BUIOH at OHA 2014 Recap!

October 16, 2014


Five members of the BUIOH staff recently attended the Oral History Association's (OHA) 48th annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, October 7-12. The theme for this year's conference was Oral History in Motion: Movements, Transformations, and the Power of Story.

Our staff presented materials, chaired sessions, moderated roundtables and attended many workshops and panels throughout the conference. Here is a quick synopsis of the BUIOH involvement:

• Director Stephen Sloan served as president of the OHA this year and presided over the conference. In addition to the many council and executive meetings he attended and special events he moderated, Sloan also participated in two sessions. He chaired the "Listening on the Edge: Oral History in the Aftermath of Crisis" roundtable, which discussed the experiences of contributors to the eponymous publication Sloan and co-editor Mark Cave recently published. In addition, he contributed to the panel entitled "An Intricate Waltz: Oral History and the Digital Humanities." At the conclusion of the conference Sloan passed the gavel to incoming OHA president Paul Ortiz, but not before receiving a number of gifts originating from the Madison Farmers Market! Reflecting on the conference, he noted, "What a treat it was to be in Madison in fall! Special thanks to the hard work of Troy Reeves, local arrangements chair, to show us mid-west hospitality and offer exposure to all the great things that this city and university have to offer."

• Associate Director Lois Myers chaired a panel entitled "Emerging Methodologies in Oral History," which included a presentation by Linda Burghardt on her dissertation work with the Shoah Archive. Shoah currently holds over 52,000 video interviews, primarily with survivors of the Holocaust, but more recently other genocides across the globe. About the conference as a whole, Myers commented, "I enjoyed connecting with respected colleagues who have been models of best oral history practices for me for a quarter century, hearing the experiences of people who are applying oral history methods in new and exciting ways, and getting to know people who are brand new to oral history practice."

• Senior Editor and Collection Manager Steven Sielaff attended a workshop entitled "Look Before You Leap: Transitioning to Video Oral History." In addition he was a part of three different sessions. In "Implementing OHMS: Multi-Institutional Perspectives," Sielaff detailed his experience learning, testing, and eventually having the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) software installed at Baylor. He recently included OHMS in his WWI lecture and webpage, which can be viewed HERE. He then moderated "Open Forum on H-OralHist," a discussion on the international listserv hosted by H-Net which recently transitioned to a web-based platform. Finally, Sielaff chaired the roundtable on "Preservation vs. Curation: Resource Management in Oral History." He noted that, "A highlight of the conference for me happened during the Presidential Reception where jazz bassist Richard Davis recounted his interaction with one of my music idols - Louis Armstrong!"

• Editor Michelle Holland attended two workshops: "OHMS: Enhancing Access to Oral History Online" & "The Power of Performance: A Practical Guide to Writing an Oral History-Based Performance." In addition she presented on her experience of producing the 100-episode series "Living Stories" for BUIOH during the panel entitled "Field Notes: Oral History in Practical Motion." After the conference, Michelle commented, "I enjoyed seeing both familiar and new faces at this year’s meeting. The eclectic mix of backgrounds and experience levels led to some fascinating discussions in the workshops and sessions that I attended. So many great projects going on in oral history right now!"

• University Researcher Jessica Roseberry also attended the OHMS and Video Oral History workshops. She was able to take in a great number of other plenaries, panels and roundtable discussions. Jessica reflected that, "This conference was overflowing with vibrant, thoughtfully documented stories, many from places I had never considered before, and each one of them still has the power to resonate with me as I come back to work in Waco."
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