VOW Education Program Director Cliff Mayotte, Pendarvis Harshaw, and VOW Education Associate Erin Vong at a reading and book-signing for OG Told Me at Oaklandish in Oakland, California on April 2, 2017.
The VOW education team has been developing a new book called The Voice of Witness Oral History Handbook: Approaches, Methodologies, and Practices (formerly titled Say it Forward).
This oral history methodology book explores the nuances and complexities of community-based oral history through twelve conversational “case studies” from veteran and emerging oral history practitioners, as well as practical advice from Voice of Witness.
We’re excited to report that two of the projects featured as case studies in the book have been making some serious waves, both locally and internationally.
Behind the Wire is a multifaceted oral history project documenting the stories of the men, women, and children who have been detained by the Australian government after seeking asylum in Australia. The project was founded in 2014 with the aim of bringing a new perspective on mandatory detention: the reality of the people who have lived it.
VOW consulted with the Behind the Wire editorial team and provided guidance on oral history methods and ethics as they were preparing to interview people for their book They Cannot Take the Sky. The book was published in March 2017 by Allen & Unwin and is now available in all good bookstores and online.
OG Told Me grew out of a series of photo essays by Pendarvis Harshaw that stemmed from one essential question: what happens when young people listen to their elders? Pendarvis, a graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, spent years asking older black men in Oakland about their lives, and what advice they would like to give to young people.
Congrats to Pendarvis and the Behind the Wire team on getting these important stories out into the world! We look forward to taking our readers behind the scenes of these projects when we release our new handbook next year.