Teach Us, a Listening Party and Community Conversation about Education, Community, Care, and Covid with the Education Narratives Project
Join Oral History Summer School and the Hudson Area Library on Thursday, April 8, 7-8:30pm for a virtual interactive listening party with conversation celebrating educators as they respond to their extraordinary experiences of teaching in the age of Covid-19. Visit hudsonarealibrary.org, for Zoom registration link or contact Brenda Shufelt at 518-828-1792 x106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The evening begins with audio excerpts from the Education Narratives Project, an oral history project initiated by Oral History Summer School in June 2020. Over the last nine months, educators have been interviewed by ENP interviewers every two-three months, covering subjects including but not limited to: remote learning, illness, progressive education, trauma, disability rights, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, and the future of education.
The evening honors these educators and brings to the forefront crucial issues in education today. How does this unique educational history shine a light on larger questions about the roles and rights of children and educators in our society, the difference between education and childcare and ameliorative uses of technology? What has been destroyed and what do we wish to create in its place?
This event was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services Accelerating Promising Practice for Small Libraries grant. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.
This event is free and open to all. This event will be of interest to those who enjoy oral history and want to think about ways to expand and democratize the historical record through the act of telling/archiving our own stories. This event welcomes, also, those who wish to think collaboratively about education and networks of care. Hudson is a city made up of multiple communities and we can think about what kind of future we wish to build to ensure access to education during collective crises and how we can support educators and students as they navigate a constantly changing terrain.
The Education Narratives Project (ENP) was founded in June 2020 by Oral History Summer School (OHSS) to support educators who were planning in the unknown of the pandemic in the summer of 2020 and to chronicle their experiences over the course of two years (2020-2022) in the form of a multivocal narrative for future historians. We approach this combined mission with a three-part strategy: oral history (longform interviews), media exchange (listening parties and interview exchange among participating educators) and an “Educators’ Storyline” or call-in voicemail system where educators can call a phone number to leave a story or listen to a story in five minutes or less.
We imagined that oral history interviews might act as an opportunity for overworked educators to not only act as authors of this history, but also as an invitation to pause and collaboratively make meaning of their experiences. Our listening parties for educators have covered a number of topics, including care in learning spaces, uncertainty, loss, isolation, and hope.
As of Spring 2021, our growing collection features over 40 interviews to date with more than 20 narrators, including classroom teachers, school leaders, architects, and community-based educators. These interviews fall into four broad phases: initial closure (March-June 2020), planning for the new school year (July-August 2020), the launch of the new school year (September-December 2020), and the initial availability of vaccines (March-May 2021). These longform interviews are archived for future use and shared through listening parties, which serve as both support and brainstorming sessions.
ENP is a project of Oral History Summer School, a hands-on training program that straddles the spheres of advocacy, research and art-making. We focus on foundational oral history training along with advanced issues, making use of oral history best practices and also theoretical and practice models from adjacent fields. OHSS has collected more than 500 life histories with area residents (Hudson).
Oral History Summer School was established in Hudson, New York, in 2012, as an immersive training program to help students from varied fields––writers, social workers, radio producers, artists, teachers, human rights workers––make use of oral history as an ethical interview practice in their lives and work. Spanning the realms of scholarship, advocacy, media-making, and art, OHSS is a hands-on program, which means that students conduct interviews, design projects, produce radio documentary, and archive their recordings while learning the theoretical underpinnings of the field. We also offer advanced training in the form of focused workshops including those on memory loss, mixed ability interviewing, oral history-based documentary film, ethnomusicology, family history, and trauma.
The Hudson Area Library History Room houses a special collection, including two oral history collections, that pertains to the history of the City of Hudson, Greenport and Stockport; as well as Columbia County and New York State. The History Room also hosts the Local History Speaker Series at the library, offering free monthly talks on diverse topics related to the history of the Hudson area and Columbia County.
The History Room is by appointment only at this time but online research requests for information on local history are available at https://hudsonarealibrary.org/history-room/. This is a free service to the public. To inquire about an appointment email email@example.com or call 518-828-1792 x106.
The Hudson Area Library is located at 51 North Fifth Street in Hudson, NY. The mission of the library is to enrich the quality of life by providing free and equal access to programs, services and resources, and by creating opportunities for all members of our community to connect, create, learn and grow.
PHOTO CAPTION: Audiogram from Oral History Summer School’s Education Narratives Project, with narrator Lisa Arrastia.