Oral History Society Annual Conference - July 9-10, 2021 - *online*

Fiona Cosson 's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I'm delighted to share details with you of the Oral History Society Annual Conference 2021 (postponed from 2020). The conference will take place online​ on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th July 2021.

OHS Annual Conference 2021: Oral History and the Media

Friday 9th and Saturday 10th July 2021, online conference

Website: https://www.ohs.org.uk/conferences/conference-2021/


We are pleased to be able to reopen our call for papers, as below:

Oral history and the media have an important but complex relationship. The media has long been an important producer of, and outlet for, oral history. Classic radio and television productions like The Radio Ballads (1958-1964), Yesterday’s Witness (1969-1981), and The World at War (1973-4) pioneered the use of oral history in the broadcast media, whilst books such as Ronald Blythe’s Akenfield (1969) and Studs Terkel’s Hard Times (1970) did the same for print media, all giving voice to those who would otherwise have been excluded from both the media and the historical record.

Since the 1980s, there has been growing use of oral history in TV, radio, print, and digital media, with oral histories now forming an important and popular dimension of history and factual broadcasting and publishing. However, the process by which oral histories are mediated from orality to the media (or “transmediated,” to use Alessandro Portelli’s term), and the methodological, aesthetic, narrative, or ethical decisions behind these productions and outputs -- such as who to interview, what questions to ask, and what parts of the interviews end up on the cutting room floor -- often remains hidden.

The relationship between oral history and the media can also be seen in how oral history has been used to explore the histories and experiences of the media itself, with oral history projects documenting the histories of media companies and organizations, alongside an upsurge of interest in memory and nostalgia related to the experiences of media, such as memories of cinema, books, and music.

Elsewhere, the advent of new media and social media has fueled the growth of digital storytelling, interactive documentaries, as well as serialized audio podcasts which draw heavily on oral history testimony. These new technologies, formats, and channels offer new ways of creating, disseminating, consuming, and democratizing oral history, raising questions about ethics, participation, expertise, audiences, and formats.

This conference aims to consider the relationship between oral history and the media, both historically and today, by exploring similarities, differences, opportunities, and challenges between media practices and oral history practices, from interviewing to editing, audiences to ethics, covering topics such as:

·     the use and misuse of oral history in the media

·     memories of (the) media: film, books, TV, radio, theatre, music

·    the influence of the media on memory: mediated memory and "prosthetic memory"

·    oral history, media, and editing: soundbites, vox-pops, and the cutting room floor

·    oral history, media, and interviewing: intersubjectivity, questions, and emotion

·    oral history and "transmediation": transcription, editing, fictionalization, and dramatization

·    contestation, sensationalism, and commercialization of/in oral history

·    journalism, news, and oral history

·    new media, social media, and oral history

·    oral history, false memory, and fake news

·    oral histories of the media (professions, organizations, and companies)

·    changing media and formats and its implications for oral history

·    archiving, preservation, and re-use of oral histories in the media



The deadline for submission of proposals is 18th December 2020. Each proposal should include: a title, an abstract of between 250 and 300 words, your name (and the names of any copresenters, panelists, etc.), your institution or organization, your email address, and a note of any particular requirements. Most importantly, your abstract should demonstrate the use of oral history or personal testimony and be directly related to the conference theme. Proposals that include audio playback are strongly encouraged.

Proposals should be emailed to the ORAL HISTORY AND THE MEDIA Conference Manager, Polly Owen, at polly.owen@ohs.org.uk, or via the website. They will be assessed anonymously by the conference organizers, and presenters will be contacted in January/February 2021.

If you have already had a paper accepted in 2020, you will be invited to present in 2021 and do not need to re-submit your paper.

Website: https://www.ohs.org.uk/conferences/conference-2021/

Please feel free to share with friends and colleagues.

Best wishes,

Dr. Fiona Cosson, BA, MA, PhD, FHEA​
Bournemouth University