Here are 10 Groundswell network highlights from 2015,
true to oral history form.
#10. How did you navigate that challenge?
Groundswell's Practitioner Support Network (PSN) hosted 7 video chats for practitioners to puzzle through critical questions related to social justice oral history work, with topics ranging from "Oral History for Housing Justice" to "How can we maintain the momentum in volunteer-run oral history projects? Check out report-backs from the year's chats here.
#9. What happens when activist oral historians and media-makers get together?
Local Groundswell groups organized over a dozen in-person gatherings, potlucks, skillshares, listening sessions and workshops from Philly to Chicago to New York to Oregon. Are you in North Carolina or the Bay Area? You've got one more chance to meet up with fellow activist oral history friends before the year ends! Details here.
#8. How are Groundswell members contributing to local movements for justice?
Oregon's local Groundswell Collective stepped it up a notch this year, entering into a collaboration with the Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition (PIRC) to record oral history interviews with Portland-area families impacted by police-ICE collaboration and immigrant detention, and produce three audio slideshows for use in PIRC's ongoing campaigns for immigrant justice.
#7. Where do you go to find kindred souls and inspiration for your work?
2015 saw the launch of Groundswell Cohorts, a pilot program bringing together small groups of practitioners working on similar issue areas for mutual support, learning and sharing resources. Our initial "Oral History for Housing Justice" and "Oral History in Movements to End Police Brutality" cohorts are connecting via social media, video chats and more. In November, archivists from the Freedom Archives joined Police Brutality cohort members for a special video conference on the long-term preservation of interviews and documentary footage.
#6. What does it mean to do oral history in a crisis moment?
Groundswell and three members of our Police Brutality cohort were awarded the Oral History Association's Emerging Crisis Oral History Research grant! The grant supported Katina Parker (#FreedomSummer2015 and Black Lives Matter), Vanissa Chan (Forced Trajectory Project), and Paula Damasceno (Maps of Healing) in their efforts to preserve the stories of communities impacted by police brutality and contribute to the national conversation on police violence.
#5. Where was Groundswell this fall?
Groundswell hosted meet-ups and connected with new network members in Massachussets at the Sixth International Digital Storytelling Conference in September and in Tampa, Florida at the "Stories of Social Change and Social Justice" 2015 Oral History Association meeting.
#4. How do you incorporate anti-oppression principles into your oral history work?
Groundswell's Anti-Oppression Working Group wrapped up its Oral History & Anti-Oppression series with two video chats: "Before recording begins: using anti-oppression in the pre-interview process" and "Power dynamics and anti-oppression within the space of the interview." The group's also been hard at work, preparing for the upcoming launch of its new "Centering" project - a collectively-produced, free, online, interview-based resource guide that will feature stories of anti-oppression principles in action in oral history work.
#3. Why do our movements need oral history?
Groundswell's MixTape (officially published at the end of 2014, but shared in classrooms, workshops and gatherings throughout 2015!) highlights a dozen projects by individual Groundswell members that use oral history to strengthen movements for justice. Haven't seen it yet? Preview it here and buy your own hard-copy here.
#2. How can you be in three places at once?
Groundswell members were busy this June at this year's Allied Media Conference, hosting a special Groundswell lunch caucus, facilitating a super well-attended workshop on "Oral History as Movement Building", and sharing examples of movement-centered oral history work with an overflowing room of participants for our "Oral History, Research Justice & Activism" panel.
#1. What happened in Detroit?
Perhaps the biggest highlight of 2015 for the Groundswell community was our "Oral History for Movement Building" national gathering in Detroit (also part of the Allied Media Conference), where nearly 100 activists, artists, oral historians, and cultural workers came together for two days to share our experiences using oral history to further movements for social justice. Learn more about the GS2015 Gathering here!
2015 was a big year for Groundswell, as we saw our network expand to over 600 participants, new working groups form, new initiatives launch and new leadership (welcome, Amaka!) bring a whole new dose of energy and vision to our growing community.
We invite you to join us in 2016, as we continue to build the creativity and power of social justice movements by providing mutual support, training and resources in the practice of applied, community-based oral history.