Episode 58 : Oral History View of Life Stories

by Ian

in Audio, Interview, Technology

Oral History shows the professional methods to a Life Story

Creating your own personal family history, Life Story will utilise some the methods of various different techniques of human communication. In the past we talked about the skills of Storytelling and how to get across the story with the emotional impact that we want. The other discipline that is most relevant and balances storytelling is Oral History.

Oral Historian Helen Klaebe

Assoc. Prof. Helen Klaebe

Oral history is…

…study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews, …with people who participated in or observed past events and whose memories and perceptions of these are to be preserved as an aural record.

We can use some of the academic and quantifiable techniques that are used by oral historians to help us form and organise how we approach a Life Story.

What is Professional Oral History?

To help us understand exactly what oral history is and the attitudes of the professional approach to it, we have a conversation with Associate Professor Helen Klaebe from the Queensland Institute of Technology, Creative Industries Faculty.

Helen takes us through the similarities and differences of the oral historian approach to what we’re doing with Life Stories, which as she mentions is one in the same anyway. Family Life Stories are part of oral history, it’s just the motivation for recording the stories that may make it different. Oral history in our context is primarily family history but it could also be community, company, local, regional, national or even global history.

Helen has recently be awarded a Queensland Smithsonian Fellowship, to evaluate in the US for four months, the public programmes that incorporate oral history and ways to make sure that communities get the most out of the monies that they have available.

As Helen mentioned some of the points to remember are:

  • Have general knowledge about the topics to discuss
  • Know your agenda for recording this Life Story
  • Reference to the needs of the listener
  • Respect the needs of the interviewees
  • Archive an unedited raw version of the recordings
  • Mash-up the digital information to suit your needs
What I noticed the most from talking with Helen is the similarities rather than the differences of what we’re doing and that of the world of professional Oral History. At the end of the day it’s all storytelling about a persons experiences and life. The only difference is what will happen to the information that is gathered but the process in collecting it is fundamentally the same.

What do  you think of  the professional approach to Oral History?

Record or Write, Your or My Life Story Biography

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Music is from

Tony Guerrero

“Dizzy Does It”
from “Blue Room”
(Charleston Square Recordings)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

Jeremy Cohen
“Sweet Georgia Brown” (mp3)
from “Jeremy Cohen: Violin Jazz”
(Violinjazz Recordings)

Buy at Napster
Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

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