Event: Then, Now, Next: Oral History and Social Change (4/29, Union Theological Seminary)

Then, Now, Next: Oral History and Social Change
Date: April 29, 2015 5-8pm
Location: The Refectory at Union Theological Seminary, 121st Street and Broadway


DATE: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

TIME: 5-8 PM

WHERE: The Refectory at Union Theological Seminary, enter at 121st Street and Broadway (note: we regret that this space is not wheelchair accessible)

WHAT: Oral history has the potential to transform public dialogue about the most important issues of our time–race and police violence, income inequality, gentrification, the crisis of democracy–by amplifying diverse voices in the public sphere, providing new perspectives and historical context.

How can oral histories help us understand and catalyze social change? This interactive, multimedia pop-up exhibit, curated by the students and faculty of the Columbia Oral History Master of Arts program, will present eleven projects engaging this question from eleven different angles, asking:

  • How do experiences of collective power become myths, and how do these myths generate or defuse new waves of activism?
  • How do stories of urban places nurture resilient communities?
  • How are living traditions of resistance passed down between generations and how are these traditions disrupted?
  • How do personal stories about the past document injustice and provide clues to a new way forward?
  • How do we use knowledge of history to imagine and create the future we want?

Audience members will be invited to don headphones and dip into immersive community spaces, including a sultry jazz club, a midwife’s office, and a neighborhood hair salon.

Refreshments will be served and children are welcome!

RSVP to this event on Facebook.

Exhibits include:

Church as Community: St. Augustine’s on the Lower East Side by Kate Brenner
A look at the vibrant African American community around St. Augustine’s Church on the Lower East Side.

Building Bridges: Stories from a Homeless Shelter by Leonard Cox
Listen to stories from a homeless shelter and share ideas on how to connect with the homeless.

Word Up Community Bookshop Oral History Project by Benji de la Piedra
This pop-up recreation of Washington Heights’ beloved volunteer-run bookstore invites you to browse books, enjoy music, writing and photography from local artists, and consider the cultural significance of community bookstores in 2015.

The Neighborhood Hair Salon as Living Oral History Archive by Jonathon Fairhead
A simulation of the hair salon experience, with cloak, mirror, and comb is a recorded oral history interview discussing the interviewee’s relationship with their hair, their hair salon, hair stylist, and neighborhood.

BlackMother: Stories Surrounding Childbirth & Remembrances of Traditional Birth Workers in the American South by Nicole JeanBaptiste
Black women’s voices on intergenerational experiences with and issues surrounding childbirth.

Refugee Resettlement in Orange County by K Lee
Website introducing the Vietnamese refugee resettlement in Orange County

The Human Be-In Teach-In by Steven Palmer
Voices from a hippie happening in San Francisco.

Personal Storytelling as Advocacy by Steven Puente
Hepatitis C Peers from Einstein’s Methadone Clinics, located in the South Bronx, will be sharing their personal stories as a form of personal outreach and advocacy.

Guardians in the NYPD by Liz Strong
Work, identity and advocacy in law enforcement remembered by retired members of the NYPD Guardians Association for black officers.

Paying Respects: Stories of Family and Friends Buried in New York’s Potter’s Field by Leyla Vural
Hear from people with family and friends buried on Hart Island, our city’s potter’s field, the final resting spot for nearly one million New Yorkers that’s hidden in plain sight.

Gathered Time: Hearing Change in Jazz by Erica Zora Wrightson
The sounds of change in jazz.