Oral History and Social Change


The Oral History Review blog is launching a new initiative to
emphasize the work of people who use oral history to create social change. As
part of this series, we are soliciting contributions for publication on the
blog, which could be an overview of a particular project, a
methodological consideration for bringing social change into the process of
doing oral history, a story from the front lines, or something completely

We are looking
for blog posts between 500-800 words, or 10-15 minutes of audio or video content.
These are rough guidelines, however, so we are open to negotiation in terms of
media and format. We should also stress that while we welcome posts that
showcase a particular project, we can’t serve as landing page for kickstarter
or similar funding sites.

Some questions
we hope to address in this series include:

  • How does focusing on social change impact the process of engaging with oral history? Does it change the structure of interviews, or the questions asked? Does it shift positionality in the interview itself, or in how the interview is used after its completion?
  • What experiences or ideas lead to the development of a socially minded oral history practice?
  • How do projects take unheard voices out of the archive and use them to create social change?
  • Who are the target audiences for socially engaged oral history projects, and how can they best be reached?
  • What successful changes have come about because of oral history?
  • What lessons and best practices have oral historians developed from doing oral history for social change?

our friends at Groundswell are hosting a class in using oral history to create
social change
, starting
in just a few weeks. Registration closes on February 5th, so make
sure to sign up soon, and come back to the blog to hear from your friends and
colleagues about the great work they’re doing.   

Please direct
any questions, pitches, or submissions to our Social Media Coordinator, Andrew
Shaffer, at ohreview[at]gmail[dot]com. You can also message us on Twitter or Facebook.

Featured image: “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” by Jason Hargrove, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.