What is Oral History?
Oral history is an ethical interview practice that engages a specific set of best practices, with an emphasis on ethics, co-creation, and transformation. Oral history can be used to collect stories of the past and present-day, or to problem solve and address the future. Oral history can also be used as an intervention during crises or in situations of collective trauma. Professionals in various fields make use of oral history and oral history techniques, including those in public health, law, history, documentary film, education, radio, social advocacy, development, visual art, writing, sociology, and more. OHSS/OHWS workshops emphasize oral history as both a process and result/artifact of that process.
I don’t have oral history experience. Can I still apply to Oral History Summer School?
Oral history and/or interview experience is not required for any of our workshops unless indicated. These workshops are designed to address the goals of beginner and experienced interviewers/oral historians.
Does OHSS offer scholarships? We award scholarships to local residents for OHSS workshops, each summer. These are based on need and applicants’ plans to use the tools for community-based projects.
What forms of payment are accepted by OHSS? We accept tuition payment via PayPal, which allows you to use a credit card or your checking account (if you link it to PayPal). We do not accept checks or cash at this time. You will receive payment instructions with your workshop invoice, upon acceptance to the workshops.
Does OHSS provide housing? Oral History Summer School coordinates a limited number of rentals on behalf of OHSS participants at below market rates. These run from $30-$75/night in apartments, homes and sometimes bed & breakfasts.
OHSS charges a $25 flat fee for housing coordination to cover the administrative efforts involved, to be paid upon confirmation of attendance. OHSS works to match students based on budget and needs; students can advise us on their housing needs upon acceptance with an OHSS/OHWS housing form. Forms will be processed upon receipt of tuition, so early registration is the best bet for well-priced housing.
Other options that participants can pursue independently include: airbnb rentals (zip code 12534), Camping (contact us for additional camping options), and Couch Surfing.
How should OHSS students travel to Hudson? The nearest high volume airport is in Albany, NY (about a 40-50 minute drive from Hudson). Amtrak trains also run between Albany and Hudson, but a connection between the airport and train station is required (we did have students make this connection last summer). Students can also fly into NYC airports (LaGuardia or JFK) and the Newark airport, which may have more competitive fares. Hudson is a two-hour (beautiful!) train ride on Amtrak from Penn Station to Hudson Station. Trains arrive from Albany and New York City into the Hudson Amtrak station every few hours and train tickets are relatively inexpensive if purchased a few weeks ahead of time.
What is the schedule like, day to day, during an OHSS workshop? Will there be time to explore Hudon, relax, etc? All workshops--especially the intensive--are immersive. The days are broken into sessions that vary in terms of physical and social configuration, toggling between group discussion, exercises in pairs, hands-on tech training and maybe an interview. That said, some afternoons include optional sessions and optional interview opportunities. Participants are welcome to use those times during the day and in the evening to relax, read, swim, or pick fruit in a local orchard. We will make lots of announcements throughout the workshops about local events: parades, the farmer’s market and trips to the drive-in!
I live outside the U.S. Can you advise me re: visa requirements? We have many international students. If you live in a country that participates in the visa waiver program, you should be eligible to apply online for a waiver for a “recreational course of study,” as long as you are not receiving credit for the OHSS workshop from a home institution. We are happy to provide necessary documentation. Please be in touch as you navigate visa issues. We will do our best to support all OHSS participants who wish to attend.
Do I need to buy any equipment for any of the workshops? Students do not need to bring a recorder to the workshops, though we are happy to offer guidance for those who feel eager to purchase one. We recommend Transom.org, Sweetwater, and B&H as resources for equipment questions, and purchasing options. All Oral History Summer/Winter School participants should come to the workshops with a few specific items, which may cost $25, together. Students will receive instructions upon acceptance to the workshops.
What if I register but can’t attend? Will I receive a refund? Due to small class size, OHSS is unable to provide refunds. Tuition is non-refundable or transferable for withdrawal or cancellation.
I can’t afford to come to the workshops, this year. Are there other ways to be involved? Each year, OHSS offers free public programming: Films, lectures, panels, listening parties, and town hall meetings are presented in collaboration with other community groups, year-long. You can read more about our collaborators, here. Please sign up for our mailing list to learn more about public events and future workshops.
Can I visit a workshop? Workshops are open to registrants and visitors on an invite-only basis, in 2019.
Are the workshop spaces and public event spaces fully accessible? Our classroom space is fully accessible with an accessible bathroom. Most public event spaces are accessible, but please inquire with any questions ahead of time, if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t attend this summer. Are there other workshop times and locations? Summer is our busiest season with the widest range of workshop offerings, but we offer workshops throughout the year in Hudson, NY and other locations. This year, OHSS will hit the road to do some workshops in situ, so students can train and practice at meaningful sites of collection. Let us know if you are part of a school, church, or institution looking to build an oral history collection. Our team is available for staff training, consulting, curriculum development and public workshops. We have a range of expertise, including: oral history exhibit design, community training, archiving, editing, public event planning, and project design. Please inquire: email@example.com
Does OHSS provide school credit for workshops? We are an independent school. Currently, we do not offer credit through another institution. Students do receive a certificate of completion at the end of the workshop.
How is OHSS funded? How do you determine workshop fees? Currently, our budget comes entirely from tuition and donations. We have a fiscal sponsor and many community allies/supporters. We do our best to keep overhead low and your tuition reasonable, while still providing a clean, well-lit classroom space, comfortable housing, field trips, screenings, the occasional home-cooked meal–and visits from inspiring artists in the field. We also offer scholarships to local residents who want to apply oral history to community projects. We make things happens with the help of a lot of bartering and volunteerism, as well. OHSS friends have offered us tech support, photography, videography, space, tours, discounted housing, and administrative support. We are grateful for all who have helped us grow.