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VOW Workshop #3: Building Narrative Editing Skills

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$0 – $25

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An introduction to VOW’s oral history narrative editing style that combines journalistic integrity and a literary approach.

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Voice of Witness Workshop Series: Oral History Storytelling Skills and Ethics

Storytelling is a powerful method to advance justice, and an understanding of systemic oppression is incomplete without deep listening and learning from marginalized communities. Building on over 10 years of experience, Voice of Witness (VOW) has developed an ethics-driven oral history methodology that produces first-person narratives amplifying the voices and experiences of people directly impacted by—and fighting against—injustice.

In response to requests from VOW webinar participants, we’ve adapted this storytelling approach into a skills-building workshop series for advocates, educators, and organizations seeking to use first-person narrative to advance a project or mission.

This engaging three-part series will provide a range of introductory training opportunities for you or your organization, helping you reflect on best practices, gain skills, and plan a storytelling project to amplify community voices. VOW staff and guest facilitators will share our methodology, explore the ethics of storytelling, and discuss key processes and tips on how to create powerful narratives. Speakers include past editors and narrators from VOW’s human rights book series who will share their firsthand experiences of developing oral history projects.

While we strongly recommend signing up for all three sessions for a comprehensive experience, each workshop is a stand-alone opportunity and participants are welcome to sign up for just one or two. Note: The workshops will not be recorded, though we can share the slides with participants afterward.

Workshop 1: Narrator Experience + Storytelling Ethics

This session provides an introduction to VOW’s ethics-driven, empathy-based approach to oral history storytelling, with a focus on trauma-informed practices and centering the voices and experiences of narrators throughout the whole project. We’ll create space to collectively reflect on important ethical questions, and VOW narrator Soledad Castillo will share her perspectives on telling her story through the oral history process.

The workshop will be facilitated by Voice of Witness staff and Soledad Castillo, a narrator from the VOW book Solito, Solita: Crossing Borders with Youth Refugees from Central America. Soledad is a housing case manager for foster youth in San Francisco and a member of the Voice of Witness education advisory.

Sign up for Workshop #1 here.

Workshop 2: Exploring the Interview Process

This session provides an introduction to VOW’s narrator-centered interview practices, focusing on the role of empathy, trauma-informed approaches, insider/outsider power dynamics, respect, curiosity, humility, and more. We’ll explore case studies and create space to discuss best practices and challenges that may arise during the interview process.

The workshop will be facilitated by Voice of Witness staff and Mateo Hoke, a writer, journalist, and co-editor of the VOW book Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary.

Sign up for Workshop #2 here.

Workshop 3: Building Narrative Editing Skills

This session provides an introduction to VOW’s oral history editing style that combines journalistic integrity and a literary approach to honor the narrator’s voice and highlight complex issues through personal story. We’ll explore concrete skills and tips and provide an opportunity to practice on a sample transcript from VOW’s rapid-response oral history project, Unheard Voices of the Pandemic.

This workshop will share best practices from VOW’s 10+ years of oral history storytelling exploring issues of race-, gender-, and class-based inequity through the lenses of migration, displacement, and the criminal justice system.

The session will be facilitated by Voice of Witness staff, including Managing Editor of the VOW book series Dao X. Tran.

After registering on this page, you will be emailed a zoom link to join the event.

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Organizer Voice of Witness

Organizer of VOW Workshop #3: Building Narrative Editing Skills

Voice of Witness (VOW) is an oral history nonprofit that advances human rights by amplifying the voices of people impacted by—and fighting against—injustice.

VOW’s work is driven by the transformative power of the story, and by a strong belief that an understanding of systemic injustice is incomplete without deep listening and learning from people with firsthand experience. Through two key programs—our oral history book series and education program—we amplify unheard voices, teach ethics-driven storytelling, and partner with advocates.

The VOW Book Series depicts human rights issues through the edited oral histories of people—VOW narrators—who are most deeply impacted and are often at the heart of solutions to address injustice. The series explores issues of race-, gender-, and class-based inequity through the lenses of migration, displacement, and the criminal justice system. The VOW Education Program connects over 20,000 educators, students, and advocates each year with these stories and issues through oral history-based curricula, trainings, and holistic educational support.

Learn more: https://voiceofwitness.org/

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