May PSN: Self-Care for Social Justice Oral Historians

In oral history, deep listening requires the interviewer to open themselves to the narrator's stories. Such stories can be challenging and even painful. We often discuss how to support our narrators in telling difficult stories, but rarely how to take care of ourselves as we listen to them. In this chat we will build on conversations, in both the academic and the activist world, about burnout and resilience. The goal is to share experiences and develop self-care strategies for social justice oral historians.

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Forty Blocks: The East Garfield Park Oral History Project

Before you read further, please google the phrase East Garfield Park. Okay, aside from the ubiquitous Wiki entry, what did you find? Our guess is you saw mostly hits that involved crime and gentrification in some way. The mainstream dominant media portrays this community in the heart of Chicago’s West Side as crime ridden, poverty stricken, and little else.  East Garfield Park organizations and residents strive to rewrite this narrative. 

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APRIL PSN: Storytelling the Environment: How can we use stories to help understand and protect the natural world?

April's PSN Video Chat aims to develop strategies for utilizing storytelling to affect positive change in the natural world and to emphasize the human race's responsibility to our planet. This chat will examine the various roles narrative can play in environmental activism, from how storytellers can convey complex scientific knowledge to the general public to how personal storytelling can be used to affect public policy. 

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FEBRUARY PSN: Interviewing About the Body

In this Practitioner Support Network video chat, we will discuss the potential and special challenges of interviewing about the body, and will develop strategies for interviews focused on embodied experience such as breastfeeding, living with a disability, being transgender, or dancing as well as strategies for keeping the body in focus in all of our work.

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PSN Reportback: Strategies to Maintain the Momentum in Volunteer-Run Oral History Projects

n our November PSN, a group of practitioners came together to develop strategies to maintain the momentum in volunteer-powered, and volunteer-led, oral history projects. You can read the full minutes here, and here are a few of our favorite tools, organized by each phase of a project (with thanks to Alice Kovacik for the great notes!):

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December PSN Now Open!

An intergenerational framework in oral histories can be useful to both parties involved--the interviewer/youth can learn valuable lessons from the person being interviewed, while the interviewee/elder can find it very fulfilling to pass their stories down to the next generation. This can particularly be useful in activist groups to form bonds and build community that might otherwise be fractured by generational differences.

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PSN Reportback: Lost in Translation? Oral History Across Languages

This reportback shares our thoughts on what it might look like to bring a language justice perspective to oral history practice. The notion of “language justice” recognizes that language is power. Language can be both a tool of domination and oppression as well as a powerful means for facilitating inclusive democracy and cross-community movement building and learning. Interviewing and sharing oral histories across languages presents unique opportunities and challenges. In this chat, we explored participants’ experiences, questions and strategies around navigating the technical and ethical issues that arise in doing oral history in bilingual and multilingual environments. 

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OCTOBER PSN: Lost in Translation?: Oral history across languages

In this chat, we’ll explore participants’ experiences, questions and strategies around navigating the technical and ethical issues that arise in doing oral history in bilingual and multilingual environments. Together, we’ll consider what it might look like to bring a language justice perspective to oral history practice.

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