Posts Tagged ‘oral history’

A Jewish women’s community archive in the making?

April 3, 2009

I just saw this on the April newsletter from the Jewish Museum:

HER STORIES: Telling the untold tales of Jewish women

Are there women in your family that should have their story told?

Writer and PR consultant Michelle Rosenberg is bringing her passion for women’s history to the Jewish arena. Michelle’s ambitious new project, Her Stories, aims to pull together the stories and histories of today’s Jewish matriarchs; mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts. It will cover everything from family life in the shetls to food, travelling experience and employment, education, roles in the home and even the books and newspapers you read today.

If you’d like to contribute your stories, contact Michelle at to find out more.

A Jewish women’s oral history archive in the making? And what’s going to happen to the recordings I wonder?



An oral history archive to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27, 2009

From the British Library:

British Library Holocaust recordings launched online

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day, the latest collection added to the JISC funded Archival Sound Recordings website provides a new tool for Holocaust research and education, available online from the British Library.

Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust documents the moving testimonies of Jewish immigrants to Britain, many of whom survived Nazi concentration camps. Over 440 hours of life story recordings explore 66 personal experiences of persecution across war-torn Europe and the impact of the Holocaust, covering:

Anti-Semitism before the Second World War

Ghettos and concentration camps

Resistance and liberation

Searching for family in the aftermath

Building a new life in Britain

The legacy of the Holocaust

The Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust resource will also support primary and secondary education, supplementing the study materials and lesson plans provided by the British Library’s Learning team’s Voices of the Holocaust package.

The testimonies now available are drawn from a major oral history programme The Living Memory of the Jewish Community which between 1987 and 2000 gathered 186 audio life story interviews with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their children. It was initiated by National Life Stories based in the British Library’s oral history section and funded by a number of organisations including the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, the John S Cohen Foundation and the Porjes Charitable Trust.

The collection joins a growing range of oral history recordings on Archival Sound Recordings, which makes selections of music, spoken word, and environmental sounds from the British Library Sound Archive available online. Recordings can be accessed from British Library reading rooms and are available for free to licensed UK higher and further education institutions. In addition, over 2000 recordings, including Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust, are available to the public via the website.

UK higher and further education librarians can email to request a free licence.

Black Cultural Archives looking for volunteers

January 5, 2009

Black Cultural Archives is looking for volunteers to work on its new oral history project to collect and preserve testimonies about the Black Women’s Movement in Britain. The roles available are Volunteer Interviewer and Volunteer Transcriber. The closing date for volunteers to express an interest is Friday 16 January 2009. Check out the BCA website for more information.

The project takes as its starting point the book The Heart of the Race by Beverley Bryan, Stella Dadzie and Suzanne Scafe (Virago 1985), which I’m looking forward to reading.


New oral history software

December 8, 2008

(From This software may be of interest to community archivists, especially those who work with oral history:

The Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling is currently developing a new oral history database tool, entitled Stories Matter. This free, open source software is being built for oral historians by oral historians. It will allow for the archiving of digital video and audio materials, enabling oral historians to annotate, analyze, and evaluate materials in their collections. In addition to containing an offline version, the software will have an online version that will facilitate sharing and collaboration in the discipline. Both versions of Stories Matter will operate in English and French, and will have the capacity to support other languages at a later date. This software will be launched in early 2009.

While Stories Matter promises to change the ways that we think about and do oral history, it also offers a unique glimpse into the interdisciplinary process of creating digital technologies. The project team is directed by Dr. Steven High, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Public History, and it is being led by a computer programmer, Jacques Langlois. Two oral historians, Dr. Stacey Zembrzycki and Kristen O’Hare, are also embedded in the development process, consulting with High and Langlois on every aspect of the project. Those interested in this exciting project may monitor its progress, development, and implementation through its blog.

At this stage, we are soliciting feedback to ensure that Stories Matter will meet the needs of the widest possible audience; it must be relevant and user-friendly. We welcome any comments, suggestions, and questions that you may have; please feel free to forward this information to others who may also be interested in this project.


Steven High, Jacques Langlois, Kristen O’Hare, and Stacey Zembrzycki

*The Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling is housed at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This development project is being generously supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Oral history project manager vacancy at the BCA

September 8, 2008

An oral history project manager is sought as part of Black Cultural Archives’ Documenting The Archives project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The postholder will manage a project to collect oral histories of women involved in and inspired by the Black Women’s Movement in Britain.

For full details see the website.