2024 Workshop Series: Oral History Storytelling Skills and Ethics

VOW Workshop Series

Storytelling is a powerful way to build community and advance justice through education and advocacy. Building on 15+ years of experience, Voice of Witness (VOW) has developed an ethics-driven oral history methodology that documents first-person narratives amplifying the voices and experiences of people directly impacted by—and fighting against—injustice.

We’ve adapted this approach into a skills-building workshop series for advocates, educators, artists, and organizations seeking to use storytelling to advance a project or mission.

This engaging three-part oral history workshop series provides introductory training opportunities, helping you or your organization reflect on best practices, gain skills, and plan a storytelling project to amplify community voices. VOW staff and guest facilitators will explore the ethics of storytelling, discuss key processes, and share tips on how to create impactful narratives. Speakers include editors and narrators from VOW projects who will share their firsthand experiences of developing oral history projects.

While we strongly recommend signing up for all three sessions for a comprehensive experience, each workshop is a stand-alone opportunity and participants are welcome to sign up for just one or two.

Workshop 1: Narrator Experience + Storytelling Ethics

This session provides an introduction to our ethics-driven, empathy-based approach to oral history storytelling, with a focus on trauma-informed practices and centering the voices and experiences of narrators throughout the project. We’ll create space to collectively reflect on important ethical questions, and a VOW narrator will share their perspectives on telling their story through the oral history process.

The workshop will be facilitated by VOW staff and Gabriel Mendez, a narrator from Solito, Solita: Crossing Borders with Youth Refugees from Central America.

When: July 31, 2024 at 2:00pm PT / 5:00pm ET

Register for Workshop #1 here.

Workshop 2: Exploring the Interview Process

This session provides an introduction to VOW’s interview practices, focusing on the role of trauma-informed approaches, insider/outsider power dynamics, consent, respect, curiosity, and more. We’ll explore case studies and create space to discuss best practices and challenges that may arise during oral history interviews.

The workshop will be facilitated by VOW staff and Andrea Quijada, a media literacy consultant, community organizer, and co-editor of the upcoming VOW book Global Stories from the Automated Welfare State.

When: August 14, 2024 at 2:00pm PT / 5:00pm ET

Register for Workshop #2 here.

Workshop 3: Building Narrative Editing Skills

This session provides an introduction to an oral history editing style that combines journalistic integrity and a literary approach to honor narrators’ voices and highlight complex issues through personal story. We’ll explore concrete skills and tips and provide an opportunity to practice on a sample transcript. This workshop will share best practices from VOW’s 15+ years illuminating issues of inequity through first-person narrative.

The session will be facilitated by Voice of Witness staff.

When: August 28, 2024 at 2:00pm PT / 5:00pm ET

Register for Workshop #3 here.

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