The Liberation of Oral History: A Little History and A Lot of Work

In this post, Mary Marshall ClarkDirector of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research, Co-Director of OHMA, and Senior Member of the Columbia University Institutional Review Boardreflects on the recent update to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, which has clarified the exclusion of oral history from its research review mandates. 

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'The Same Heart': Film Screening and Q&A

We are delighted to inform you that Len & Georgia Morris and Petra Lent McCarron will be showing their most recent film, The Same Heart, on the rights of children to live beyond poverty, on the evening of Tuesday, September 13, 2017 at the Society for Ethical Culture.

Len, Georgia, and Petra have worked with the Columbia Center for Oral History Research to produce films for the last two decades. Please join us in welcoming their latest project to New York! The Q&A session that follows will be moderated by Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

For tickets and further information, please visit the Eventbrite page.

“You Can’t Just Create a Beautiful Space. It Also Has to Feel Safe to Be There.”

A Q&A with How We Go Home editor Sara Sinclair

Voice of Witness shares an inside look into one of the newest oral history projects from Voice of Witness: How We Go Home. Sara is an OHMA alum and is currently Project Coordinator for the Columbia Center for Oral History Research's Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project.

We’re excited to share an inside look into one of the newest oral history projects from Voice of Witness: How We Go Home.

How We Go Home will illuminate the experiences of Native peoples living on reservations in the U.S. and Canada. Narrators will describe the impacts of forced assimilation, displacement, and the human rights violations emerging from institutional problems within the reservation system, while revealing Native society’s incredible capacity for resistance, healing, and survival.

How We Go Home is one of six projects Voice of Witness is currently incubating through the VOW Story Fund, which provides oral history training, editorial guidance, and project funding to human rights storytellers in need of institutional support.

Faculty Provost Award: Transforming Oral History through Teaching Visual Literacy

Transforming Oral History Through Teaching Visual Literacy

Course: Oral History Method and Theory
Semester: Fall 2016

Mary Marshall Clark, Director of CCOHR and Co-Director of the Oral History Master of Arts program (OHMA) at Columbia, working with OHMA student Nyssa Chow, designed a proposal to the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) to use Mediathread and other software to transform the way in which oral history is taught in Clark’s Oral History Method and Theory seminar.  The CTL grant will support the purchase of video cameras, and the development of new course modules in which students will analyze the videos they produce directly from the video source: developing a new lexicon for oral history through visualizing theoretical concepts such as memory, intersubjectivity and meaning-making in the interview.  Through incorporating an analysis of gestures, facial expressions, bodily cues and the intersection of sound and image in the oral history exchange, students will develop new methodologies for analyzing the work they produce and develop innovative visual forms for sharing their knowledge with a broader public.

In October 2014, the Office of the Provost launched a Request for Proposals for Hybrid Course Redesign and Delivery. Senior faculty review committees selected projects to receive grants. Each project was chosen based on its potential to enhance teaching and learning at Columbia. The selected projects cover a broad range of disciplines and topics, from history to economics to biomedical engineering.  These projects are already exposing undergraduate and graduate students alike to partial or full flipping of the classroom, team-based and experiential learning, and just-in-time teaching.

In December 2015, the Office of the Provost announced the third Request for Proposals (click here to access the RFP page).  Instructors of courses selected will have access to the resources and support of the Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) for content development, instructional design, media production, systems integration, assessment, and project management.  Courses selected are also funded from $5,000 up to $20,000 for a one-semester period.  A key goal of this fund is to measure the effectiveness of these designs, delivery methods and learning strategies, and to improve instructional delivery and learning outcomes of Columbia University students from all disciplines.

Muriel Miguel wins Guggenheim fellowship

CCOHR was very pleased to learn that Muriel Miguel, founding member and Artistic Director of Spiderwoman Theater and a 2013 Summer Institute instructor, received a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship. Sara Sinclair, a 2013 Summer Institute Fellow, Oral History Master of Arts alum, and current Project Coordinator for CCOHR's Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project, conducted a public interview with Muriel, which you can watch below. In this post, she reminiscences about Muriel as a storyteller.

I met Muriel Miguel in Toronto through Native Earth Performing Arts. I was an actor participating in a week long workshop of a new play that Muriel was directing. We met again in New York at the American Indian Community House almost ten years later. I had just moved to the city, wondered whether I might run into Muriel and there she was!

We got to chatting and I told that I was in the city studying oral history. She was interested in hearing more about my studies and in telling me about Spiderwoman Theater’s latest production, a play based on real Native American women’s experiences of violence.  Muriel thought there might be a way for us to work together and I was excited about that and just so happy to reconnect.

Muriel is a great storyteller. She is fun, dynamic, wise and just so fully and richly herself.  She certainly doesn’t need an interviewer to draw her out! I saw my role as more about providing the structure for her to best share her story with the Summer Institute Fellows.  I was proud to be able to facilitate our time together so that she could share her experience as an “Urban Indian” growing up in Brooklyn, New York, a narrative unfamiliar and maybe even unimagined by most.

I love Muriel, and I love that she is a part of my community in New York. We don’t speak often but somehow she always knows when to call and I’m always so moved by her love and humor when she does. I had a son in June and the night before I went into labor, Muriel called to ask how I was. She told me about how she walked her way through her own labor. Her stories give me strength.