2021 NEH American Rescue Plan

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October 4, 2021

The Oral History Association has been awarded $825,000 from the NEH American Rescue Plan to create a fellowship program for under/unemployed oral historians, with a focus on oral historians from communities that have historically been marginalized in the field.

The Oral History Association has been awarded $825,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking [Funding Opportunity Number: 20210513-ARPG]  for a project titled “Diversifying Oral History Practice: A Fellowship Program for Under/Unemployed Oral Historians.”

OHA will be awarding eleven year-long fellowships of $60,000. Oral historians from communities which have been historically marginalized in the field (such as Indigenous peoples, people of color, people with disabilities, and working class people) are particularly invited to apply. Applicants will be encouraged to propose projects grounded in partnerships with communities and organizations. In addition to the fellowship award, fellows will be provided with mentoring, research funds, training, and a supportive cohort experience. Program details, including application materials will be available at https://oralhistory.org/neh 

As a part of this funding series, OHA will also be awarding up to a dozen smaller grants to support research into the history and current dynamics of the field of oral history, with the aim of creating knowledge that can be deployed to create a more equitable and inclusive field

Louis Kyriakoudes, Director of The Albert Gore Research Center & Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University and Co-Executive Director of OHA, and Amy Starecheski, Director of the Columbia University Oral History Master of Arts Program and 2021-22 President of the OHA, will serve as Co-Principal Investigators on the grant. Kelly Elaine Navies, Oral Historian at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and First Vice-President of OHA, will chair the selection committee.

“Doing oral history is part of being human, but the field of professional oral history has excluded so much of this work, and so many of the people doing it. With these fellowships we have an opportunity to redefine what counts as oral history, and who is central in our field,” says Amy Starecheski.

Applications will open in late fall, with the funding period beginning March 1, 2022. In advance of the application deadline, OHA will be offering free public training in oral history project design, budgeting, and developing partnerships, to build these skills among oral historians and support the creation of robust fellowship and research grant applications. 

Potential applicants who want to get a jump on their planning might check out our Annual Meeting workshops, which are open to all, although registration is required. There are six workshops offered, and these in particular may be helpful:

  • Saturday, October 9, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Eastern: Inviting Authorship: Oral History as Spontaneous Literature, led by Nyssa Chow
  • Sunday, October 10, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Eastern: Equity Budgeting For Oral History: Paying Everybody More!, led by Sarah Dziedzic and Jess Lamar Reese Holler

The Oral History Association is thrilled to have this opportunity to provide support for oral historians while also implementing our 2020 strategic plan, which centers on making our field inclusive and equitable through building an organization which 

  • is a transparent, inclusive, responsive, and valued resource with a growing body of diverse leaders and practitioners.
  • is a nationally and internationally recognized advocate for oral history and a champion for the development and well-being of oral history practitioners and programs. 
  • develops relevant, accessible, and innovative programming that enhances practitioners’ ability to do meaningful oral history work.

Louis Kyriakoudes, Louis.Kyriakoudes@mtsu.edu 615-898-2633
Kelly Navies, NaviesK@si.edu
Amy Starecheski, aas39@columbia.edu 212-851-4395

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