Oral History Feature

Photographer Mark Laita explores the human condition through portraits & interviews with marginalized individuals in Los Angeles and throughout America.

 

VIDEOS | PORTRAITS

 

 

 


Coronavirus Pandemic

Community Voices, Stories, and Oral History Projects

THE SOCIAL VOICE PROJECT: VOICES OF THE 2020 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC 

HISTORY IS HAPPENING NOW

The Social Voice Project recognizes the historical significance of this moment, so each day we search through a variety digital and internet sources to catalog in our Beaver County archive of voices and sounds–an initiative we developed in partnership with the Listening Library: Voices of Beaver County project.

The Social Voice Project has long encouraged local history museums and historical societies to capture, preserve, and share the voices and stories of their communities through oral history interviews and other methods of documenting living history.

Today, with access to the internet and affordable high quality audio and video recording equipment, it’s never been easier for public historians to document “history in the making”– as we might describe the remarkable events unfolding around us today with the corona virus pandemic.

Additionally, social media provides an incredible real-time resource for local historians to capture, curate, and archive. On Facebook and Twitter we can hear the voices and stories of history spun before us. We hope local historians in Beaver County and everywhere are paying attention to this amazing opportunity and taking advantage of these resources available to them, such as video, audio, and text-based media published on the internet.

Ethnographers, historians, and social scientists might call these crowd-sourced artifacts. Much of this valuable material is primary, but there is a tremendous wealth of historical data in secondary sources presented through television and radio news reporting, for example.

 


SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY: SHARED VOICES, SHARED EXPERIENCES 

History is being made right now, and your experiences are part of it.

Shared Voices, Shared Experiences is a rapid-response archive project aimed at collecting, preserving and sharing experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the lives of everyone connected to Slippery Rock University and the surrounding communities.

The Stone House Center for Public Humanities, in partnership with the Slippery Rock University Archives, is looking to capture the experiences of Slippery Rock University community members, (regardless of their geographic location during the Spring 2020 semester), as well as the experiences of local residents of Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, and Beaver counties.

They don’t need to be big events, or polished stories. It’s important to make sure that the artifacts of our day-to-day lives during this pandemic don’t disappear. Records can be anything representative of your experience during this time, from written or oral stories to social media posts to photographs.

We look forward to hearing your voices and sharing your experiences to document this historic time in our community.

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PUBLIC SOURCE: FROM THE SOURCE PODCAST 

The coronavirus has changed us, no matter what class, race, gender, age we represent, in Pittsburgh and beyond. Each week, the Pittsburgh nonprofit news outlet PublicSource will bring you voices and personal stories of people in our area who are coping with changes brought about by the pandemic.

PublicSource delivers stories for a better Pittsburgh, so if you care about our region’s communities, schools and businesses, this is the podcast for you.

Listen

 

 

 

 


STORYCORPS: CONNECT

StoryCorps Connect is a new technology developed quickly in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The technology is still in development, and we appreciate your patience with any issues you may experience.

WHAT IS STORYCORPS CONNECT?

Developed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, StoryCorps Connect is a first-of-its kind platform that enables you to record a StoryCorps interview with a loved one remotely using video conference technology. The audio and a still photo from each interview goes into our archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Your interview becomes part of American history, and hundreds of years from now, future generations will listen in. We think of StoryCorps as an ever-growing archive of the wisdom of humanity.

 

 


FOXFIRE: COVID-19 ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

We want to hear from you! If you live in Central/Southern Appalachia, or are from the region (West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama), consider sharing your experiences with the COVID-19 outbreak and craze through a self-recorded oral history. We are looking for testimonies/oral histories related to the virus.

How to Participate

Foxfire is a nationally-recognized heritage preservation organization and a model for how learner-centered education enriches students and their communities and builds connections across generations.  Foxfire’s mission is to preserve the diverse traditions of Southern Appalachia and advance the understanding and appreciation of cultural heritage through public programs, publications, and learner-centered education.

 


VERMONT FOLKLIFE CENTER: LISTENING IN PLACE PROJECT

Listening in Place focuses on two responses to the COVID-19 emergency: the creation of a crowd-sourced Sound Archive to document our daily experiences during the pandemic, and a series of online Virtual Story Circles, where Vermonters can gather remotely to listen and share during these challenging times.

Through these programs we seek ways to maintain our connections to one another when we most need them, engage with personal stories to strengthen our relationships, and create a record of what we are experiencing throughout the pandemic.

How to Participate

Founded in 1984, the Vermont Folklife Center is a nationally-known folklife education organization that uses ethnography—study of cultural experience through interviewing, participation and observation—to strengthen the understanding of the cultural and social fabric of Vermont’s diverse communities. The VFC’s mission is to broaden, strengthen, and deepen our understanding of Vermont; to assure a repository for our collective cultural memory; and to strengthen communities by building connections among the diverse peoples of Vermont.


Share Your COVID-19 Experience With University Libraries

The University Libraries’ Special Collections division and Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts seek to preserve the personal COVID-19 experiences of University of Arkansas students, faculty and staff. Stories can be submitted online.  “This is a unique time in our collective history, and we feel it is important to document events and stories from our community,” said Amy Allen, university archivist.

Suggestions for documenting your experience include:  A journal or blog of your thoughts and experiences, taking photos and/or videos of life as you see it, recording voice memos, interviewing friends or family for an oral history, saving social media posts, collecting emails that Arkansas-based businesses or organizations send you about COVID-19 related closings or precautions

Topics of interest include but are not limited to stories about remote learning at the university, off-campus jobs (in retail, the service industry, grocery stores, etc.), the ways you are staying in touch with family and friends during this period of social distancing and self-quarantine, the challenges for international students or those with families abroad, experiences of faculty and staff working remotely, experiences of staff who remain on campus, and how this event is impacting you.

How to Participate

 


More TSVP Community Oral Histories

 


TSVP MUSEM MEDIA

The Social Voice Project is a museum media service provider working with local history museums, historical societies, schools, and nonprofits to create oral history programs, community storytelling projects, and digital media tours & exhibits.

 


Pittsburgh Regional

 

 

Other Notable Projects

 

Tell us about your local oral history or community storytelling project