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Anti-Oppression and Decolonial Oral History | OHMA Spring 2022 Bilingual Workshop Series

by Amy Starecheski

Sign up here (English)

Oral history has a strong tradition as a progressive practice, focused on amplifying marginalized voices not typically given powerful platforms to speak in public. Oral historians have documented the stories of struggles for justice worldwide, and at times have participated in those struggles. At the same time, as a field, oral history has excluded Indigenous peoples and practices from the legitimacy we have so laboriously built. Leadership in our organizations and institutions has been predominantly White, even while Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have played key roles and invested their time and energy in building these institutions.

This series began in the 2020 uprisings for racial justice, and our Summer 2020 workshops focused on acknowledging and combating anti-Blackness and white supremacy in our field. Past instructors then worked with OHMA to continue developing the series. Francine Spang-Willis, Nairy AbdElShafy, Sara Sinclair, Allison Corbett, Fernanda Espinosa, and Crystal Mun-Hye Baik collaborated to curate this third round of workshops.

Grounded in the work of challenging white supremacy, we have continued to develop decolonial visions for oral history in which people who have historically been harmed — their knowledge, skills, practices, and voices — are at the center of our practice. This is not a diversity approach, in which our field remains White-led but invites some people of color in. It is an anti-oppression approach, in which we reorient our work to challenge all forms of structural oppression actively, expecting that that will change our work and our field in deep ways. It is a decolonial approach, in which we support both the literal decolonization of land and the centering of Indigenous peoples and practices.

As part of this work, we are excited to offer this round of workshops fully bilingually, in English and Spanish. We will also be providing ASL interpretation on demand, and offering live captioning on all sessions. We are hopeful that this will broaden access, allow for conversations that would not otherwise be possible, and deepen all of our learning.

We are committed to making these workshops as broadly accessible as possible, so we are offering an option of free registration for those who could not otherwise attend, with a sliding-scale-suggested donation of $20-$100 per workshop. We encourage you to pay what you can to support fair pay for our instructors as well as free registration for those who need it.

These events are open to all. You can use this quick survey to let us know how we could make these events more accessible for you. Note that we are able to provide ASL interpretation for any event, but need two weeks notice. Please contact Rebecca McGilveray at with specific access requests or questions.


Saturday, February 5, 2022, 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Restoring or Harmful?: Navigating Storytelling Practices at Cultural Institutions (Workshop #1)
Nancy Bercaw, Patty Arteaga, and José Centeno-Meléndez

Saturday, February 12, 2022, 1:00PM – 3:30PM
“What hurts is that people consume my story and are not driven to action”: Navigating Storytelling Practices at Cultural Institutions
(Workshop #2: Application Forthcoming)

Nancy Bercaw, Patty Arteaga, and José Centeno-Meléndez

Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 2:00PM – 5:00PM
The Alchemy Between Oral History and Art (Workshop #1)
Antígona González and Melina Alzogaray

Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 2:00PM – 5:00PM
The Alchemy Between Oral History and Art (Workshop #2)
Antígona González and Melina Alzogaray

Wednesday, March 9, 2021, 5:00PM – 8:00PM
Oral History as Decolonial Pedagogy
Zaira Arvelo Alicea, Ricia Anne Chansky, Marci Denesiuk, and Bryan Ramos Romero

Friday, April 8, 2022, 2:00PM – 4:00PM
Media, Dialogue, & Liberatory Imagination
Damon A. Williams and Daniel Kisslinger

*All times are listed in Eastern Standard Time