Advanced Oral History Summer Institute
About the Institute
Keynote and Guest Speakers
General Resources
Oral History Resources

About the Institute
The Oral History Center [OHC] of The Bancroft Library (formerly the Regional Oral History Office) at the University of California, Berkeley is offering a one-week advanced institute on the methodology, theory, and practice of oral history. This will take place on the UC Berkeley campus in Sutardja Dai Hall from August 10-15, 2015.

The Institute is designed for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, university faculty, independent scholars, and museum and community-based historians who are engaged in oral history work. The goal of the institute is to strengthen the ability of its participants to conduct research-focused interviews and to consider special characteristics of interviews as historical evidence in a rigorous academic environment.

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

Overview of the Week
The Institute is structured around the life cycle of an interview. Each day will focus 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 will include oral history theory, legal and ethical issues, project planning, oral history and the audience, anatomy of an interview, digital humanities, editing, fundraising, and analysis and presentation. Participants will also work throughout the week in small groups led by faculty in which they will have the opportunity to workshop their projects.

Our keynote this year is Amy Evans. Amy is the former Oral History Lead of the Southern Foodways Alliance.

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

Applications and Cost
The Institute is limited to 40 participants and applications accepted on a rolling basis. Acceptances will be made on a rolling basis. In previous years, we have reached capacity as early as the end of March, so urge you to apply as soon as possible. Submit your application here.

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 as such receives precious little state funding. Therefore, it is necessary that this educational initiative be a self-funding program. We encourage you to check in with your home institutions about financial assistance; in the past we have found that many programs have budgets to help underwrite some of the cost associated with attendance. We will provide receipts and certificates of completion as required for reimbursement.

Meals and Accommodations
Most meals must be arranged separately and on-campus housing may be arranged through OHC. In addition to on-campus rooms, this website offers many options for lodging in the Berkeley area.

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

We are confident that the program we put together will help enrich your education and experience with oral history. We’re very proud of the group of scholars and practitioners we have assembled to make the 2015 Advanced Oral History Summer Institute a memorable one!

Please contact Shanna Farrell ( with any questions.

Testimonial from 2014 Participants
“It was great to have so many opportunities to connect with fellow participants and hear about the Institute faculty’s projects. The schedule was effective, and humane!”

“I was impressed by the training provided by the Summer Institute. The curriculum was well designed and comprehensive, from an overview of the field, crafting of a project, to its analysis and dissemination in the digital age.”

“I feel empowered, now, to do my project correctly. I had fundamental project ideas that stuck with me throughout the week, but my understanding of the oral history process grew richer. I arrived timid and uncertain about how to begin, but I feel ready to do oral history work now.”

“It was great to see the Institute faculty working in great partnership and with passion for their work, which is very diverse but focused. I learned a lot and was greatly inspired.”

“The opportunity to talk about oral history and hear about other people’s research was invaluable. I don’t think I’ve ever had such an intensive amount of dialogue about my work or chosen research methods. It was so helpful to engage in these conversations with both faculty and other parcipants.”

“I came here to find a way to create a project that would put multiple community voices in dialogue as a means of telling a story. The Oakland Army Base book project is a perfect model for what I’d like to do. Attending the sessions has exposed me to all of the issues that will be involved in developing my own project and propelled me forward on my path in this work.”

“I found it extremely beneficial to have such a wide array of projects and project stages represented by the participants. Also, the Institute faculty was exceptional. What professionals, wonderful presenters, and teachers! It was truly inspiring.”

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