The Columbia Center for Oral History Research sponsors a bi-annual Summer Institute in New York City, which brings together oral historians, scholars, activists, and others for two weeks of advanced training in the theory and practice of oral history.

Participants work with world-class instructors, network with oral historians from around the world and go to exhibits in New York City. Each year we focus on a different theme.

2017 Summer Institute

Oral History and Aging: Transmitting Life Stories of Being and Becoming Across Cultures and Generations
June 5 – June 16, 2017


The Columbia University Center for Oral History Research, in partnership with the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, is proud to announce the program for the 2017 Summer Institute: Oral History and Aging: Transmitting Life Stories of Being and Becoming Across Cultures and Generations. 

The Institute will examine the social and cultural realities of aging across the life span focusing on ways that oral history opens up possibilities of meaning-making through the construction of narratives in a dialogical and relational framework.

Oral history, the practice of capturing narratives across temporalities, cultures, and personal identities is committed to understanding the ways in which people perceive aging around the world.

This institute will sharpen that focus by looking concretely at the challenges diverse populations face as they age, and examine the ways in which people can reframe their experiences and perceptions of aging through the construction of life history narratives.

Themes will include intergenerational and cross-cultural storytelling, the role of oral history in health care and hospice care, growing old in situations of economic disparity, governmental and non-governmental supports and the professionalization of oral history in age-related health care settings.

Core faculty includes:  Peter Bearman, Doug Boyd, Mary Marshall Clark, Ronald J. Grele, Alessandro Portelli, Linda Shopes, Amy Starecheski, and Cameron Vanderscoff. 

For more information on the 2017 Summer Institute, please review the program highlights.

For inquiries contact Mary Marshall Clark ( and Cameron Vanderscoff (