“Moving Beyond the Interview” in Louisville

Published in the Texas Oral History Association Sound Bites newsletter, Winter 2009. Article updated from the original and reprinted with permission of the Texas Oral History Association.

The Oral History Association’s 43rd Annual Meeting, held October 14-18, 2009, in Louisville, Kentucky, presented a wide spectrum of projects from around the world, including the creative, in-depth work being done in Kentucky. The expanding role of technology in oral history was featured in many sessions, including “Building a Better Oral History Website,” with Baylor University’s Elinor Mazé as one of three panelists.

Offerings included panel discussions, plenary sessions, film, music, and performance. The Community Commons Kentucky Showcase, held at the Frazier International History Museum, presented more than a dozen programs and projects based in Kentucky. The informal setting encouraged lively discussion. One innovative program, Kentucky’s Community Scholars, provides training to individuals interested in documenting and promoting community culture, folklife, and traditional arts. The awards ceremony on Saturday evening culminated in a presentation by artists with Kentucky-based Appalshop, which for 40 years has created innovative media, arts, and education projects using oral history resources.

My husband and I are new members of OHA and were first-time participants at the meeting. (I also applied for and received a scholarship offered to first-time attendees.) For us the conference also was an opportunity to meet and talk with many other oral historians. We came home with a wealth of new contacts and new ideas for our ongoing community history project here in Austin.

Learn more about the Oral History Association and its annual meeting here.

Read about the ways we have “moved beyond the interview” with our project, Voices of the Violet Crown, here.

Susan Burneson


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