOHP belonged to (or chaired!) the Program Committee, gave over a dozen presentations, and were members of the OHA executive leadership as well. Associate Director Rachel Seidman shared the stage with Founding Director Jacquelyn Dowd Hall and two other noted historians for a thought-provoking plenary session, “Academics as Activists,” which SOHP sponsored. Former Outreach Coordinator Beth Millwood’s smile was pleasantly ubiquitous, as she chaired both a panel and OHA’s International Committee. The conference also featured the documentary film I co-produced, Private Violence, right on time for our nation’s current and extensive discussion of domestic violence. The film features DV victim advocate Kit Gruelle, who was interviewed by SOHP in 2013 as part of the Moxie Project. Jaycie also presented on the physical and digital exhibit she curated for our 40th anniversary. Two of our graduate students, Rob Shapard and Sarah McNamara, gave papers on their research, and UNC Professor Hannah Gill, who directs the New Roots project on Latino migrants to North Carolina, also gave a compelling presentation. The conference was also a great opportunity to connect with our collaborators at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies and the University of Mississippi, and regenerate relationships with colleagues from all over the country. Oral history offers a window into the world that is unlike any other field; it is a method and a discipline that helps us imagine a future, using both the past and present to incubate our ideas and connect to each other in new ways.

The variety was stunning. If you want a glimpse yourself, check out the Storify presentation that Jaycie created for OHA. It was a pleasure and honor for me to witness how our SOHP community continues to lead the field in every respect, and how we are embracing every opportunity to learn and advance our work.

–Malinda Maynor Lowery

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