OHMA Dec. 3 | The NYC Trans Oral History Project and Rethinking Oral History Methodology

Amy Starecheski's picture

Dec. 3, 2020 | 6:10 - 7:30 p.m.

Columbia University Oral History Master of the Arts (OHMA) invites you to our 2020-2021 workshop series on Oral History and Power. All events are free, online, and open to the public. Most events are recorded and may also be viewed at a later time through OHMA's Youtube channel.

These events are open to all. For more information or if we can make any of these events more accessible to you, please contact Rebecca McGilveray at rlm2203@columbia.edu.


Where: Zoom - Sign up to receive the link here.

When: Thursday, Dec. 3rd, 6:10-7:30 p.m.

This event will be held online via Zoom. Register in advance for this meeting here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The NYC Trans Oral History Project (NYC TOHP) is a vibrant, growing, online archive of 200 interviews with trans New Yorkers sharing their life stories. NYC TOHP is a collaboration between an independent collective and the New York Public Library. In its project design, the NYC TOHP reflects a number of unusual choices that differ from standard oral history best practices: the interviews are all in the public domain through Creative Commons, they are overwhelmingly conducted by volunteers with little training, the collective selectively compensated some narrators, and we have prioritized making transcripts easily available. In this presentation, Michelle will outline the work of NYC TOHP and explain the rationale for these unusual choices and how they contribute to making the interviews usable by trans communities themselves. 


Michelle Esther O’Brien is a psychotherapist in private practice. She recently completed her PhD in sociology at New York University. Her dissertation considered how capitalism shapes LGBTQ social movements in New York City. Michelle is a co-editor of Pinko, and her writing has appeared in Social Movement Studies, WorkEmployment & Society, Commune, Homintern, Endnotes, and Invert.

Michelle recently stepped down as the Community Oral History Coordinator at the New York Public Library, where she has spent three and a half years leading the New York City Trans Oral History Project. The project is gathering a growing online archive of personal oral histories from trans New Yorkers.

Michelle received her master's of social work from the Hunter College School of Social Work, CUNY. She spent several years working in HIV/AIDS service agencies, as a community organizer, support group facilitator, and case worker. She served as the Executive Director of Housing Here and Now, at the time the leading coalition of tenant rights organizations in New York City.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Rebecca McGilveray at rlm2203@columbia.edu or visit the OHMA site.

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