Registration for the Fall 2019 ONLINE Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change class is now open!

This ONLINE 6-Week Course begins Sept. 26th and ends on Oct. 31st and will take place on Thursdays from 12 pm to 2 pm EST. Please note the first class begins at 11 am to accommodate all material covered.

Register HERE.

Click HERE to review course description.

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Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change knows that history and narrative can be used to promote equity and empathy and challenge racism and oppression. 

In this six-session online course, you will learn: The basics of oral history for social change, and how to develop a community-based oral history project. Most importantly, students will learn about ethics and anti-oppression work in oral history and how to develop an effective interview. Finally, students will also learn about projects and ideas that ask the question “what happens after the interview? what do I do with all this content?” Specifically, students will learn how to identify an audience for the oral history project and about different methods to share the work.

Instructor Bios

Alisa Del Tufo's policy and legislative efforts have resulted in federal, state and local reforms, including the establishment of a 3 million dollar fund for housing support for women survivors of violence and children, changes in criminal justice, child welfare and health reform.  In addition, she consults with individuals and organizations using a variety of narrative and community engagement strategies to build positive change. Del Tufo is the author or two books on domestic violence and child abuse and multiple articles. She has been awarded the Charles Revson Fellowship for the Future on NYC (1988/89), a Rockefeller Fellowship (1998), and in 2007 was elected, for a lifetime, into the Ashoka Fellowship, a global network of leading social entrepreneurs. She is also the recipient of Union Theological Seminary’s prestigious Distinguished Alumna Award and in 2008, Colgate University’s Humanitarian Award. Del Tufo is a graduate of Colgate University and received her Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. She has been teaching at the Marlboro Graduate School of Management and Sustainable Practice, Middlebury and Southern Vermont Colleges. Del Tufo was a visiting faculty member at Bennington for Spring 2018 and Fall 2018.

Amy Starecheski is a cultural anthropologist and oral historian whose research focuses on the use of oral history in social movements and the politics of history, value and property in cities. She is the Director of the Oral History MA Program at Columbia University. 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 people who lost work. Starecheski was a member of the Core Working Group for Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change from 2011-2018, where she facilitated the Practitioner Support Network. Her book, Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City, was published in 2016 by the University of Chicago Press. She is the founder of the Mott Haven Oral History Project, which collaboratively documents, activates, and amplifies the stories of her longtime neighborhood, as told by the people who live there.

Benji de la Piedra is an independent oral historian and writer currently based in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is at work on the biography of Herbert Denton Jr. (1943-1989), a pioneering African-American journalist at the Washington Post. He currently works as director of the Columbia Life Histories Project in New York City, and as an oral history audit-editor for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. Previously, he worked as oral history trainer and volunteer coordinator for the DC Oral History Collaborative in Washington, DC, and was a 2016 fellow of the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability. A graduate of Columbia University’s Oral History MA program, he was awarded the Jeffrey H. Brodsky Oral History Thesis Prize for his master’s thesis, “That Something Else: B.A. Botkin, Alessandro Portelli, and Ralph Ellison on Democratic Pluralism and the Dialogical Encounter.” Benji teaches and consults on community-based oral history projects around the United States, and speaks and writes regularly about American history and culture, with an emphasis on Black intellectual expression. In the Spring 2020 semester, he will teach the Oral History Methods course at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Helyx Chase Scearce Horwitz is a video artist, technologist, and activist who is committed to the power of story. They have worked on documentaries, non-fiction and experimental narratives, multi-channel video installation, archival video presentations, and oral history video production. Their video art is built by, about, and for televisions and computers. Helyx is fascinated by the ways in which we organize and process our information-saturated world. They are currently the Information Systems and Technology Manager at the Media Mobilizing Project in Philadelphia. Helyx holds a B.A. from Hampshire College where they studied Video, Education, and Cultural Studies. They are currently enrolled in the Masters of Library and Information Science program at Drexel University.

Fanny Julissa García is an oral historian contributing work to Central American Studies. In her most recent work, Reminiscences on Migration: A Central American Lyric, she intertwines her own migration story using lyric poetry and vignettes with oral history interviews conducted with Central American refugee women who had been released from detention centers at the U.S./Mexico border. She has worked for more than 15 years as a social justice advocate to combat the public health and socioeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS on low income communities, worked closely with organizations fighting for the end of family detention, and supported survivors of sexual violence. She serves as the Communications Coordinator for Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change, a network of oral historians, activists, cultural workers, community organizers and documentary artists that use oral history to further movement building and transformative social change. She also works at the New-York Historical Society, and is co-founder of Social Exchange Institute, a media and education company that uses multimedia tools to produce work that promotes social justice and equity. She’s also on the editorial board for the Oral History Association’s Oral History Review. In 2017, she graduated from the Oral History Master of Arts program from Columbia University where she received the Judge Jack B. Weinstein Scholarship Award for Oral History and the OHMA Oral History Teaching and Social Justice Award.

Mark Menjivar is a San Antonio based artist and Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Design at Texas State University. His work explores diverse subjects through photography, archives, oral history and objects. Mark has engaged in projects at venues including the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, The Houston Center for Photography, The San Antonio Museum of Art, The Puerto Rican Museum of Art and Culture, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum and the Krannert Art Museum.

Thank you very much for supporting Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change. If you have questions about this online course, please contact us at