November 2014 PSN: How can we engage oral history to help today's activists learn from our movement past?

A new generation of Cascadia Forest Defenders blockades the Elliot State Forest in 2009, drawing on a history of blockades and direct action in Oregon's forests since the early 90's. 

A new generation of Cascadia Forest Defenders blockades the Elliot State Forest in 2009, drawing on a history of blockades and direct action in Oregon's forests since the early 90's. 

How can we engage oral history to help today's activists learn from our movement past?

Thursday, November 20th

12:00 - 1:15pm EST

There is a max of 8 spots available for this Video Chat. To participate, register via EventBrite using the button below. We ask participants to make a sliding scale donation of $3-$10 to reserve your spot. Groundswell members participate for free.  Click here to join Groundswell and get your PSN "promo" code.

Eventbrite - PSN Video Chat: How can we engage oral history to help today's activists learn from our movement past?

Co-Facilitators:

  • Kiera 'Loki' Shackleton, artist, PhD Researcher and lapsed Earth First! activist.
  • Sarah K. Loose, Groundswell Co-Coordinator and Coordinator of the Rural Organizing Project's Roots & Wings Oral History Project 

Don't reinvent the wheel. If we don't know our history, we're condemned to repeat it. History is a weapon of the oppressed. Part of the promise of oral history for organizers, activists and movement leaders is to help us learn from the success and mistakes of our movement elders.  But how does that happen? 

What questions can we ask to draw out the knowledge and lessons that will be useful to us today? How can we solicit the perspectives of 'others' or outsiders in ways that are useful or that offer critical insights on movement building and tactics? What are the best formats for sharing interviews with activists in order to facilitate critical reflection and generate strategic conversation about the present and future of our work? How can we learn from the past while also recognizing the unique and changing context of our present and future? In doing this work, how do we balance our roles as activists and researchers?

In this chat, we'll draw on the experiences of call facilitators and participants to explore the utility - and challenges - of using oral history to "learn from our past."