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Oral History and Social Justice: Towards a Participatory Oral History Resea...

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Columbia University, Knox Hall

606 W 122nd Street

New York, NY 10027

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Oral History and Social Justice: Towards a Participatory Oral History Research Approach, Lynn Lewis

Research practice has often been driven by people who are “experts” while the subjects of research are sometimes seen as interesting, but not necessarily legitimate authorities even about the conditions of their own lives. Oral History and Participatory Action Research are important interventions that have resulted in a paradigm shift regarding who is an expert and a legitimate source of knowledge.

One of the essential aspects of “justice making” is community organizing: a practice which works to build collective power. Oral history and participatory action research offer ways to document and to deepen our understanding about how social justice happens. Oral history, participatory action research and community organizing share a social justice purpose as well as some common elements. Combining these three approaches to knowledge production leads us to the practice of Participatory Oral History Research.

Through concrete examples, a review of the theoretical foundations of Participatory Oral History Research and hands on exercises, participants will leave this session with additional tools by which to envision oral history research projects: from design, through interviews and analysis to representation. Among the topics covered will be shared authority, structuring your oral history project, meaning, interview techniques, engaging narrators beyond the interview and approval of transcripts, latent and explicit content, and power and privilege from concept to roll out.

Lynn Lewis is a graduate of the OHMA Program (October, 2018) and a long time community organizer and social justice worker. She is interested in the potential for oral history research to support the work of grass roots organizations to win social justice. Her current research is an oral history of Picture the Homeless, a homeless led organization where she worked for 17 years. She is a founding board member of the E Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust and sits on the board of the Cooper Square Community Land Trust. Lynn works in NYC as a consultant and trainer to grass roots organizations.

*For our oral history workshops, please pay what you can. We suggest $30 for students, recent graduates, or others who are financially constrained, while we suggest that professionals and those with more resources should pay more. All profits from these events go towards our annual merit scholarship for an OHMA student. Please note that OHMA applicants can get their admission fee waived if they attend a workshop.

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Columbia University, Knox Hall

606 W 122nd Street

New York, NY 10027

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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