Interviewing Survivors of Complex Trauma

Participants will explore the complex nature of trauma and how it affects the shape and experience of survivors’ narratives. How might such narratives serve as testimony, documentation, persuasive media, intervention, or as an opportunity for the narrator to integrate an experience of trauma into his/her larger life history?

Eugenie Mukeshimana, founder of the Genocide Survivors Support Network, will use role-playing exercises to help interviewers understand the survivors’ perspective during interview sessions. Workshop participants will learn specific techniques to help the narrator tell his/her story throughout the interview. We will also develop tools to establish rapport, to emotionally support the narrator when needed, to control our own emotions during the interview session when faced with stories of cumulative and collective trauma, and to help the narrator deal with the post-interview emotions.

Although the course deals with a challenging topic, participants can expect to have fun throughout the day, with interactive role-playing games and group work. There will be time for reflection on the day’s exercises and conversations, as well as related readings.

The day-long workshop will conclude with an evening public talk by Eugenie, when she will discuss stories that go unreported by journalists but hold significance to survivors, as well as how survivors talk about genocide among themselves.