Alumni: We Are Everywhere!
Alanna Medlock (OHWS Radio 2015): I’ve worked as an actor, singer and collaborator for over 20 years on ensemble-generated, script-based and “devised” theater projects, and am interested in telling stories about the lives of artists and creative process. I’ve also done some voiceover work for theater, ad spots and radio plays. I’m pretty new to radio production, but I got my feet wet with Radio Boot Camp at Union Docs, and found that I was excited by the editing process in particular. I’m usually making a living doing some combination of copy editing, writing, bookkeeping and web communications for small businesses, and I have a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Acting from Columbia University. As I learn more about oral history and storytelling, I’d like to explore playful ways of combining documentation and art-making. In my free time I enjoy hiking, exploring offbeat art spaces and finding opportunities to sing harmonies, preferably around a fire with bourbon. I currently divide my time between Saugerties, NY and NYC.
Alexandra Kendall (OHSS Intensive 2012) works in the field of international development and human rights. Most recently, she has worked as a policy analyst for Congress, providing analysis on issues related to international development, global health, gender-based violence, and post-conflict and post-disaster reconstruction efforts. She has also worked on programs related to women’s health, HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, human trafficking, and youth education in Haiti, Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa, and Cambodia. She has a Masters in International Relations from Yale University. She is interested in approaching international development from a human rights-based perspective, and hopes to explore oral history as a tool for supporting the meaningful inclusion of local voices in the international development process.
Aliza Becker (OHSS Intensive 2014, Project Lab 2014) is currently working on an oral history on the 50 year history of activism among U.S. Jews for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Previously she was the director of Special Projects for J Street, and the executive director of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace. Prior to her peace activism, she worked for twenty years as an educator and immigrant rights activist. She was particularly renowned for her textbooks and guidebooks on citizenship, one of which is in its fifth edition.
Allyson Strafella (OHSS Intensive 2015) has been making drawings with a typewriter for nearly 23 years. She has been an avid listener of stories, especially after working with adults with chronic schizophrenia. She has also worked at a farm in Columbia County, and appreciates the many ways that being an artist has put her in contact with a wide variety of people.
Amy Anselmo (Radio 2014): I have been using a short form of oral history and interview for a project I work with called Threshold Collaborative. I have also taught a few workshops in storygathering and editing. I am very interested in combining story/sound with art and photography. Public art installations and other creative ways of getting stories out in public are very intriguing to me. I have conducted a lot of interviews with Threshold Collaborative. My first project, entitled “Conversations with Farm Women” focused on gathering stories with women farmers. That project led to a job gathering stories around food access/food justice with Wholesome Wave and most recently I was involved a great project with high school students called “a picture is worth…” I also helped design a storygathering toolkit for Threshold Collaborative, which is a sort of guide to oral history technique, equipment ethics and resources.
Amy Taylor (OHWS Family 2015): I am a licensed psychologist working with individuals, couples, and families in Western Massachusetts and a graduate of Duquesne University’s clinical psychology program and Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research in Pittsburgh. In my work as a psychotherapist, I am immersed in cultural, communal, familial, and individual developmental narratives. I study how context informs identity, and my research involves investigating how people develop narratives (and invoke technologies and use relationships) in ongoing efforts to (re)embody and adaptively live their bodies throughout life. I am interested in learning more about how one derives a sense of oneself from one’s family context, including the very earliest sense of oneself via bodily contact and holding/ handling from caretaking others, which I hope will help me develop my thinking about how bodily encounters and experiences continue to be a primary source of identity throughout life. I joined OHWS both to engage in learning which will deepen my work as a collaborator with other embodied subjects engaged in narrating their ways into their lives, and as an autoethnographic encounter, to continue my own project of self-narration and bringing my context into consciousness.
A native of New York City, Guy Greenberg (Mixed/Memory 2015) graduated the New School for Public Engagement this spring. As a BA student, he’s spent time studying anthropology, clinical psychology, and methods for documentation. He’s been a principle in building www.UnitedStatesofAIDS.com, a student-led digital humanities project invested in making the oral history narratives of AIDS activists accessible and heard using existing archives. Previous to returning to school, Guy served for five years as a librarian assistant, curating and cataloging the 40,000+ video collection for Port Washington Public Library. His ongoing ritual of photographing New York and the personal project of recording his family’s oral histories keep the idea of quitting his day job and surrounding himself with oral history alive in his mind.
Angela DiBattiste (Archive 2013) Unfortunately since graduating college I have been less involved in Oral History endeavors. While I was fortunate enough to find a full-time position as a Assistant Pre-K Teacher, I hadn’t, and still don’t really imagine continuing my education in traditional (primary) education. It is important to note, however, that my life hasn’t been completely void of Oral History. Over the past couple months I have been able to transcribe a few interviews as a volunteer for a recent exhibition at the Philadelphia Folklore Project, titled “Honoring Ancestors of Rhythm, Movement and Place,” as well as run a semi-successful weekly workshop about Oral History for displaced youth in Philadelphia at the Youth Health Empowerment Project. More recently I have tried to get involved with pubic radio at WHYY and explore radio as a channel for Oral History.
Angelica Clarke (C&C 2015) recently became the Executive Director of the Albany Social Justice Center, which is an activist resource center, info-shop and office with a variety of member organizations. Her organizing focus is on ending state violence through community empowerment, specifically police brutality, prisons and poverty.
Anita Hecht (Radio 2014): I’ve been a life long student, mostly in the humanities and languages, earning degrees in History (1987, UW-Madison) and Clinical Social Work (1993). Among other things, I’ve worked an as ESL teacher abroad, a licensed psychotherapist in Wisconsin, and a yoga teacher long before the days it was hip. I cut my oral history teeth in 1995, interviewing Holocaust survivors on videotape (old fashioned Betacam SP) with Steven Spielberg’s Visual History Foundation of the Shoah. This experience led me back to Mexico City to my own roots as a granddaughter of Holocaust refugees. Serendipitously, it also led me to my future career. I got my first personal history contract in 1996 writing the memoir of a famous Mexican philanthropist. In 1997, I formally began Life History Services, an oral and personal history production company. My work includes both writing memoirs, and producing audio, video, and multimedia archives for individuals and families. Another large part of my work is producing larger oral history archives for state institutions, historical societies, communities, and organizations (businesses, congregations, synagogues.) Currently, I am working for the University of Wisconsin on a political oral history archive of Wisconsin Congressman David R. Obey. I’m also producing an oral history archive for New York State Archives on the last fifty years of Federal Education Policy.
Anna Levy (C&C 2015): For seven years, I have been involved in historical memory, inter-generational dialogue, and oral history and human rights initiatives. I've mostly worked on questions of inherited historical memory (memories people have about experiences they did not live through) after collective trauma, transition, or exile -- and how different symbols, traditions (including music) speak to those memories in ways that is invisible or unclear to others. This work has manifest in US foreign policy legacies, in Palestine-Israel, in Central America and first nations in the United States. I completed a Master's degree in public policy and international development, only to complete fieldwork courses in Oral History at Columbia University's Oral History Master's program. My full-time work has been focused on various facets of policy related to poverty, innovation, surveillance, political rights, and urban planning. I have designed and facilitated more than ten experiential education exchanges in the US and overseas. My work and living experience extends from Jordan to Nicaragua to Kenya to the Philippines. I am most interested in political and economic transitions, the role of stories across generations, and how these different stories or perspectives of a single event shape policy of all kinds for many years to come. In the US, the conversation about race and legacies of slavery is the most obvious example.
Anna Samuels (OHSS Intensive 2014) is a freelance writer and audio editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. After receiving her BA in English Literature from the University of Puget Sound, she worked with the Washington State Legacy Project, during which time she conducted two extensive oral history interviews with local centenarians. Anna currently volunteers with the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative, recording stories, editing audio, and drafting short form biographies. This January, she participated in the Transom Online Workshop, a seven-week multi-media storytelling course, and produced a number of short pieces. When she’s not trolling for stories, befriending neighborhood cats, or whittling down her “to-read” list, Anna works in the telephone reference department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She is particularly interested in the power of community conversation, the ways in which narratives shape shared experiences, and public drinking spaces as storytelling incubators.
Anne Ribbert (OHSS Intensive 2014): I am passionate about life stories and journalistic projects concerned with storytelling. I have carried out a project on life stories of people living in the border region between the Netherlands and Germany, which I hope to publish this year. I am interested in questions to do with (cultural) identity and I enjoy giving people a voice who are not used to being in the spotlight. During the summer school, I would like to further develop my interview skills and meet inspiring people who share my passion for oral history as well hear stories from the local community.
Antoine Guerlain (Mixed/Memory 2015) works in the bakery at Camphill Village Copake, making bread with a group of special needs adults. He's lived in southern Columbia County for 8 years and currently resides with his partner on her farm in the town of Livingston.
Ariel Hahn (Doc Film 2013) I’ve been working in radio and telling stories (or trying to) on film since 2005. At the moment, I’m working on a project at National Public Radio — using archival audio to tell the story of the organization and their approach to the news. I’m also aiding a Brooklyn based filmmaker with some archiving projects while trying to edit my own films and think about new ways to experiment with narrative storytelling. I’m very interested in bringing the gap between my on-air radio experience (mostly music based throughout college), my behind the scenes audio editing, and my love for telling stories (on film and through sound). I haven’t had many opportunities to explore audio storytelling, especially in longer formats, and it is something I’d like to learn how to do. I also consider myself a one-day-academic who would like to pull from oral storytelling to expand on narratives about traumatic events in history. Specific areas that interest me range from family stories (mainly my own about Arizona before it became a state) to narratives about hoarding and obsession to coming out and issues about sexuality to power and control to historical topics related to violence and the Gothic.
Arya Samuelson (OHSS Intensive 2014) is a recent graduate of Reed College, where she studied cultural anthropology with an emphasis on gender studies and development. She currently lives in New York City and works at Neighbors Together, a community-based organization in Brownsville, Brooklyn, helping chronically homeless folks with mental illnesses secure housing in New York City. Her passions are broad and encompass sexual and interpersonal violence advocacy, international human rights, nonviolence, creative writing & literature and the question of how to strengthen activism through arts-based initiatives. She eventually hopes to work internationally with human rights initiatives through a grassroots, community-informed approach.
Avery Lamb (OHSS Intensive 2015, C&C 2015) is a recent graduate of Bard College, where she studied Human Rights and Written Arts, specifically research on medical relief and public health as well as journalism. Her interests include the intersection of health and human rights, radio, writing, and other forms of documentation, migration studies, and art as activism. Her undergraduate thesis was a reflection on three trips to Haiti, and illustrated some of the obstacles in monitoring the adherence of non-governmental organizations to rights based principles. Avery is a co-founder of The Draft, an interdisciplinary student journal out of Bard College, and has worked as a research assistant at the Human Rights Project at Bard College and at Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees in Brooklyn, NY.
Barkey Powell (OHSS Intensive 2014): I am currently working as a merchandiser/sales associate at Caren Forbes & Co in New Canaan, Ct, as well as a freelance photographer for Hearst Media Group. While raising my four sons I was a freelance writer/photographer for New Canaan Patch, a project manager for the publishing of ‘Living With What You Love’ by Monica Kosann, as well as a longtime volunteer with Voices of September 11th and many school related organizations. Continuing education included photography classes at Silvermine Art School and recently an oral history seminar at Columbia University. Free time is spent reading, writing, running, golfing and skiing with day trips to NYC for style and design inspiration, as well as gallery hopping.
Beth Beckman (OHSS Intensive 2015): I am a strategist, illustrator, and UX researcher. My specialty is emotional journey mapping. I’m interested in amateur genealogy, how collective identities form, and dissecting celebrity gossip. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
Ben Lander (OHSS Intensive 2012, Archive 2013): I teach history and social science research methodology courses at a college in Montreal. I took part in last years OHSS along with a colleague and fellow archive workshop participant, Mark Beauchamp, with the intention of bringing what we had learnt back to the classroom. Over the year Mark and I have developed and delivered a course on oral history to about 150 students and have collected c300 oral histories. The course went well, but now we have pretty much no idea what to do with the recordings that are currently stored on two hard drives wrapped in a cloth in our office drawer. We are pretty certain that this isn’t anyone’s idea of a best practice and are attending this workshop to find out how to move forward with our project.
Britta Nelson (OHSS Intensive 2015) is a native of Northern Germany. Over the last 20 years, she has lived in Berkeley, CA, and Brooklyn, NY, and lives now with her family near Boston, MA. Britta used to work as Human Resources specialist, mainly involved in training and teaching, and has earned a degree in Art History and Psychology while in Berkeley and New York. While raising her children she has been involved in editing, as well as working for a start up company offering services to the German speaking expatriate community of greater New York. Currently, Britta is involved with a number of non profit organizations, organizing fundraisers in New York that aim to help children, helping to build schools in Central America, organizing a stove project for Guatemala, helping at a local hospice as well as a being involved with a local project that supports women in need. Britta has been a passionate listener to the StoryCorps installments on NPR for many years. She is fascinated by giving people the opportunity to preserve their life stories. Britta is currently in the planning process of building an organization that will create the opportunity for people nearing the end of their lives to tell their story, using the recorded material to create a videography for family and friends so that life lessons and experiences can be passed on.
Cara Turett (OHSS Intensive 2013) is a graphic designer, artist, teacher and aspiring carpenter living in Hudson, NY. Her design work focuses on supporting community based businesses and non-profit organizations, often combining handcrafted imagery with digital tools. Her art focuses on collections and the ways that objects tells stories and hold memories. Cara has always been an enthusiastic listener and observer. She has taught children’s art and environmental education classes in Hudson, New York City and Ohio and is currently teaching young women at a local detention facility. She is also learning carpentry and boatbuilding. She holds a BA from Oberlin College in Art and Environmental Studies.
Carol McKirdy (Radio 2013): As a professional oral historian I have worked on several large-scale oral history projects in Australia and also with individual interviewees. I have applied oral histories to educational curriculum, on websites, for the recording of community history and as supplementary history. I have presented papers at several international conferences. My website summaries my experiences as an oral historian:www.historyherstory.com.au My greatest passion in oral history is the preservation of the history of ordinary people. As well I am a qualified adult educator working in the tertiary sector with educationally disadvantaged adults.
Christina Bohnsack (OHSS Intensive 2014) is a licensed massage therapist and fifth generation resident of Columbia County. She received her BA in Comparative Religion and International Development from Hartwick College and her AAS in Massage Therapy from Columbia-Greene. The frequent position of professional listening, coupled with observing great changes to her home region over the last generation have created a deep interest in recording and preserving the stories of everyday local people.
Cornélia Strickler (Archive 2013) As the Video Archivist for the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, Cornelia Strickler ensures the preservation, the archiving and the documentation of the Centre’s Oral History collection. She also creates video clips for temporary exhibits, pedagogical and promotional materials. Ms. Strickler has a Master’s Degree in Promotion of Cultural Heritage.
Cory Fischer-Hoffman (OHSS Intensive 2014) is an activist-scholar and media maker. She is the founder of the Prison Voices Project, a radio-story telling program that addresses various aspects of the prison system by highlighting the voices of those most impacted. The Prison Voices Project airs on WGXC 90.7FM in Greene and Columbia counties. Cory is also a doctoral student in Latin American, Caribbean and US Latino Studies at the University of Albany, SUNY. Her dissertation research focuses on media representations of the prison crisis in Venezuela and the relationship between contemporary prison uprisings and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Cory is also a trained facilitator, a yoga instructor and gardener.
Cynthia Stone (OHSS Intensive 2013), Associate Professor of Spanish at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester Massachusetts, has been Director of Latin American and Latino Studies for the past six years. Her limited experience with oral history fieldwork to date includes supervising students conducting honors theses and community-based learning projects, as well as research into early sixteenth-century Mexican manuscripts based on indigenous oral testimonies. Along with her colleague, Rosa Carrasquillo, she is hoping to jump-start an interdisciplinary project documenting the history of the Spanish-speaking population in Worcester, which has grown exponentially over the past few decades.
Danielle Riou (Radio 2013): I work at Bard, at the Human Rights Project. Briefly, I’ve worked on media projects involving genocide and crimes against humanity, and I’m currently developing a radio show called Human Rights Radio. Back in 2002, I managed what was then the first public, on-demand streaming video archive of a genocide trial (Slobodan Milosevic’s trial, to be exact), over the course of which I’ve put considerable time into thinking about and presenting work on issues of trauma, witnessing, memory, and the construction of conflict and post-conflict narratives. The human rights radio show I’m developing now, which will deal with a range of issues and topics in the human rights field, and so this seems like the perfect moment for me to learn more about and reflect on oral histories for radio, since I can imagine the potential for this to become a vital part of the radio work I’ll be doing.
Dao Tran (Radio 2013): Born in Vietnam, Dao is the youngest of eight children in a family of refugees who came to the United States in 1975. In her youth, Dao organized with Asian Americans United in Philadelphia to build campaigns for youth and community empowerment, against racial violence, and for tenants’ rights. Dao coedited 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History and is working on a domestic worker oral history project. She is a board member of Voices of a People’s History. She also has a kindergartner in a New York City public school and is involved with activist groups including Change the Stakes.
David Petrovsky (OHSS Intensive 2012): I’m a native New Yorker that has been involved in the Antiques business for the past thirty years. I began as a private dealer specializing in 19th century American furniture then opening a retail space in Hudson from 1995-2001 after closing the store I worked at Stair Galleries in Hudson for three years. I am now back to private dealing working with museums collectors along with some wholesale trade. I look forward to producing and directing an independent documentary film and am interested in the skills needed for the interview process.
Dawn DiPrince (Mixed/Memory 2015) is the director of a state-owned community history museum. They have been the director for just over a year, and is in the midst of a successful transformation into a museum that engages in participatory history and honors people's personal histories. They are working on several memory projects in different local neighborhoods that are in crisis and have long-time residents, and aim to interpret these histories within the museum gallery space and within the neighborhood. They are also establishing a prototype gallery where we experiment with different methods to get people to share their histories within the museum.
Debra Gitterman (OHWS Radio 2015) is a writer, artist, web developer and classics scholar who has been living in the Hudson Valley since 2008. She is compelled by the political, personal, and social power of storytelling and driven to learn its craft. She’s ready to shape and share some stories.
Desiree Evans (OHSS Intensive 2015) has a diverse background as a researcher, writer, journalist, and social justice activist. During the past fifteen years, she has had the opportunity to work with several international and domestic human rights organizations. As a journalist she has covered issues of race, poverty, and economic justice for such publications as Alternet, The Chicago Reporter, In These Times, The Indianapolis Star, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, and others. In 2014, she helped to launch the Social Movements Oral History Tour, which allowed her to travel the U.S. collecting oral histories and stories from progressive social movement activists and organizers. A Louisiana native, Desiree currently lives in New Orleans, where she is the the Policy and Communications Director for Women With a Vision, Inc. She has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University and a M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University.
Diana Lempel (OHSS Intensive 2013, Radio 2013, Project Lab 2014) loves stories. Everyday stories, old, old stories, and big stories that everyone knows. She especially loves stories about landscapes, or places that shape and are shaped by people. A PhD student at Harvard, Diana believes in stories as a way to help people live more meaningful, rooted lives. She also believes in the places where stories are told: museums and libraries, and the dinner table, and campfires. You can read and listen to some of her work at cultivatingplaces.com.
Din Clarke (Radio 2014) is a filmmaker, multimedia journalist, videographer, editor and seamstress. She received a B.A. in Media Studies from The New School and an M.A. from New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism. Her videos have appeared in The Guardian and the New York Times and her audio pieces have aired on WBEZ in Chicago and WBAI in New York. The first short documentary film she produced and edited, The Invisibles, was selected for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival Court Métrage and she’s currently expanding it into a full-length documentary. She lives in Brooklyn with her huge grey tabby, Siddhartha - a great companion but the worst administrative assistant ever.
Dr Mark McKirdy (Radio 2013): I have a doctorate in Creative Arts from Wollongong University and I currently work as a Children’s Librarian. I have published several books, magazine stories, poetry and travel articles – many based on places in the USA. My experience in oral history is through assisting my wife, Carol, who has also applied for this Summer School. We have established an oral history business called History Herstory - RECALL RECORD RETAIN. The web address is: www.historyherstory.com.au My major involvement with oral history recordings is turning them into digital stories and books which enscapulte the recording accompanied by images.
Eli Plenk (OHSS Intensive 2015) is a teacher, writer, and organizer based in Brooklyn. He teaches English in the New York state prison system and is the founding editor of a transnational human rights journal that will begin publication this fall. When not writing or teaching he organizes with a variety of groups, including the New York Reentry Education Network and Boston Mobilization.
Eliza Newland (OHSS Intensive 2014)-I am a recent graduate of the Public History MA program at West Virginia University and am currently serving as a PreserveWV AmeriCorps at the Old Hemlock Foundation in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. The Old Hemlock Foundation just started an oral history project. Through the interdisciplinary nature of OHSS, I would like to build on my preexisting oral history knowledge and skills to better serve my AmeriCorps site. I also have hopes of starting an oral history project of my own once my service is completed in September.
Ellen Papazian (Trauma 2013, Doc Film 2013): I’m a writer, editor and creative writing teacher. My nonfiction and fiction appear in a few anthologies, and my essays, interviews and book reviews appear in Bitch magazine. I lead creative writing workshops in studio settings and school-based residencies in northern New Jersey.
Emily Gallagher (OHSS Intensive 2013): I currently work at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, both as an Educator and recently as the Community Outreach Coordinator, as which I’m working to find oral history candidates for a future exhibit about Chinese and Latino immigration. I am very interested in social history. I find human geography fascinating, especially how in New York City, there is a tension between government, development and city planning and the communities that live here and want to sustain their neighborhoods. For fun, I have worked to create public pop-up museums in different New York City neighborhoods to tell forgotten histories— including the shipbuilders in Greenpoint, Brooklyn during the Civil War, the free black and immigrant community of Seneca Village in what is now Central Park, and an East Village tour that had to do with community perception, personal memory, and collective memory. I have also worked as an educator at a variety of other historic sites, like the Wyckoff Farmhouse, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and the new Navy Yard Museum. Currently I also work at the NY Historical Society. I love story telling and inspiring visitors to feel a connection with people from the past, and to better understand their position in the present through the context history can provide. In my free time I am the co-chair of a community activist group, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, in my Brooklyn neighborhood. We attempt to empower and educate neighborhood residents around issues of government, social and environmental justice. I spend my leisure time watching movies, especially documentaries, reading poetry, and writing.
Emily Marielle Mitamura (OHSS Intensive 2014) is a rising junior at Vassar College, majoring in political science with correlate sequences in Jewish studies and English, specifically poetry. She’s currently employed as a consultant at the Vassar College Writing Center and has plans to study abroad at Charles University in Prague next year. Her experiences observing the workings of disparate fields as a research assistant at the New York Botanical Garden Pfizer Research Laboratory, a volunteer at the Jaguar Research Conservation Fund, and an editorial intern at Fitness Magazine have imbued her with a penchant for chance encounters and storytelling.
Emma de Campo (OHSS Intensive 2013) is an Independent Radio Producer from Melbourne, Australia. She produces podcasts for businesses and not-for-profits, hosts two programs on Community Radio Station 3CR, and provides sound editing training to radio producers.Emma trained in radio at the radio documentary school Transom, since her work has been featured on Radio National, Triple R, ABC Pool and US Radio Stations WCAI & WAMC.
Erin Healy (OHWS Family 2015): I am currently the Director of Knowledge Sharing (fancy term for consulting) at Community Solutions, a national non-profit based in NYC. In 2014, our team began designing and facilitating an approach to systems improvement, performance management, multi-sector collaboration, and neighborhood transformation, called Agile Problem Solving. We are currently working in 15 neighborhoods in NYC as well as several in upstate NY. I'd love to incorporate oral history into this work. Prior to this, I was an Improvement Advisor with Community Solutions’ 100,000 Homes Campaign, a successful national campaign to house 100,000 of the nation’s most vulnerable homeless individuals within four years. My background is in law and I’ve done a variety of policy and legislative work in the non-profit and governmental sectors. My best job ever (before my current one) was managing an independent bookstore. I am from Saratoga Springs, New York. My interest in oral history is also driven by my desire to discover and document my upstate Irish roots. I have a BA from Mount Holyoke College and a JD from the University of Washington School of Law.
Giulia Sbaffi (OHSS Intensive 2014): I’m a student, a traveller and an Italian ginger head. I was born in Rome twenty four years ago and since then I’ve maturated an abiding affection for history and its approaches. Last December I took my bachelor’s degree in History with a thesis based on oral history. I’m also a contributor to a news blog.
Greg Rosenburg (Radio 2014): I have worked in and around the field of affordable housing for nearly three decades, with a particular focus on sustainable development, universal design, and community land trusts. These days, I work with an architecture firm in Boston (telecommuting from my spare bedroom in Madison, WI) focusing on energy efficiency programs. Over the years, I’ve also done community organizing, legal representation of prisoners with mental illness, protection of land for urban farming, and run a Braille translation software company. Over the past three years, I’ve been dipping my toes into oral history work, doing background research, editing, and website development for Life History Services. Over the past year, I’ve been developing a website on the history of the community land trust movement with John Emmeus Davis, which just launched this past April (www.cltroots.org). As part of our Roots of the CLT project, we are planning on conducting interviews with key figures in the CLT movement, which we would like to turn into shorter pieces that we can post on our website, for podcasting, and possibly for broadcast on Vermont Public Radio.
Hannah Shepard (OHSS Intensive 2015) holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College where she concentrated in creative writing. Hannah has worked as a script reader for the Public Theater in New York and the Druid Theatre in Galway, and holds Masters degrees in History and Irish Studies from the National University of Ireland and Fordham University in the Bronx. In recent years she has worked as an independent researcher for filmmakers and oral historians on a wide range of projects including The Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Oral History Project, housed at the University of Kentucky.
Heather-Lyn Haley (Trauma 2013) I’m a sociologist working with refugee populations in Worcester, MA where I’m an assistant professor of family medicine and community health at UMass Med School and the president of a local non-profit called the Worcester Women’s History Project (WWHP). I’m also working on research using story-telling as a way to combat health disparities at our Center for Health Equity Intervention Research.
Helen Morgan (Radio 2014, OHSS Intensive 2015, Mixed/Memory 2015) is a writer, editor and translator, who also collects stories and loves radio. She has worked for various independent newspapers, art magazines, and human rights organisations, and is currently a Masters student in Migraciones Contemporáneas in Barcelona, Spain. She is also participating in an artist residency at Fabra i Coats, developing a project that engages the local community in a broader dialogue on migration through storytelling, mapping and audio. Through work with a refugee support center, a Muslim women's association, and anti-discrimination organisation, she is also part of an on-going oral history project that explores everyday discrimination.
Hicran Kratas (OHSS Intensive 2015) is a research assistant in the progress of attaining her PhD, focusing on Folk law, Gender and Oral history. Oral history is an area which she is focusing on deeply; she has several articles on the WOS database. She is interested in compiling the texts collected during her PhD fieldwork into a composition.
Hiram Perez (OHSS Intensive 2012, Archive 2013) is an Assistant Professor of English at Vassar College, affiliated also with the programs in Africana, Latin American and Latino/a, and Women’s Studies. He teaches courses on immigrant writing, Latino/a literature, methodologies for literary criticism, as well as interdisciplinary seminars on Queer Theory, Queer of Color Critique, Gay Harlem, and Racial Melodrama. In his spare time, he volunteers at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, helping to coordinate a Black Gay and Lesbian Archive. He also volunteers with the Vassar Prison Program and plans to offer, within the next two years, a section of Latina/o Literature class at Green Haven Correctional Facility. Currently, he is in the process of creating a Women’s Studies course on “Queering the Archive.” He is interested in stories of queer women at Vassar (and other women’s colleges) before Stonewall, especially those who were expelled. His hope is to find training in oral history and eventually be able to train students to help record these stories.
I, Russell Garofalo (no relation to either) (Radio 2014), was a performer, writer, and video editor when I took a day job helping a tax preparer. Realizing my friends and I were doing our taxes poorly, I started Brass Taxes as a place for freelancers, artists, and other nice people to get tax help even if they weren’t rich, lazy, or scared of numbers. The reason I like my job is for the honesty I get from people, and the intersection of verifiable numbers and human emotion. I think if we talked more openly about what money means to us we’ll spend it in ways that make us happier. When I talk to people about money I hear so much about them; I hear what they’re scared of, who they wish they were and who they are. I’d like to share conversations about money that sound the way I hear them. I’d like to make a series of radio stories about the different situations I see and about how similar we all are in our anxiety about having numbers associated with our lives.
Irini Neofotistos (Project Lab 2014) is a former member of the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!) at Hunter College, CUNY. She is currently working with the SLAM! Herstory Project to document and share strategies and lessons learned with current student activists. Most recently, Irini helped build grant and capacity building programs for grassroots activists, cultural arts and social justice networks as the director of the Union Square Awards in New York City. She lives in Astoria, Queens where she grew up.
Janice Brockley (Mixed/Memory 2015) is an associate professor of history at Jackson State University in Mississippi. Her research focuses on the history of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Jared Miracle (OHSS Intensive 2014) is a PhD student specializing in folklore and folklife in the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University. His dissertation tells the story of how Americans came to adopt and adapt East Asian martial arts after World War II, and what meaning they hold for the current community of practitioners. Jared received a degree in Asian studies from Purdue University and his research interests include folk culture, narrative, physical culture, religion and the supernatural, myth, performance, transnationalism, and play.
Jasmine Stein (OHSS Intensive 2013, Radio 2013): I was born in 1989 and my family moved from the U.S. to Berlin, Germany, a few months before the wall fell. I lived there until age 19, when I moved to New York City to attend the Cooper Union School of Art, my alma mater.
Jeanne Hutchins (OHSS Intensive 2012, Trauma 2013, Doc Film 2013, Radio 2013): I have had the pleasure and privilege of working as a clinical social worker for the past twenty four years and therefore have been privy to the amazing story of others. I have wondered for a long time how to respectfully put these experiences and cultural histories into another framework to be shared. For the past four years, my primary focus has been in providing clinical services specific to trauma and torture recovery with Somali Bantu refugees, an amazing animistic-nomadic people who lived as farmers in the Jubba/ Shebelle River Valley prior to a prolonged draconian displacement as a result of civil war. Many hours have been spent in listening to the stories of phases such as these: life before, the complexities of prolonged loss during flight, refugee camps/multiple relocations, adjustment to an unknown culture, survival through spiritual practices, cultural beliefs, and a long tradition of storytelling. My home is in Maine where I have a private clinical practice.
Jen Griffith (OHWS Family 2015): During the farming season, I work at Queens County Farm Museum in Queens, NY, a community farm that grows vegetables, educates the public, and preserves a historic farm. I am in the agricultural department there and grow, harvest, and market the vegetables. I also take care of the livestock and do public education by managing our volunteers days and hosting Farmer Led Tours. During the winter season, for the past two farming seasons, I have been working with The Greenhorns to develop an oral history project interviewing the elders in the Grange Movement (a populist farmer movement/fraternal agrarian organization with an interesting political and social past). We have been touring California with this project for the month of December collecting oral histories along the way and doing events based highlighting the rich history and potential future of the Grange in the farming community. I tend to have an interest in crafts and historical knowledge that I think could enrich our lives today. I am interested in preserving technical skills, lore, and people's personal stories. I enjoy getting a glimpse into the past and truly understanding how our current access to technology and transportation has changed our environment. I am interested in understanding what elements of life are at the essence of what it means to be human.
Jennifer Garcon (Trauma 2013) is a doctoral student of Latin American history, with a particular interest in Haiti. She is interested in questions of translation, constituent/constituted power and forced migration. Her current research centers on experiences of Haitian exile and the attendant cultural production of historical memory during the Duvalier regime (1957-1986).
Jenny Goldberg (OHSS Intensive 2014, Family History 2015, Radio 2015, Collecting and Composing 2015, Mixed/Memory 2015) is currently working as an archivist for fine art photographer, Joel Meyerowitz. She also does freelance transcription work for oral historians, publications, and non-profit organizations. Previously, she worked as a book editor at Aperture Foundation, a non-profit photography organization. She has a BA in Documentary Studies from the College of Santa Fe.
Jenny Kane (OHSS Intensive 2012, Radio 2013, OHWS Family 2015, OHWS Radio 2015): I live in Brooklyn (after many years in the East Village) and work on movies/tv/commercials as an electrician. I’ve just completed my MA in Media Studies at the New School where I took audio/radio classes, a short course in Oral History as Documentary, and several seminars which used the city as a laboratory. I made a short video about Tug Boats which introduced me to the New York waterfront and I’ve recently been involved with waterfront organizations and maritime preservation projects. I studied history in college and later photography at the International center of Photography in NYC and I’ve been an addicted listener to WNYC since moving here in 1983. I’ve always been interested in hearing stories of places that no longer exist or have changed dramatically and the “small” stories about people’s lives and the city’s neighborhoods. I’m interested in using oral history for radio stories (Sound Portraits’ radio documentaries are some of my favorites) and multi-media projects.
Jeremy Thal (Radio 2014) is a French horn player, composer, educator, and co-founder of Found Sound Nation, a collective of musicians and artists who leverage the unique power of creative sound-making to help build strong, just, healthy communities. With Found Sound Nation he has co-led collaborative sound-making projects in NYC, Haiti, Zimbabwe, New Orleans, Mexico, Senegal, Indonesia, Italy, and Switzerland. Jeremy studied ethnomusicology and Chinese at Northwestern University, and continues to work as a performer. As a French horn player and multi-instrumentalist, Jeremy has recorded and toured with Neutral Milk Hotel and The National, and leads his own band, Briars of North America.
Jessica Lamb-Shapiro (OHSS Intensive 2012, Radio 2013): I first encountered oral history through OHSS 2012, and have been a little obsessed ever since. I’m a writer interested in a family history project, as well as hoping to incorporate some oral history into my professional work. My non-fiction book, Promise Land: A Journey Through America’s Euphoric, Soul-Sucking, Emancipating, Hornswoggling, and Irrepressible Self-Help Culture, will be published by Simon and Schuster in Jan 2014.
Jess Puglisi (OHWS Radio 2015) is Managing Editor of Fence / Fence Books, as well as Programs Coordinator at Wave Farm. Prior to her position as Programs Coordinator, he spent over two years as Outreach Coordinator of ave Farm program division WGXC 90.7-FM, a creative community radio station. Driven foremost by an impulse to observe and document, ess has followed a meandering trajectory underpinned by a passion for the study of character and place. As a result of her engagement with WGXC, he learned to employ audio recording as a means of portraying encounters and occurrences in and around New York's Greene and Columbia Counties. Past work includes a series of features documenting the town of Prattsville in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, produced for and aired on WGXC. She intends to continue to contribute her energies to the record of the lesser-seen.
Jodi Clough (Mixed/Memory 2015): I was born and raised in the rural communities in Upstate New York. I hold a BA in Human Relations. Most of my adult life, I lived and worked in New York City and Washington, DC as an Estate Manager. Recently, I came back to Columbia County to care for my grandmother. Upon her passing, I began working at Camphill Ghent when it opened in 2011. I started as a Home Health Aide but now work full time in the Activities Department. At Camphill, I discovered I love working with the elder population! Currently, I live in a 1820 renovated Greek revival with my adorable yellow lab, Wiggles in Valatie, NY. I enjoying reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my friends, family and of course, Wiggles!
Josephine Shokrian (OHSS Intensive 2012) makes film and designs sets for video and photography. Her work draws from a background in landscape filmmaking and field recording practices, exploring the intimacies of place through constructed interior and exterior environments. Her most recent work, a miniature Southern California suburban landscape that she designed and fabricated, has been published in V Magazine. She currently lives and works in New York City.
Judith Stone (OHSS Intensive 2013) is an editor and writer whose most recent nonfiction book, When She Was White, was named one of the Washington Post’s top 100 books of 2007. She was the features editor of the late, lamented Mirabella, and a contributing editor at O, The Oprah Magazine, Discover, Glamour, andHealth. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New York, Smithsonian, and many other publications. Judy was on the founding board of The Moth, the storytelling organization, and has served as curator, storyteller, host and outreach volunteer. She lives in Brooklyn.
Julia Hanlon (OHWS Radio 2015) is the podcast host of Running On Om, yoga teacher, long-distance runner, and student of life. Julia’s three main loves are storytelling, yoga, and running. The Running On Om Podcast interviews innovative minds from yoga, running, spiritual, and health backgrounds. In spring 2014, Julia graduated from Bates College, with a BA and a double major in ethnomusicology and religious studies. Julia’s ethnomusicology thesis was an oral history focused on kirtan (chanting) artist Jai Uttal. She spent the Fall 2014 in Ethiopia working with young Ethiopian female runners. Julia is excited to develop a podcast interview with renowned Ethiopian runner, Haile Gebrselassie.
Julie Golia (OHSS Intensive 2015): I am a historian of 20th century America, media, and gender. Currently, I'm the Director of Public History at Brooklyn Historical Society, where I have curated digital and physical exhibitions about Brooklyn's agricultural origins, Civil War correspondence and photography, and the history of Brooklyn's waterfront. I'm also the co-founder and editor of TeachArchives.org, a robust educational website that brings innovative teaching exercises and articles on pedagogy to a national audience.
Kaitlin Hammond (Mixed/Memory 2015): I am a social worker who advocates for residents of long term care facilities, such as Nursing Homes and Adult Homes. Prior to taking on this role a few years ago, I worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in New York City and Wisconsin. Listening to people's stories is one of my favorite parts of being a social worker. I enjoy hearing how people talk about themselves and their lives and how they link their stories to larger social constructs. When your purpose in a dialogue is to listen, reflect and ask questions, rather than share from your own experience, the potential for rich content and deep connection is so great. Though I have never participated in a formal oral history project, I feel that I engage with oral history on a daily basis.
Kara Westerman (OHWS Radio 2015) has been a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Kara received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University in 1985 in theater and photography, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in creative writing in 2007. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Ohio Review, the anthology, Submerged: Tales From the Basin, and The East Hampton Star. On the basis of her work, Kara also received the Edward Albee Foundation fiction residency fellowship, which she completed in 2009. In 2010, she developed workshops for teaching non-fiction narrative techniques to market research executives in Berlin, Germany. Kara teaches fiction, memoir and literature at the East Hampton and Amagansett libraries, and has developed a narrative workshop for those in addiction recovery which she teaches at The Dunes recovery center. She lives, works, and teaches in East Hampton, New York.
Karen Gardner (OHSS Assistant 2013) is a writer, radio producer, and resident of Hudson, NY. Her written work thus far explores new analyses of microeconomic development theory, including critiques within labor economics, urban economics, and community-based development. Her work has included an interview-based project in the Ilam region of eastern Nepal analyzing the power dynamics involved in a tea factory’s conversion to organic production. A subsequent project analyzes USAID’s agricultural technology interventions in Nepal. She has recently begun co-hosting a radio show on Hudson’s community radio station WGXC with fellow Oral History Summer School students Melinda Braathen and Sara Kendall. She is also a baker and runner. Karen received her Bachelor’s in Economics at Bard College.
Karen Shakerdge (OHSS Intensive 2013): My academic background is in anthropology and media studies, via The New School. Since finishing my studies in 2008 I’ve been working in TV and documentary production. For the past two years, I’ve been working at a small independent production company where I’ve focused on research, conducting preliminary interviews, fieldwork, editing media and story development for feature length documentaries. Most recently, I’ve been focusing my time on fundraising and development for a few projects that are not yet in production.
Kate Blofson (OHSS Intensive 2013) was a longtime organizer and volunteer with the Prometheus Radio Project, building and advocating for low power community radio stations. She is currently a graduate student in Natural Resources at The University of Vermont, with a focus on landscape analysis; her graduate thesis project incorporates oral histories as a way of expressing and understanding connection to place. She is captivated by bees, wooden boats, and participatory community media, among other interests.
Kate Ratcliff (OHSS Intensive 2015) is a Professor in American Studies at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont. She moved to Marlboro 26 years ago with her husband and two year old son, with one chapter left of her dissertation on historic suburbia and no experience teaching at a tiny college or living in the country. She finished the dissertation, had a second child, and fell in love with Marlboro College and the mountains of southern Vermont. One of the joys of teaching at Marlboro is the freedom to develop and pursue new academic interests. Her graduate training focused on turn-of-the-twentieth century social and cultural history and archival research methods, but she’s enjoyed teaching a diverse range of subjects, including consumer culture and mass media, contemporary feminism and environmental history.
Kate Skorpen-Claeson (OHSS Intensive 2012): For the last fifteen years I have worked with the United States Courts as a staff attorney working principally on cases filed by individuals who are not represented by an attorney. My subject-matter specialization is civil rights (constitutional and statutory) and habeas corpus. I am midway through a Masters of International Human Rights at Oxford University; I have a dissertation to complete and next summer will spend five weeks studying and exam-taking at Oxford. (This will be my second residential experience.) My dissertation will focus on the United States’ historical leadership in establishing the international rights instruments and its failure to realize these rights at home, a shortcoming often justified by the notion of American Exceptionalism. In particular I am focusing on labor rights standards and child labor. Needless to say, oral history will enrich my approach to my work in this area by providing narratives to underpin my legal analysis. I am also working with a local group in my community in Maine that is using oral histories/stage performances/workshops to explore issues of dignity in these times of economic hardship and social/political division.
Katherine Newhouse (Mixed/Memory 2015) is a third year doctoral student at Teachers College at Columbia in the Curriculum and Teaching department. As a former special education teacher, Katherine is interested in disability studies in education as an underlying theoretical framework for inclusive education. While still in the process of completing my course work, she plans to frame her dissertation work using disability studies in education.
Kathy Bailey (OHSS Intensive 2013): I have worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years in the areas of housing and adult literacy. I recently spent three years in national service with Literacy AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA, working with GED and ESL students. I am presently a GED instructor at the Dutchess BOCES Adult Literacy Institute, which means I am basically a teacher of a one-room schoolhouse: helping some students work on their multiplication tables, some write critical essays and others solve problems with the Pythagoreum Theorem . I am focusing on deconstructing and demystifying math topics and developing real-life curriculum for my classes. I lived in Hudson for 3 years and now reside in Poughkeepsie. I am interested in architecture, photography, writing and in the history of the Hudson Valley. I recently met my 2012 goal of crossing the Hudson River 100 times on the Walkway over the Hudson. I documented my trips with over 1000 photos and created a photo book of the experience.
Kieran Cannistra (OHSS Intensive 2014) is … where to begin? Kieran Cannistra works in communications at IBM Design. She is based out of Portland, OR, where she lives with her five children and husband. She has previously lived on the Oregon coast, in Western Maryland, in Atlanta, Georgia, all over the place in the Northeast (NY / NH / CT / MA) and for a few years in Tokyo, Japan. She landed in her communications role after a few years in learning design, and (before that) a few years in fundraising. She really, really hated fundraising. A lot. Kieran spends most of her time picking up Lego, scraping what looks like it might have been banana off the floor, and putting coins into the family swear jar. She wishes she spent more time reading and writing for pleasure. She wishes she spent less time looking for missing library books.
Kira Thompson (Archive 2013) I am a librarian in a public library in upstate New York, working at least in part in the Local History collection. We have begun some work on creating a digital library from our historic photo collection, and would like to add oral histories to the project to supplement and complement the images. Though we have made some preliminary recordings, there is a great deal more I would like to know about the process.
Kristina Whipple (OHSS Intensive 2015, C&C 2015) is living her life out of order. She became a mother at the age of 25; earned a BA degree in Applied Behavioral Science at 30; launched a career as a nonprofit program manager and community events organizer at 31; built a house through a low income housing program at the age of 34; co-produced and co-directed a short documentary film at the age of 36, in which she interviewed over three hundred people; and met the love of her life at 37. Now in her 40s, Kristina is circling back to her early fascination with gathering people’s stories. Often in our society we hear under-represented voices through the experience of the exceptional lone voice that breaks through the cacophony. Kristina is fascinated by oral history, especially its ability to capture a body of human experience in both its diversity and similarity, thus creating a context in which those voices are heard. She looks forward to contributing to this body of work.
Laura Murray (OHSS Intensive 2015): I teach Cultural Studies and English at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. I’m also a musician and a community activist. Kingston is a conservative city known for its nineteenth-century limestone and as the home of Canada’s first prime minister. I however am interested in more recent history, the history of ordinary people and places, labour, immigration, play, the stuff of life. I’m in the early stages of a neighbourhood history project, and wanting to find inspiration and ideas about how to go beyond the staid classic interview – I want to learn about podcast possibilities, mapping and landscape-based interfaces, arts collaborations, and how oral history can contribute to community development without being a tool for gentrification.
Laura Zelasnic (OHSS Intensive 2013, Radio 2014): Born in Scranton, PA. Attended Penn State. Graduated with a BA in Art History. Pursued graduate studies in Material Culture. MLS from Queens College, NYC. Worked as a project archivist for some years. Drawn to sound through its ephemeral, atmospheric qualities. Transitioning from historian to reporter.
Lauren Bouton (OHSS Intensive 2014, Radio 2014): I spent my childhood in Upstate NY and my formative years in a college town in the Deep South. After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in Political Science and Spanish I decided it was time to leave the south to seek inspiration and opportunity. Since then, I have worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA, a production assistant for film and photography, a documentary film researcher and transcriber, an archive assistant, and recently have moved to New York City, a life-long goal. As of May 10, 2014, I have managed to narrow down my interests to these: media arts, research, documentary journalism, oral history, archival media, anthropology and sociology, gender and racial equality, mortality and spirituality. My plan for the future involves graduate work in Anthropology and continued study of media arts as a form of self-expression and social change.
Lauren Elizabeth Kelly (Radio 2013, OHSS 2014 Assistant , OHWS Radio Instructor, OHSS 2015 Program Coordinator): I’m a filmmaker with a background in ballet and post-modern dance interested in experimental practices, cognition, creativity, and humor. I hold an M.A. in Media Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies, both from The New School University, and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. I’ve screened at festivals and galleries around New York and last year at backup_Festival Weimar Germany. I’m currently working on two films. One is a short about my Mom and the idea of home. I shot over 8 months after my mom had a stroke and my parents packed up and moved from one home to a new one. The main audio components are a recording two weeks after her stroke as she was working to remember, communicate, and draw a family tree (as a recommended recovery exercise), and an ongoing oral history as she regains language. My other current project is about my brother-in-law, Emmet, and his work with the alternative justice program Rapid Intervention Community Court in Burlington, VT, that works to get to the root of minor-offenders problems with a focus on addiction, mental illness, and access to treatment. Emmet’s 30 plus years working in the community provide him unique perspectives on addiction, mental illness, poverty, and justice. I am simultaneously excited and slightly anxious about my recent move from Brooklyn, NY to Burlington, VT to dive-in and work on these films!
Leanne Tory-Murphy (OHSS Intensive 2015) lives and works in Kingston, NY. For the past three years she has worked as an outreach worker with farmworkers throughout New York State for a regional human rights organization, the Worker Justice Center of New York. She does freelance journalism on issues relating to migrants rights and border politics. She first became interested in Oral History through a joint program between the Duke Center for Documentary Studies and Student Action with Farmworkers in Durham, North Carolina. Through the fellowship she was able to re-establish her ethics in regards to participating in media work and attempt to create a truly collaborative process between documentarian and participant. Through that program and in the years that followed, Leanne recorded many interviews with farmworker women and young Latinas living in Upstate NY. Most recently, she did several interviews with Central American youth who recently migrated to the Hudson Valley, excerpts of which were published in the January issue of the Chronogram magazine. Lastly, in her role as paralegal at the Worker Justice Center, she regularly conducts non-recorded interviews about the living and working conditions of low-wage immigrant workers in the area in the hopes of finding legal remedies that respond to some of the challenges they face.
Lena Sradnick (OHSS Intensive 2012) was born and raised New York City and now lives in Brooklyn. She works as a teacher and administrator at Basic Trust Infant Toddler Day Care Center, where she went as a child. She is a graduate of Bard College with a background in French Studies, dance and arts education.
Lise Brenner (C&C 2015): I am a choreographer/performer/writer/producer with a fairly heavy duty day job career in various levels of administration/management both corporate and non-profit. Since about 2002 I have been experimenting in different ways with applying choreographic thinking (i.e. how space/activity/time is organized and how to make that visible) to site specific projects ranging from a dance made for radio with pirate radio Patapoe in Amsterdam to mapping the pay phones in the East Village for Peter Stuyvesant's Ghost, which was a sound art/history/sound walk/environmental event sponsored by a bunch of people including the NY Dept. of Cultural Affairs and the Mondrian Stichting (Netherlands). Most recently I've been developing ideas based on a small project I did last year in Dutch Kills called Find Your Way that was organized around asking people in Dutch Kills to identify the place(s) in the neighborhood that they love and tell me the story of why. I made a treasure hunt for non-residents out of the sites/stories. Currently I am working to develop a collective project with various people mostly based in LIC/Astoria that aims to use collecting local stories about culture: making food, gardening, buildings, where and how people work, music, language--all the things that make up daily life and showcasing the most vivid at a monthly pop-up in various locations along the N and 7 subways lines. We plan to focus on a different 8 block radius each month and to connect with local businesses, civic associations, grassroots organizations, artists, cooks, etc--working as much as possible via word of mouth so that we build community as we collect stories in various mediums (video, dance, music, recipes, art or other objects).
Liz OuYang (OHSS Intensive 2015) is starting an artistic blog for Asian/American women with breast cancer to express themselves through stories, poetry, and artwork. She hopes to conduct oral history interviews to document how they dealt with disclosing the news, fears, incidents of humor, and living after diagnosis. This blog is for Asian/American women who want to disclose, but don't know how or are seeking comfort from learning how other Asian/American women deal with these issues. Women contributing to the blog will have the option to disclose their identity or remain anonymous. Liz has been a civil rights attorney for nearly 30 years and teaches at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and New York University's Department of Social and Cultural Analysis.
LJ Amsterdam (C&C 2015) is an activist, youth worker, and dancer. She is a proud OHSS alumnus who uses oral history practices to support media for action. LJ lives in Millerton, NY with her partner Walter (also an OHSS alum) where they work as collaborators on The Watershed Center, a social movement resource and retreat center. She facilitates youth-powered political and media projects, including radio production programs for kids at Kite’s Nest in Hudson. Her academic background is in Ethnomusicology and African-American Studies and she holds an M.A. from Columbia University. Her master’s thesis, on Indigenous hip-hop artists and love as political power, won the Zora Neale Hurston Award for Greatest Contribution to the Social Sciences. She has published work in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal and in a forthcoming edited collection from UCLA. At Columbia, LJ worked as an archivist on a community-partnered repatriation of Iñupiat music. Additionally, she has worked at independent record labels, inside NYC public schools, and as a Heavy Metal DJ.
Lucinda Segar (OHSS Intensive 2015): I am a writer, educator, and movement artist. I recently earned my MFA in fiction at Columbia University. I live in Hudson, where I am learning many things: how to write on my own time, how to expand my teaching and movement practices, and how to grow a kitchen garden. I design and teach multidisciplinary workshops for kids at Kite's Nest, I teach after-school boat building at the Hudson Intermediary School, and commute to New York City once a week to teach creative and expository writing at The Fashion Institute of Technology. I am currently working on a collection of short stories.
Luisa Conlon (OHWS Family 2015, OHWS Radio 2015) is a media producer based in Los Angeles and New York. She most recently produced Five Star, directed by Keith Miller. Five Star premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Editing in a Narrative Feature and went on to premiere internationally in the Venice Days section of the 71st Venice Film Festival. Luisa also served as Associate Producer on Gillian Robespierre's feature comedy Obvious Child ( A24 Films), produced by Elisabeth Holm and starring Jenny Slate. She has contributed writing and photographs to a number of publications, including Modern Farmer magazine and Narratively. Luisa is a native New Yorker, a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, and graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Mark Beauchamp (OHSS Intensive 2012, Archive 2013): I teach history and research methods at a college in Montreal, Canada. Last year, I attended the OHSS intensive course and was inspired to bring oral history into my classroom. Since then, I’ve developed a focused oral history project with Ben Lander (another workshop participant). We introduced over 150 of our students to oral history methodology; they have, in turn, collected over 300 oral histories. These interviews are currently saved on two hard drives that are sitting in our desk drawers. We need help. I’m hoping that this workshop will help me to conceptualize a structure for our archive, while finding a balance between making these interviews widely accessible to the public and ensuring that our narrators’ stories are protected and used ethically.
Marnie Macgregor (OHSS Intensive 2015) is a recent graduate of Bard College where she majored in cultural anthropology. Having grown up on a farm in Minnesota, Marnie is passionate about issues regarding agriculture, rural communities and the Midwest. Marnie hopes to continue conducting interviews in her local community, collecting stories about the disappearing family farm landscape and how it affects small town viability.
Mary Ellen Lennon (OHSS Intensive 2014, OHWS Radio 2015): I am an assistant professor of history at Marian University in Indianapolis where I focus on women’s history. Indiana is new (and very different) for me; most of my life I’ve lived in Queens, Brooklyn, Boston and for a year, West Africa. I am interested in learning about the art, theory and practice of oral history to bring it into the classroom as a tool to push my students to engage with the complexities of the world around them.
Melinda Braathen (OHSS Intensive 2012, Doc Film 2013): I am a recent resident of Hudson. Prior to Hudson, I was living abroad in Berlin for 3.5 years, working in the arts and publishing. I currently work at TSL, a non-for-profit arts organization, and have recently joined in on the WGXC Monday Afternoon Show, with Sara Kendall and Noah Reibel. Over the year, I have been focusing on interviewing. Initially, as a freelance contributor to the radio, I interviewed various people, among them, Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of the former Russian, oil-tycoon, now political prisoner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky; Wyatt Mason, the senior fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center, on the Chinese contemporary artist and activist, Ai Weiwei; and Robert H. Lieberman, the filmmaker of the recently released documentary “They Call it Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain”. Currently on the Monday Afternoon Show, I have co-interviewed several people living within the Hudson-valley region and abroad, as far as Lebanon and Nigeria. During the Oral History workshop, I first and foremost hope to develop my interviewing skills, but also could seriously benefit from becoming more technically sound, with regard to filming and recording, in addition to editing and doing all things post-production related.
Melissa Creary (OHSS Intensive 2013) is a graduate student at Emory University in the “Culture, Science, and History” track within the Graduate Institute of Liberal and a Health Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Blood Disorders. In this capacity, she helps coordinate the Public Health Research and Epidemiology in Hemoglobinopathies program and global sickle cell related activities. She will be traveling to Brazil as a Boren Fellow to study the impact of cultural constructions of race on sickle cell disease policy and will be collecting oral and life histories from physicians, patients, and NGO leaders.
Melissa Roberts Weidman (OHWS Family 2015): I'm a musician and writer currently living on Cape Cod, with strong family/friend ties to the Hudson, NY area. For the past decade I have worked as Director of Community Relations and Outreach for a large non-profit serious illness services provider. I am now starting a new project exploring our conditioning by ageism in our culture, and how we can treat each other and ourselves differently around age identity. Both these roles involve collecting stories told by elders across my community. I have also directed a county-wide community dispute resolution program and served as director of communications for a sustainable fisheries organization. My family lived for five years on The Farm, the largest and most enduring commune in the country. I attended Bryn Mawr College and Lesley College, and have facilitated countless community workshops on a wide variety of topics. Throughout all, I have held a deep reverence and astonishment about the power of story to transform pain and loss into wisdom and connection.
Meral Agish (Technical Assistant 2013) works as an independent oral historian and as a fundraiser, event planner and grant writer for the Drug Policy Alliance, Sandy Storylines, and other nonprofit organizations. She is a graduate of Yale University and recently completed the certificate program at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, where she worked on oral history projects with Vietnam veterans, long-married couples, and former residents of Durham’s demolished Hayti district. In 2013, Meral will travel to China and Japan to produce a multimedia documentary about the Tatar diaspora in the Communist era.
Mike Zryd (OHSS Intensive 2014): I teach film and media studies at York University in Toronto; my graduate training was at New York University. My main areas of research are a) experimental/independent film & video art and b) the history of film study from the 1860s to the present. I’m interested in interviewing artists and teachers from earlier generations to get a sense of the everyday textures and materials and experiences that shaped their art and teaching. I would like to incorporate what I learn in the workshop into my research and also into my teaching.
Miriam Johnson (OHSS Intensive 2012, Doc Film 2013, Radio 2013) is an artist, writer, photographer & filmmaker who was born in New York and grew up in Tasmania. She is involved in writing, design & art projects and has worked on a range of films including documentaries & educational films, indie low budgets, and the award-winning ‘Black Swan’. Her most recent project was collaborating on an artist monograph and co-producing a documentary about the Australian artist Tony Woods, to be launched in August 2013. She is currently studying in the Journalism, Media and Communications Department at the University of Tasmania, where her research is focusing on the relationship between the songwriter and the song. She divides her time between Tasmania and the USA. She is an alumni of Oral History Summer School 2012.
Nancy Kohler (Archive 2013), Teaching Artist, has resided in Columbia County, NY for the past eighteen years and has found “home”. Nancy recently completed a second Masters in Visual Communication and Sequential Narrative. Her recent body of woven photographs and short stories explores Place, Migration and Identity.
Neha Agrawal (Mixed/Memory 2015): I am currently a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Yeshiva University. I am from Los Angeles, and just moved to New York for school via Boston. My background is in documentary film, and I used to run an afterschool program for teens at a public access station Cambridge, MA that emphasized storytelling through video. I am really fascinated by how narratives and stories help people heal both from the storyteller's and story listener's perspectives. I hope to integrate my interests in clinical psychology and the documentary arts to foster connection through different mediums.
Nell Baldwin (OHSS Intensive 2014): I am a first year medical student. This summer I’ll be working with a staff physician in the women’s prison here in Rhode Island, doing qualitative groundwork to develop a weight loss and weight maintenance program. Before I started medical school I worked as a health educator on a drug addiction prevention project, using Motivational Interviewing counseling techniques with my patients. I have also worked as an advocacy organizer and I have grown food. I am interested primarily in listening, writing, and wiggling.
Nick Trotta (OHWS Radio 2015) is a dramaturg, director, writer, actor and technician for the theater based in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating from Vassar College (B.A. in Drama), I began to work at a number of theaters in NYC. I have worked with The Naked Angels Theater Company, St. Annes Workshop, The One Year Lease Theater Company, The Flea Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, New Dramatists, The Amoralist Theater Company, The Target Margin Theater Company, and The Brooklyn Emerging Artists in Theater (BEAT) Festival. All the while, I helped to found a theater company with other recent graduates called The Tugboat Collective. We have performed at The Bushwick Star, The Brooklyn Lyceum, Space on White, The Irondale Theater, Theater For the New City, The HERE Center, and The Brick Theater. While I have been working in the theater for the majority of my professional life, I was accepted into the internship program for The Brian Lehrer Show and I discovered a love for the work and storytelling of radio. Since that time I have been working with friends to develop small-scale podcast projects and record dramaturgical interviews for various theater pieces. In my capacity as a dramaturg for the next generation of American theater in the digital age, I'm interested in the intersection of oral history, journalism, and theater.
Nicole LoBue (OHWS Family 2015, Mixed/Memory 2015)) is a chef, educator and herbalist. She is culinary arts director of the Alimentary Kitchen and is Co-Director and programming director of Kite’s Nest, a learning resource center dedicated to curiosity, inquiry and social justice in Hudson, NY. She is committed to creating an extraordinary environment for children and teenagers to learn, play, and grow. She facilitates workshops and experiences that spark the interests and passions of young people, and offer a supportive environment for children and teenagers to pursue and develop their interests within their community, while exploring the intersection between art, science, creative writing, fiber arts, and culinary arts.
Noreen Shanahan (OHSS Intensive 2012): I run a small oral history/biography/memoir business called “Rampant with Memory,” where I help people establish an archive of their lives and stories. Although it has been traditionally in print, I’m now moving into creating podcasts. I’m a freelance journalist and publish feature obituary essays in the Globe & Mail, Canada’s National newspaper. I also publish in a range of alternative publications, mostly Canadian, covering issues on the left. I work part time at Our Times Magazine, an independent Canadian labour magazine. I’m a creative non-fiction essay writer and have published fairly widely as such. I’m also completing a poetry manuscript, for which I recently received an arts council grant from the Ontario government.
Paula Smith (OHSS Intensive 2014): I am Associate Librarian at Penn State Abington in Abington, Pa. During my sabbatical I began an oral history and digital storytelling project without any real oral history experience. The project entailed research on African-American visual artists with the intent to develop a digital representation of their lives, work and experience. The purpose of the project was to provide historical documentation about artists who are little known outside of their immediate art communities and network, with the initial interviews focused on the Mid-Atlantic region, emphasizing African American artists practicing during the period of the Black Arts Movement (est. 1965 – 1975). My research interests are all over the place including the following areas: the effects of globalization on education and information access, international librarianship and cultural competencies. I have published in areas of general librarianship, diversity, cultural competencies, and academic outreach. My work experience includes international work in South Africa, Bangladesh, Bermuda, and Uganda. Prior to becoming a librarian I was an information technologist for Fortune 500 companies providing services in project management, and systems analysis and design.
Phil Grant (OHSS Intensive 2013): I first became acquainted with the Oral History project when I was working in Manhattan at the Grand Central Station Post Office. Since I commuted on the Metro-North I noticed the booths when they were first set up. I gathered up the information and really didn’t think about it again until last year when the Oral History Summer Workshops launched. I had taken several classes on interviewing skills, and techniques while attending the New School of Radio & Television Arts, but those classes were geared toward the Radio and Television Industry. I was more interested in documentary style interviews. I am interested in telling stories about people, their lives , and their history. As the WGXC morning show host I conduct interviews regularly. We have a regular feature on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, where I interview a journalist on the local news of the week, an Education blogger on school, and Board of Education issues, and a sports enthusiast on local, regional, and professional sports. Additionally, I also conduct interviews with local community, and organization leaders on current and upcoming events. I still find the latter very stimulating, as often times when interviewing people who head organizations you find them very passionate and dedicated to their causes. It usually results in a very informative and interesting interview.
Rachel Dolan (Mixed/Memory 2015): I am a Social Worker currently working at a long term care facility. I have been working in long term care for 17 years and have worked with individuals with dementia ongoing. Prior to getting my Masters degree in Social Work, I was an Activity Director and I continue to maintain that certification as well. The elderly are my favorite population and my residents with dementia are my favorite from that group. I plan to use what I learn at the workshop in my everyday interactions with the residents at my facility and may incorporate that knowledge with other practices.
Renay Egami (OHSS Intensive 2015, C&C 2015): I am a visual artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. I hold an Associate Professor position at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus where I teach in the Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies, Department of Creative Studies / Visual Arts. I received my MFA degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and I am an alumna of The Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine. In my work I employ a wide variety of visual strategies and materials that range from the impermanent to the enduring and in various combinations of sculpture, video, light projection, text, book arts, and immersive installations. In the past my work has focused on contemporary expressions of remembrance based on themes related to identity, tensions between life and death, and the erasure & reconstruction of wounded landscapes. Currently, I am in the process of developing a new body of work that examines immigrant experiences and invisible labor. I am also working on a parallel piece based on research conducted during my recent tenure as an artist in residence in Tokyo that examines the historical and contemporary lives of the women pearl divers (Ama) of Japan.
Rhan Small Ernst (Radio 2013): I am an artist that works in music, sound and video. My love of these mediums comes from a life long obsession with listening to recordings and watching films. My father gave me an early and rich education in film and music. He always had portable consumer recording devices around the house when I was growing up. I used these devices to make “soundtracks” for comic books. In high school, I sang in rock bands. In my early twenties, I started making experimental music using tape recorders and home made instruments. I went to a technical school to learn recording engineering. From there I moved to Los Angeles to work in post production. I was ill suited for the Hollywood factory and quickly left the business and began producing my own work.
Rosa Carrasquillo (OHSS Intensive 2013) is Associate Professor of Caribbean, Latin American and Latino History at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA. Rosa Elena is also active in the Latino community in Worcester, MA, and form part of Latino Education Institute Community Advisory Board. Presently, she is working in the completion of the book manuscript, The People’s Poet: Life and Myth of Ismael Rivera, an Afro-Caribbean Icon.
Rosie Moosnick (OHSS Intensive 2014): I’m a sociologist by training and of recent have moved away from doing traditional social scientific work. In 2012 my book, “Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity,” (University Press of KY) was published. The book differed from my early work in that I used names and faces and delved into my own family’s history as Jewish Kentuckians and the intersection of our lives with those of non-Jewish Arab Kentuckians—working from the belief that Arabs and Jews could see their likenesses in out of the way places in the US and via women’s tales. Currently, I am working on a project showcasing contemporary activists in the six states (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida) along interstate I-75. I-75 serves as a backdrop for discussing local political realities and offers a cross-section of middle America and the political-moral issues numerous states are tackling—deeply divisive and moral issues such as gay rights, abortion, immigration, fossil fuels, and gun control. Each state will be the stage for a single issue, and activists from opposite sides of the issue will be featured. Essentially, the work seeks, in a small way, to tackle the political division penetrating the US by documenting the stories of opposed passionate activists.
Sabine Bernards (OHSS Intensive 2014): I am a Portland, Oregon native and New York City transplant of almost three years. I moved to the city originally for a volunteer program, working as a tenant organizer and living in a collective house in Harlem. I now live in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn and work at an organization that gives small grants to grassroots groups doing community organizing projects - lots of community gardens, tenant organizing, and a few amazing oral history projects. I am currently working on an oral history project for my work, collecting the stories of long-time grassroots community organizers in New York City. I am also involved in a childcare collective in NYC, providing free childcare to community groups so that families and children can be part of organizing spaces. I am passionate about (amongst other things) storytelling, food (the cooking, eating, and sharing of it), learning to navigate NYC on a bike, and trying to find ways to make New York City feel like a neighborhood community rather than a huge city.
Sally Zwartz (OHSS Intensive 2014, Radio 2014): My background is mainly in journalism/writing and I have a long involvement in community writing projects of one kind of another; over the years my interest has shifted to oral history, initially because of its respect for the person speaking … At the moment I’m working as an interviewer for family memoirs and also for a storybank project for a Legal Aid organisation, doing interviews with lawyers, clients etc as a way to capture the value/significance of the work the organisation does. In another part of my life I write about children’s books/reading and am involved in various projects to promote these, one of which is a regular hour-long podcast of music, stories and poems for kids that I produce for a local community radio station. I’m from New Zealand originally and have lived in Sydney, Australia for many years - this will be my first trip to the US.
Sandra Elzerman (OHSS Intensive 2013): My favorite part of my job as a lawyer is interviewing the client’s employees and learning about their work, the company’s business and their industry. I connected the dots between that “touchstone” of my work and oral history projects after listening to an interview of a former oral history archive director. After hours, I have been a photography student at Museum of Fine Arts Houston studio school for many years. I have been thinking about using some family stories as the basis of a photography project and want to develop an oral history project to capture family history and stories. I have also been active for many years in my neighborhood, most recently as co-chair on the committee that successfully petitioned the city to create a historic district in our neighborhood. I would now like to develop an oral history project for the neighborhood.
Sara B. Franklin (Archive 2013) considers herself a cook and writer foremost, though interviewing, oral history and academia seem to be creeping in more and more these days. She’s worn many hats in the world of food, farming in Waltham and Northampton, Massachusetts; writing as a restaurant critic for The Valley Advocate; working with small farmers at the New York-based WhyHunger; and developing content for the American Museum of Natural History. She is currently in the Food Studies doctoral program at New York University and works as a freelance cookbook reviewer and oral historian on the side. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Sara Kendall (OHSS Intensive 2012, OHSS Assistant 2012, Archive 2013, Project Lab 2014): I’m interested in cities and change, community-based education, and making radio with kids. I’ve lived and worked in Hudson since 2010. I’m currently a co-director and an educator at Kite’s Nest, an alternative learning environment and resource for children and families in Hudson. Beginning in the fall, I’ll also start a part-time master’s program in urban studies with the Centre for Oral History & Digital Storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal. I was the founding Station Manager of WGXC: Hands-on Radio (90.7-FM), a community radio station and participatory media project in Hudson. And in July 2012, I helped Suzanne Snider to launch the Oral History Summer School, which introduced me to a transformative language and framework for doing qualitative research and documentary work, and for listening to the world around me.
Sarah Macaraeg (Trauma 2013) is an aspiring publisher, essayist, and oral historian currently at work on The Domestic Worker Oral History Project with fellow OHSS participant Dao Tran. Plans for the project include a book collection which independent press Haymarket Books has contracted for future publication. Sarah has spent the previous 6 years in publishing and currently works at Columbia College in Chicago where she is also in the midst of creating a narrative-driven digital magazine of art and politics in the city.
Sarita Daftary (OHSS Intensive 2013) is the Project Director for East New York Farms! Sarita began working with the East New York Farms! Project in September 2003, and took her current role as Project Director in March 2006. East New York Farms! is a network of over 60 adult gardeners, 33 teen interns, regional farmers, and local vendors who work with a network of over 40 community gardens, backyard gardens, and urban farms that are working to grow more fresh food in East New York, Brooklyn. Sarita graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in sociology and government.
Scott Gyenes (OHSS Intensive 2015) is currently an Adjunct Professor of History at York College of Pennsylvania and History Department Chair and teacher at York Country Day School. He has a great deal of professional experience, having taught and led student organizations at the collegiate and college-preparatory level for over 25 years, worked with various non-profit organizations in helping them understand and implement the proper historical research and methodological process. Scott brings a wealth of educational and non-profit leadership experience having served as an adjunct professor at five colleges, in senior leadership roles for various non-profit social service agencies and leadership positions at many educational institutions. In addition to his teaching, Scott has also served both his local and global communities as a Board of Director on numerous non-profit organizations such as: the York College of Pennsylvania Alumni Association, East Berlin Community Library, Knights of Columbus Home Association Council 871, the Raintree Association, and currently as a board of director for the NGO Marie Mambu Makaya Foundation. Scott’s has many goals in learning about oral history such as incorporating the skills into his required service learning class projects, as well as utilizing oral history in his research projects currently underway examining the lives of Democratic Republic of Congo emigrants living in Pennsylvania.
Sean Ferguson (OHSS Intensive 2013): I’m a Junior at Vassar College, but my home is in New Jersey. At Vassar, I’m majoring in History with a minor in Asian studies. This Summer I will be working with the Rutgers Oral History Department and a Non-Profit based in my home state to collect oral histories of South Asian immigrants and their experiences in America and abroad. I’ll be concluding my research at the end of the summer with a presentation on my findings. I look forward to incorporating the skills I’ll learn at the Oral History Summer School into my senior thesis at Vassar and eventually graduate school.
Selha Graham Cora (OHSS Intensive 2013): Mom of 6, local business owner living here in Hudson pre-gentrification days. Columbia Greene Alumni. Recycler, gardener, Native of Jamaica Muslim revert 3 years.
Silvia Chelala (OHSS Intensive 2014) I have been involved in traditional and non-traditional education most of my life. Traditional academic has been my place in the last 30+ years. Now, facing a transition to retirement, I wanted to become immersed in people’s stories. Thus, oral history came to mind both as a way to inquiry (health project with Latino men and their health) and as a way to document and honor other’s experiences.
Suzanne L. Schulz (C&C 2015) received her PhD in Media Studies in August 2014 from the Department of Radio-Television-Film at The University of Texas at Austin. From 2014-2015, Suzanne was a Postdoctoral Fellow at UT-Austin and a visiting researcher in Mardin, Turkey. Her research on contestations around cinema in North India included interviews and archival research. Prior to her academic career, Suzanne worked for six years in documentary filmmaking in New York and Boston. She is eager to incorporate oral history methodology including audio recording and photography into her research and teaching.
Suzy Subways (OHSS Intensive 2012): I am a writer and editor, and when I’m not at my part-time job as a medical copy editor, I’m working on Prison Health News, a national newsletter for people in prison, and an oral history project about an activist group I was part of in the 90s, the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!). SLAM! was a multiracial radical group based at the City University of New York (CUNY) that fought tuition hikes and the elimination of open admissions, and organized youth to resist police brutality and the prison industrial complex. I was an editor at POZ magazine starting in 2001 and later was the lead writer for the AIDS activist publication Solidarity Project. I write for The Indypendent, The Defenestrator, and other independent media publications; create video for Occupy Philly Media; write short fiction; and occasionally post on my blog, AIDS and Social Justice (http://aidsandsocialjustice.wordpress.com/). The SLAM Herstory Project is online at http://slamherstory.wordpress.com/, and my goal is to do many more interviews and edit them into a book. So far, I’ve only completed short articles and a pamphlet focused on one aspect of the group’s history, because my experience as a journalist has only prepared me for envisioning and structuring the work of smaller projects. I’m hoping that this workshop will help me figure out how to come up with a plan to move forward.
Theodore (Ted) Kerr (OHSS Intensive 2015) is a Canadian born Brooklyn based writer and organizer. His work focuses primarily on HIV/AIDs, related issues and community. Ted was the Programs Manager at Visual AIDS and is now currently doing his graduate work Union Theological Seminary, where he also works at the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice.
Theresa Casciato (Project Lab 2014): I am a multimedia professional and artist in Pittsburgh, PA. I began to study film and video production after I earned my BFA in Photography, from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. As I built my skills with sound recording, I worked as a Remote Sound Recordist for the documentary film, “The River Ran Red “, (1993). This film won a Cine Golden Eagle Award, in the History Category, and tells the story about the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892. I am interested in telling more stories that feature oral history recordings. I hope to find a way to use my talents with new technology, to create something lasting for future generations to access.
Vanessa Maruskin (Doc Film 2013) works as an Archival Researcher & Associate Producer in documentary film. She found an interest in oral history and research while studying at the New School. Her background includes work in theater and commercial production. She is currently working as the Archival AP on a feature documentary on Bill Cosby, and will begin similar work on a second feature documentary this summer.
Vianey Castrellon (OHSS Intensive 2013, Archive 2013): I have a degree in Journalism of the University of Panama and for over seven years I worked in Panama’s leading newspaper, La Prensa. During this period, I worked as an editor of the Political and International sections. In 2007, I started the work at the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the government entity that manages the Canal since 1999. In that same year the Panama Canal Expansion began and the ACP created a department to focus on its historic documentation. This effort includes photographic and video documentation, the recovery and preservation of historic objects and documents, and an oral history collection. I am part of the staff involved in the conduction of these oral history interviews. In the past five years I have been emerging myself in the world of the academic history and as a result of our oral history work in the Panama Canal Expansion Program, I have had the opportunity to present papers in the International Oral History Conference (Argentina, 2012) and in the Latinoamerican Oral History Meeting (El Salvador, 2013). Journalism was my first love but destiny wanted me to discover in the Panama Canal a second passion: oral history.
Walter Hergt (OHSS Intensive 2013, Doc Film 2013, Project Lab 2014) I have been doing a lot of carpentry/contracting in the vein of creating a social justice educational/retreat center in Millerton, NY. I am actively interested in video and perhaps video-documentary-ethnographic efforts but interested in more experimental approaches rather than the “rote” documentary/advocacy format. This fall and winter I have been studying and honing my photography skills, particularly documentary narrative skills, i.e. telling stories with a set of images. Very interested in combining this with audio to create home combinations of visual, audible, audio-video storytelling. This will be put to the test the rest of this winter and spring working on an oral history and portraiture project with the Black Urban Growers group in NYC.
Zoe Dutka (OHSS Intensive 2015) is originally from Shokan in the Hudson Valley, but has lived in a very rural region in Venezuela, on the border of Brazil, since she was 17. She currently works as a journalist for the news site venezuelanalysis.com, where she closely tracks Latin American politics and social crises.