The Oral History Summer School Oral History Archive of the Hudson Area aims to preserve the widest possible range of experiences in the Hudson area, to document the communities’ complex history in the words and voices of its participants. The archive is comprised of oral histories conducted by Oral History Summer School students in conversation with residents from Hudson and the surrounding communities, with an emphasis on “everyday life” experiences, past and present. So far, the collection gives voice to subjects including: architecture, industrial history, farming, gentrification, racial tension, civic spaces and institutions (the prison, library, and schools), churches, social clubs, and small businesses. With this archive, we hope to promote and encourage dialogue, in the collaborative process of interviewing and in the process of sharing the interviews with listeners. We view the interviews as opportunities for residents to reflect on their lives and experiences. We are working on processing 180-plus interviews, currently, to open the archive publicly in 2016.
About Oral History: Oral History is an interview practice that differs from traditional journalistic interviews in several ways. Oral history interviews are comprised of open-ended questions and allow the interviewee to guide the interview’s trajectory. You may hear lots of silence between questions and answers, which is also an important characteristic of oral history practice. The field views interviews as collaborations and the shared property of both interviewer and interviewee. All interviewees receive copies of their interviews. While oral history can be used to talk about the past, it also offers a meaningful framework to discuss the present and the future.
About Oral History Summer School: Oral History Summer School is an annual set of workshops that includes local residents as well as visiting students from other states and countries. Oral History Summer School was established in Hudson, New York in 2012 to train writers, social workers, radio producers, artists, teachers, human rights workers, and others to make use of Oral History in their documentary and artistic practices. These interviews that comprise the archive serve as opportunities to both train students and to give back to the community. Interviews are conducted in accordance with the Oral History Association’s best practices and standards.
Fundraising will begin in March 2016 to meet our summer 2016 goal of opening the archive to the public.