Toolkit for Today: Oral History

Seminar, 2017

The Toolkit for Today seminars invite scholars to reveal their tools and reflect on them in a convivial atmosphere, as part of the CCA’s Doctoral Students Program. The 2017 Toolkit, “Oral History,” considered the potential and challenges of oral history as methodology and its use for historians and critics as a source of information or as a way to collect evidence that is otherwise difficult to document.

In part 1, Methods and Mistakes, Janina Gosseye and Naomi Stead raise questions and discuss cases from their own work gathering oral histories, including for a project on female architects in Australia. Their forthcoming book Speaking of Buildings, edited with Deborah van der Plaat, considers through its four chapters questions of “Constructing History,” “Restituting History,” “Disrupting History,” and “The Unspoken and the Unspeakable.” One of the book’s authors, Thomas-Bernard Kenniff, will also be present to discuss his contribution, which centres on interviews with those affected by the development of Montreal’s Place des Festivals.

In part 2, Institutional Storytelling, Albena Yaneva presents her ongoing research into curatorial practice at the CCA, a project informed by oral history and fieldwork based on anthropological methods. Janina Gosseye will act as respondent to further a discussion of issues specific to institutional oral histories.

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