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WORKSHOP: Oral History Intensive (Speaking of Art) at University of Chicago

Oral History Intensive Workshop with Suzanne Snider
Location: University of Chicago, Art History Department
Instructor: Suzanne Snider
This workshop is closed to registration

The interview is an increasingly common mode of art historical research. Conversations with artists, studio assistants, curators, conservators, and technical or materials experts are a crucial complement to textual and object-based research, particularly when investigating recent histories and marginalized practices. Whether we publish these interviews as standalone texts or as evidence in our dissertations, books, and articles, we are contributing to a new historical record. The prevalence of this practice stands in stark contrast to the absence of practical training and best practices for conducting oral history interviews, as well as a lack of conceptual inquiry into the interview as a form.

As part of the Art History department’s student-run series Speaking of Art: Artist Interviews in Scholarship and Practice, Suzanne Snider, founder/director of Oral History Summer School, will be leading an Oral History Intensive Workshop in April 2019. Snider teaches Oral History at the New School, has worked as an interviewer for Columbia University’s Center for Oral History, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Prison Public Memory Project, among others. She has worked with the Judd Foundation on their oral history archives and trained curators at MoMA as part of their international program on Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives, preparing curators to interview other curators and artists around the world.

Snider’s workshop will integrate practice and theory, including sessions on: interview technique, embodied practice, active listening, recording and transcription, ethics, individual and collective memory, and oral history and writing/scholarship. Please note that the topics of these sessions are subject to change. This intensive workshop will follow a technical training session at the Logan Media Center (date TBD) where students will gain proficiency with audiovisual recording equipment. The workshop is open to graduate students already engaged in interview projects and those who have no prior experience. By the end of the two-day intensive, students will be better equipped to conduct interviews as part of their fieldwork, whether that entails conversations with working artists in China or with contemporary practitioners of medieval stone-carving methods.