Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA.info) is a curated, collaborative resource for teaching and learning through interview methods and digital storytelling/digital scholarship. The site includes best practice methods from the oral history community, translated for the special considerations of community-based learning like FERPA and student privacy that are important for consideration at the higher ed level. Digital tool tutorials and pedagogical reflections written by faculty and undergraduate researchers who undertook intensive fieldwork in the humanities and humanistic social sciences populate the site, and you can dig deep into the interview projects in the consortial repository. Most of the projects are transcribed and indexed in OHMS, an advanced digital archiving tool that allows researchers to timestamp meaningful content and render interviews easily searchable as digital projects on the web.
Originally funded as a faculty development initiative that ran as a program of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, it was awarded planning support throughout 2014-2015, leading to a three-year $394,710 Mellon Foundation award through the Expanding Collaboration Initiative which was then extended into a five year program. The overarching goal was to catalyze a community of practice across small liberal arts colleges, where faculty use interview as a method for critical community engagement. The initiative led workshops on the best practices of digital-era oral history, and awarded microgrants to faculty and undergraduate researchers interested in piloting nimble projects and building publically-accessible digital archives.
As of the 2019-2020 academic year, OHLA supported a total of 62 faculty development and undergraduate research projects in the 13 colleges of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, and ran a pilot program to expand the OHLA method into collaborations across the Global Liberal Arts Alliance. As OHLA’s founding co-director, I’ve given talks, led workshops, and organized institutes in 15 colleges across the Midwest and in American universities in Morocco, Greece, and Bulgaria.
OHLA’s active microgrants and residential institutes are currently on hold due to the pandemic, including a cancelled 2020 institute in Ecuador. There is some hope that these international collaborations may recommence in 2021 through the Global Crossroads program of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance. In the meantime, virtual trainings are available from Antioch College during November and December of 2020, and folks can audit one or more classes in a stack. For schedules and registration info please contact bbryan <@> antiochcollege.edu
For more information, visit OHLA.info.