One of oral history’s great practitioners Dr Robert Perks, director and lead curator, National Life Stories, British Library, London, spoke at the recent conference ‘Oral History and the Sense of Legacy’ in Bangalore, describing oral history as “spoken evidence”. One of the projects discussed at the conference was the gathering of the testimonials of survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy. For more information click here and here.
Officials at the University of California, Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office are looking to a July 23 memorial service for the hundreds of servicemen and civilians killed and hurt in this disaster to aid the office’s search for first-hand accounts of the 1944 accident that helped desegregate the U.S. military. The Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) has initiated interviews with surviving witnesses to the explosion of more than 5,000 tons of TNT while mainly African-American sailors loaded munitions in Port Chicago, California. 320 servicemen and civilians died. For more information about this interesting and little known event, click here.
Barossa Valley-based television host Cherie Hausler has been attending South Australian agricultural shows, and discovered not only a feisty spirit of competition but also a window into the culture and community that thrives in regional SA. Hausler has developed a television show that involves travelling around to the various agricultural shows in SA, competing, and cooking with some of the characters she meets along the way. She is trying to capture the rich oral history, the expertise and high standards agricultural shows foster. For full story click here.
The New Zealand Government has given out oral history awards to a number of projects this year. It is interesting to see the diverse range of projects being undertaken there. For the full list click here.
The 8th National Oral History Conference will be held from 11 to 14 October 2011 in North West Province, South Africa. The conference theme is “Past Distortions, Present Realities, (Re)Construction(s) and (Re)Configuration(s) of Oral History”. Click here and then click on the conference theme on left side of page for more information.
The Annual General Meeting of the Oral History Association of Australia will be held during the National Conference in October. It will be held at the Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne at 4.30 pm on Saturday 8 October 2011.
Here are two examples of school students interviewing local residents as part of their school curriculum. The first is American Studies Oral History Project 2011. Some of the interviews are with war veterans, even recent veterans from current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The second is a story about students in the American town of Hannibal who have funds from their town council to make a documentary film about the residents of their town – click here. We could do projects like this here and it would be good to find a way to encourage schools to undertake similar projects.
This article looks back at the history of AIDS with links to interviews with those who have experienced the disease and also doctors who have treated HIV and AIDS patients. For more information, click here.
Hi from Ariella Van Luyn, the Queensland branch president:
This article from a British newspaper tells of the death of the last WWI soldier and how these last survivors of that terrible conflict were turned into living memorials. As their numbers declined in the last 10 years they were increasingly sought after and perhaps pressured to “perform”. The journalist speculates that those memories may have been “polished” for public consumption. It’s a well written and thought provoking article. To read click here.