Practitioner Support Network

Activists, organizers, cultural workers and oral historians who engage oral history as a method for movement-building and social change often confront challenging ethical and practical dilemmas in our work.  The Practitioner Support Network (PSN) seeks to create a safe space for practitioners to explore these challenges and get feedback and support from others who share similar values and commitments to a liberatory politics and praxis.

Upcoming PSNs and PSN Reportbacks

PSN Reportback: Immigration Law for Oral Historians

Last month, Groundswell's Practitioner Support Network Working Group teamed up with colleagues Patrick O'Shea and Shiu-Ming Cheer from the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) to offer a special PSN chat: Immigration Law for Oral Historians. Check out some key takeaways and listen to the full audio!

August 4 PSN: Tweeting, Posting, Sharing: As activists and storytellers, how can we effectively and ethically engage with social issues on social media?

During this PSN, we will take a look at the most popular social media platforms–Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram- and how each provides different types of opportunities for storytellers and oral historians, but can also raise ethical questions about the sharing of information.

June 26 PSN: Working for Change: Listening to Workers’ Stories

In this fractured time, how do we listen to workers’ stories? This PSN is a chance for workers, oral historians, activists, and anyone else who considers listening essential to advancing economic justice share ideas with one another about how we listen to workers and what we do with what we learn.

May 31 PSN: What are the roots of your radical oral history practice?

Oral history is not just something that historians do to create sources for archives. As part of a larger collective research project to document the radical roots of oral history and begin a process of decolonizing oral history practices, we invite you to join this video chat to share the roots of your radical oral history practice. What inspired you to do this work? How did you learn? Who are your oral history ancestors and mentors?

March 25 PSN: Storytelling and Fundraising

This PSN explores the role of storytelling and listening for activists and organizers who are, want to be, or need to be involved in fundraising. The chat will examine the various roles narrative can play in working with individual donors, volunteers, boards, grants, and foundations -- as well as the ways utilizing storytelling might support, or perhaps undermine, the social justice work of our organizations.

Reportback: E-Security for Social Justice Oral Historians

On February 3, a group of us met via video chat to discuss "E-Security for Oral Historians in the Age of Trump." Here is a reportback from our conversation, and some resources we collected. Thanks to all who participated!

Feb 3 PSN: E-Security for Oral Historians in the Age of Trump

As people using oral history for social justice, we often collaborate with and record the stories of people, such as undocumented immigrants or queer and trans people, who are particularly vulnerable to potential harm if their stories are shared in ways they did not consent to. And as activists, we may be targets of surveillance. What do social justice oral historians need to know about cyber security? Where do we draw the line between being paranoid and being naive? In this chat, we will share strategies and skills for managing electronic security for oral history projects.

Feb 21 PSN: Oral History and Decolonization: Reclaiming Stories and Ancestral Wisdom

Indigenous-led movements like that to protect the water at Standing Rock highlight the power of ancestral wisdom in transformative change. As movement-oriented oral historians and practitioners, how can the process and practice of oral history help us root ourselves in the wisdom of our own traditions and ancestors?

Nov and Dec PSNs Now Open!

Learning from our Elders: Interviewing Activists from Past Generations: November 17, 3-4:15 PM EST

Oral History, Art & Activism: A Radical Mix for Social Change: NEW DATE & TIME: December 2, 2016 3-4:15 PM EST


Fall 2016 Practitioner Support Network Video Chats are Starting!

Fall PSNs start Oct 20 with a conversation about how to talk about money in an oral history interview.