Blackbirding of South Sea Islanders

A delegation of people from Vanuatu has been visiting the Queensland capital, Brisbane, to re-establish relationships with their long lost blood relations, the descendants of the blackbirded South Sea Islanders from Vanuatu who were brought to work on Queensland’s sugar cane plantations more than a century ago. That was during the infamous blackbird trade from 1863 to 1904.  One of the Members of the Vanuatu parliament, David Abel said according to their oral history there were more than 39,000 brought to Queensland.  For full story click here.

Battleship New Jersey project (USA)

Tom Banit, history professor emeritus of Kean University, has interviewed hundreds of veterans whose lives have been touched by the battleship over its 68-year history. For more than a decade, Banit has recorded sailors who felt the awesome power of the Big J’s 16-inch guns, soldiers who witnessed the devastating results, and workers who built the New Jersey at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The interviews are being provided to U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.); his staff is copying DVDs and CDs, then sending them to the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, which is expected to make them available online in the coming months.  For full story click here.

Privacy Protections in Research – USA

American officials are planning to overhaul the rules that regulate research involving human subjects. But critics outside the biomedical arena warn that the proposed revisions may unintentionally create a more serious problem: sealing off vast collections of publicly available information from inspection, including census data, market research, oral histories and labor statistics.  The Oral History Association (USA warns that under the proposed revisions, for example, new revelations that Public Health Service doctors deliberately infected Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers and mental patients with syphilis in the 1940s might never have come to light. The abuses were uncovered by a historian who by chance came across notes in the archives of the University of Pittsburgh. That kind of undirected research could be forbidden under guidelines designed to prevent “data collected for one purpose” from being “used for a new purpose to which the subjects never consented,” said Linda Shopes, who helped draft the historians’ statement. The suggested changes, she said, “really threaten access to information in a democratic society.” For the full story, click here.

Oral History Key in Building New Nation – South Africa

High school pupils say the recent oral history conference was like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as it provided a healing process towards a balanced nation with shared values and norms.  The 8th national conference was held at Mmabatho Palms Hotel in Mafikeng from Tuesday to Friday last week with the aim of promoting and preserving the country’s oral history – with the view of capturing lost voices and muted identities, especially African experiences. For full story, click here.

Melbourne Holocaust Survivor Collecting Oral Histories

Age hasn’t stopped 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Phillip Maisel from becoming tech-savvy. Since he began voluntarily recording fellow survivors’ stories on video camera 20 years ago for the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Mr Maisel has had to overcome many technological difficulties to ensure they are retained for future generations.  See full story here.

Murri Centre Helps Healing

It’s a piece of land which signifies much more than a development project. The vacant land on Police Creek in Kin Kora, to be used for Gladstone’s proposed Murri Centre, has a long and poignant history for the area’s indigenous people. As Indigenous leader Julie Ingra explains, Aboriginal people once camped at the site and were persecuted while they lived there. Aboriginal elders in the region are custodians of an oral history that paints a sad picture of the location.  For full story click here.

Hunter River Project

An innovative community arts project to promote environmental awareness along the Hunter River has begun in Singleton, with four more days of planned workshops to follow. The River Stories workshops, supported by Hunter Councils environment division, are offering classes in painting, mixed media, illustration, oral history and multimedia. Works produced, including those in Singleton on Saturday and Sunday, are destined for Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG). Natural history illustrators, Trevor Weekes and Tallulah Cunningham, mixed media artist Judith White, and oral historian Janis Wilton have led the workshops. ABC Open One On One: River Stories workshops have also taught people storytelling skills in photography and audio recording.  For full story click here.

American Presidents Oral History Program

The Presidential Oral History Program is systematically and comprehensively debriefing the principal figures in the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton, with plans to do the same for future presidents.  The Program is also conducting special projects on important topics in American political history.  To view this site click here.  Note, this site has also been added to the OHAA Qld Delicious site.

Moslem Oral History Project (USA)

After September 11, 2011, there was a sharp increase in hate crimes against people perceived to be Arab or Muslim in the United States. These crimes are perpetrated out of fear and ignorance and harm innocent people while deepening mistrust. To help counter Islamophobia by educating our community about Muslims and Arabs, this project collected several oral histories of Muslims who study and work  at the Anne Arundel Community College.  Stereotypes fly in the face of the stories of these Americans in their own words. Check out this site here.

Memories of Soviet trauma

In November 2004, Nona Panova was being interviewed by a researcher from the Russian human rights organization Memorial, working  on an oral history project about private life in the Stalin era.  Nona, a 75-year-old woman whose father had been arrested during the purges of the 1930s, had been talking for several hours about her upbringing in St. Petersburg and her family when she saw the tape recorder with its microphone and panicked.  Read full story here.