Oral history training at UC Berkeley

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Advanced Oral History Summer Institute

The Oral History Center (OHC) of the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley offers its annual Advanced Oral History Summer Institute from August 6-10, 2018. More information is below. Please contact Shanna Farrell (sfarrell@library.berkeley.edu) with any questions.

About the Institute 

The Oral History Center offers a one-week advanced institute on the methodology, theory, and practice of oral history. This will take place on the UC Berkeley campus at the Faculty Club from August 6-10, 2018.

The institute is designed for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, university faculty, independent scholars, and museum and community-based historians interested in or engaged with oral history work. The institute aims to strengthen participants' abilities to conduct research-focused interviews and to consider special characteristics of interviews as historical evidence in a rigorous academic environment.

We devote particular attention to how oral history interviews can broaden and deepen historical interpretation situated within contemporary discussions of history, subjectivity, memory, and memoir.

Apply here!

Overview of the Week

The institute is structured around the life cycle of an interview. Each day focuses on a component of the interview, including foundational aspects of oral history, project conceptualization, the interview itself, analytic and interpretive strategies, and research presentation and dissemination.

Sessions include oral history theory, legal and ethical issues, project planning, oral history and the audience, anatomy of an interview, editing, fundraising, analysis, and presentation. Participants also work throughout the week in small groups led by faculty in which they will have the opportunity to workshop their projects.

Participants are provided a resource packet that includes a reader, contact information for fellow participants, and word templates used by OHC at different stages throughout the interview process. These resources will be available electronically prior to the week, along with the schedule, and in hard copy upon check-in on the first day.

Applications and Cost

The cost of the institute is $950. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide financial assistance to participants. OHC is a soft-money research office of the university and receives precious little state funding. Therefore, this educational initiative must be a self-funding program. We encourage you to contact your home institutions about financial assistance; in the past we have found that many institutions have budgets to help underwrite some of the costs associated with attendance. OHC will provide receipts and certificates of completion as required for reimbursement.

Meals and Accommodations

OHC provides continental breakfast each day, but participants must arrange most of their own meals separately. On-campus housing may be arranged through OHC. In addition to on-campus rooms, this website suggests options for lodging in the Berkeley area.

We do provide some of your meals, including continental breakfast each day.

We are confident our summer program will help enrich your education and experience with oral history. We’re proud of the scholars and practitioners we have assembled to make the 2018 Advanced Oral History Summer Institute a memorable one!

Apply here!


Please contact Shanna Farrell at sfarrell@library.berkeley.edu with any questions.