NOVEMBER PSN: How can we maintain the momentum in volunteer-run oral history projects?

Thursday, November 10th, 1:00 - 2:15pm EST

Eventbrite - PSN Video Chat: How can we maintain the momentum in volunteer-run oral history projects?

Many oral history projects with social justice goals are run, in large part or totally, by volunteers. In this PSN chat, we will discuss the challenges of sustaining the long-term work of oral history when working with, or being, volunteers. Topics we may discuss include pacing, setting expectations, accountability with volunteers, the balance of meaningful vs. menial tasks, assessing and matching volunteers' skills/interests to project needs, the need for celebration/recognizing volunteers' work/success, and what it looks like to work with volunteers in a way that builds the long-term leadership and capacity of a base/our movements. 

This chat will be useful to people who plan to, are now, or have been recruiting, managing and partnering with volunteers on oral history projects with social justice goals. It will also be useful for volunteers trying to assess opportunities and find meaningful ways to engage with social justice oral history.

We will share and develop strategies for recruiting, training, supporting and retaining volunteers in oral history projects, as well as managing the inevitable turnover. 


  • William Posadas is the Assistant Curator of Archaeology at the Fowler Museum at UCLA where he focuses on facilitating compliance with the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act. He received an MSc in the Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials at University College London and has worked on cultural heritage projects with communities in Ghana, Peru, Louisiana, and throughout California. William works with youth led queer and trans people of color collectives in Los Angeles to build and maintain archives and collections, and hold workshops on queer and trans cultural heritage. William is also developing Being Seen Being Home, a series of short video portraits of individuals working to build and find community in LA. William identifies as a transman from a working class immigrant family raised in South Central LA, where he currently resides. 
  • Amy Starecheski is the Associate Director of the Oral History MA Program at Columbia University and received a PhD in cultural anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center. She consults and lectures widely on oral history education and methods, and is co-author of the Telling Lives Oral History Curriculum Guide. She was a lead interviewer on Columbia’s September 11, 2001 Narrative and Memory Project, for which she interviewed Afghans, Muslims, Sikhs, activists, low-income people, and the unemployed. Starecheski is a member of the Core Working Group for Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change, where she facilitates the Practitioner Support Network. Her book, Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press.
Eventbrite - PSN Video Chat: How can we maintain the momentum in volunteer-run oral history projects?