9:30 AM09:30

Workshop: Mastering the Recording - FULLY SUBSCRIBED


Presented by Oral History NSW and Royal Australian Historical Society, Mastering The Recording is a hands-on training day to help you become confident with the technical side of oral history.

In this full day training workshop, you will learn

  • the recommended ways to set up your digital recorder

  • microphone placement

  • editing and processing audio using Audacity

  • backing up and archiving

You will NOT just be watching how it's done. You will be actively involved in each stage.

As this is very hands-on, it is recommended that you bring with you any digital recorder and laptop computer you already own.

If you do not currently have any equipment, you will be able to share the equipment we will be providing.


Places are strictly limited to 10 participants.

10 bookings have already been received, so there are no place available for this event.


  • Email: membership@oralhistorynsw.org.au if you would like to go on a waiting list in case there is a cancellation by one of the people who have already booked.
    Waiting list places will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.


History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney


  • Saturday, 27th July 2019

  • Arrive at 9:30am for 9:45am start.

  • Expected completion is 4:30pm.

Morning tea and afternoon tea will be provided.
Lunch may be brought from home or purchased from nearby cafés.


  • $160 for members of Oral History NSW or RAHS.

  • $180 for non-members.

  • $190 to attend and also become a new member of Oral History NSW.

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5:30 PM17:30

History Matters: A Babble of Voices, Using Oral History Collections

  • Macquarie Room, State Library of NSW (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Presented by Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT) and Oral History NSW.

Oral history collections have been around for decades, but with the advent of digital technology our access to and use of collections is changing. Curators from two key repositories will highlight elements of their collection, and reflect on changing delivery and use by practitioners.

Discussion following the two presentations will focus on how public historians can best make use of oral history collections in their work. 


  • Dr Shirleene Robinson, National Library of Australia

  • Maria Savvidis, State Library of New South Wales

Chair: Dr Scott McKinnon, University of Wollongong

Bookings made online via the State Library, only $5 for OHA and PHA members.

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5:30 PM17:30

Oral History Collections and Museum Practice: A Panel Discussion

  • Main Hall, National Museum of Australia (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Oral histories form a dynamic part of social history exhibitions in museums. They’ve been a key part of sharing authority and devolving the curatorial voice. The creation of these resources—the oral history audio and transcript—pose questions about the preservation of and access to Australia’s audiovisual culture.

This round-table will explore questions of exhibition design and also explore questions relating to the life and afterlife of oral histories within museum collections. Panelists will offer examples from current and past exhibitions that have integrated oral histories or have necessitated the creation of new oral history projects.

How do oral histories and  first-person narratives ‘work’ in museum spaces, and what is their relationship to objects? How have these oral histories been preserved and made available as research resources within museum collections? What practices are in place to ensure preservation and access?


Paula Hamilton, Australian Centre of Public Policy, University of Technology Sydney & Macquarie University

Moya McFadzean, Museums Victoria

Mary Hutchinson, Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies

Registration required: chms@cass.anu.edu.au / 02 6125 5889

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1:00 PM13:00

OHNSW Annual Lecture: History Week 2019

In celebration of History Week 2019 (Aug 31st-Sept 8th), Oral History NSW invites you to the OHNSW Annual Lecture:

“Everywhere you look is a loss”: Memories of Bushfire in a Transformed Suburban Landscape

In 2003, the Australian Capital Territory experienced a devastating firestorm in which four people were killed and hundreds more injured. The fire burnt across bushland, plantation forests and farms, and reached into the Canberra suburbs, destroying nearly five hundred homes. Rural and suburban landscapes were permanently transformed. In this lecture, Dr Scott McKinnon will examine the interweaving of memory, space and recovery in the years after the fire. McKinnon argues for the importance of including slow recovery processes in the recorded history of disaster and for situating understandings of disaster recovery in landscapes imbued with memory.

About the speaker:
Dr Scott McKinnon is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Australian Centre for Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS), University of Wollongong. He is an oral historian and geographer with a research background in disasters research, geographies of memory, and histories and geographies of sexuality and gender. Scott is Vice President of Oral History NSW and Sydney’s Pride History Group. He is the author of  Gay Men at the Movies: Cinema, memory and the history of a gay male community (Intellect, 2016).

Book tickets here

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5:30 PM17:30

History Matters: Historical Authority and Alternative Voices

  • State Library of NSW, Unaipon Room Level 1 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Presented by Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT) and Oral History NSW.

Professional historians are certainly not the only people who research and communicate the past to broad audiences.  ‘History is the work of many hands’, as one writer said.   
This session addresses alternative voices and ways that journalists and novelists write about and use history in their work.  


Paul Daley is a Guardian journalist who has won many awards for his outstanding articles. He also  writes about Australian history and culture and is particularly interested in Indigenous histories.

Christine Piper is a novelist of Japanese Australian Heritage and draws on extensive historical research from both countries. Her first novel After Darkness won the Australian Vogel’s Literary Award in 2014 and she is now working on her second novel. 

Chair: Minna Muhlen-Schulte, historian and Senior Heritage Consultant, GML Heritage.

Bookings made online via the State Library, only $5 for OHA and PHA members.

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5:30 PM17:30

History Matters: Heritage Interpretation: Beyond Signage?

  • State Library of NSW, Unaipon Room Level 1 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS
Manly 1894, unknown artist XV/161  State Library of NSW

Manly 1894, unknown artist XV/161
State Library of NSW

Presented by Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT) and Oral History NSW.

In the professional field of heritage interpretation, are historians out in the cold?Heritage interpretation is dominated by specialists other than historians. And more often that not, interpretative schemes are concerned largely with aesthetics and texture.

What role does the historian have in the design and construction of places - can we convey history through the materiality of heritage spaces? What can heritage interpretation do for historians?

Sue Hodges, Managing Director SHP Productions Victoria
Sharon Veale, CEO GML Heritage Sydney

Mark Dunn President PHA, New Heritage Council

$5 for OHNSW members

Bookings via the State Library of NSW website

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9:30 AM09:30

OHA Conference: Bursaries for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Oral Historians

In recognition of 2019 as the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages, Oral History Australia (OHA) is pleased to announce that two bursaries of up to $750 each may be awarded to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander oral historians presenting a paper at the 2019 Biennial Oral History Australia Conference, ‘Intimate Stories, Challenging Histories’, 10-13 October 2019 in Brisbane.

Applicants must:
• be undertaking a project that involves oral history
• attend the 2019 Biennial Oral History Australia Conference in Brisbane, and
• be the presenter of a paper accepted for presentation at the conference.

For more bursaries information and the application form click here

OHA Conference page


Submissions to present a conference paper: 1 March 2019

Deadline for bursary application: 1 May 2019

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Workshop: Capturing Memories: Oral History In The Digital Age
9:30 AM09:30

Workshop: Capturing Memories: Oral History In The Digital Age


Join Oral History NSW and the Royal Australian Historical Society for a practical workshop for all interested in recording the experiences of family, friends, local communities, history of museum items or any other project incorporating memories of the past.

This popular and informative workshop will equip you to undertake your own oral history interviews. Workshop leaders will be Pauline Curby, an experienced oral historian and Andrew Host, whose 39 years of experience as a sound engineer can help you get quality recordings that will stand the test of time.

Topics include:

• introduction to oral history and the nature and reliability of memory

• preparing and structuring an oral history interview

• ethical issues, ownership, copyright and appropriate documentation

• choosing and using a digital recorder

• processing the interview – preparing a summary log

• interview transcription, aided by free downloadable software

• saving sound files, storage and preservation

This workshop builds on the OHA Oral History Handbook available for purchase from Oral History Australia.


Saturday, 13th April 2019

Registration 9.30 am
Workshop commences: 9.45 am
Workshop concludes: approximately 4.30 pm


History House
133 Macquarie Street, Sydney


  • $105 non-members

  • $95 Oral History NSW & RAHS members

  • $135 attend the workshop and become a new member of Oral History NSW.

Morning & afternoon tea included.  
Bring your own lunch, or lunch can be purchased at nearby cafes.


As this event is happening tomorrow, we can no longer take bookings for this event.   



Pauline Curby has worked as a freelance professional historian since the early 1990s and has undertaken consultancies in oral history, environmental history and heritage, as well as writing a number of commissioned histories. Her publication, Randwick, won the NSW Premier’s Awards (Regional and Community History), 2010.

Pauline was the recipient of the NSW History Fellowship 2011 and is a member of the Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT).


Andrew Host has been professionally immersed in audio for 39 years, starting in commercial radio in Sydney, and then working a further 16 years in independent recording studios in the advertising industry.

In 1998, Andrew moved into Compact Disc and DVD duplication, which also involved restoration of old audio and video. Since 2010, Andrew's focus has been on audio preservation and enhancement.

Andrew has been a member of Oral History NSW since 2012, and has been on the executive committee since 2013 where he now serves as Treasurer.

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5:30 PM17:30

History Matters: Community Histories


This session questions the ethical issues involved in working on commissioned histories for different groups or communities. Is some level of compromise always inevitable? How do we work with indigenous clients and keep a professional distance? Is it particularly hard to do commissioned work using oral histories as part of the historian’s skills? Should we only work with sympathetic employers?

Chair:  Tanya Evans, Macquarie University


  • Greg Young, urban planner and editor of Paddington: a history (2019)

  • Pauline Curby, public historian and writer of Randwick (2010)

Public history shapes our communities’ understandings of the past. This series will explore the issues that stimulate and bedevil the work of public historians. This 3 part seminar series aims to encourage a more reflective approach to the practice of history and create conversations across a diverse cohort of practitioners. Professionals, scholars, students and those with a long-standing interest in public history all welcome.

$5 for OHNSW members

Bookings via the State Library of NSW website

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to May 31

OHA JOURNAL - 2019 Call for papers / feedback

Oral History Australia has issued a Call for Papers for the 2019 OHA Journal No. 41. 
This journal is a special issue with the theme: Oral History and the Emotions.

Deadlines for the submission of non peer reviewed articles is 31 May 2019
Find out more information about the call for papers here  
Go to the OHA Journal page here

The new editors of the Journal, Skye Krichauff (University of Adelaide) and Carla Pascoe Leahy (University of Melbourne) have released some of their plans for the journal. They are also keen to hear suggestions, submissions and queries from oral historians interested in contributing to the journal.

You can read more about their plans here 

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5:30 PM17:30

History Matters: Why/Why Not? Life in the Past Lane

Presented by Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT) and Oral History NSW.

This session held at the State Library of NSW is designed to introduce the audience to questions about why history is important to all our lives. We explore how ideas about the past are changing through the voices of two practitioners who work with history in very different settings. They will reflect on their own experience about the issues that have emerged in communicating history to different groups.

Chair: Paula Hamilton, UTS

Speakers: Paul Irish, Historian and Archaeologist and Director of Coast History
Birgit Heilmann, Curator Hurstville Museums and Gallery, Georges River Council

Public history shapes our communities’ understandings of the past. This series will explore the issues that stimulate and bedevil the work of public historians. This 3 part seminar series aims to encourage a more reflective approach to the practice of history and create conversations across a diverse cohort of practitioners. Professionals, scholars, students and those with a long-standing interest in public history all welcome. $5 for members of OHNSW and PHA.

For more information and to book tickets click here

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to Mar 8

2019 OHA Biennial Conference : Call for Presentations - extended to 8 March

Through oral history recordings we hear the intimate stories of everyday lives, and we create histories that challenge orthodoxy and speak truth to power. Oral history drills beneath the big histories of state, society and politics, and illuminates ordinary people’s extraordinary lives.

The 2019 Biennial Oral History Australia Conference takes place in our 40th anniversary year. Oral History Queensland and Oral History Australia are presenting the conference, in partnership with State Library Queensland.

We are currently accepting proposals for the 2019 conference. The closing date is now 8 March 2019.

Find out more about the Call for Presentations and how to submit a proposal. Go to the Call for Presentations page.

Further information

For conference information or to join the conference mailing list please email oralhistoryqld@gmail.com go to the conference website at  https://www.oralhistoryaustralia.org.au/2019-conference.html

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5:30 PM17:30

Oral History NSW 2018 Christmas Party


Oral History NSW warmly invites members and friends to our Christmas Party at History House (133 Macquarie Street, Sydney) from 5:30-8pm on Wednesday 5 December.

Come along and catch up with members in an informal setting, and enjoy the opportunity to connect with New South Wales' oral history community over drinks and nibbles.

We are charging a $10 entry fee to help cover the cost of the event.

For catering purposes, please book in advance.

To book now and pay by credit card or PayPal, click on the ‘Purchase’ button.

To book now and pay by cash on the day, please email events@oralhistorynsw.org.au

We hope to see you there!

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11:00 AM11:00


Presented by Oral History NSW in partnership with Verge Gallery
Verge Gallery City Road, Darlington
Tickets available here via Eventbrite

Oral history – like the visual arts – is a diverse, co-constructed practice that challenges conventional autonomous production and identities*

A morning discussing ways in which artists have worked with oral history – the practice of making memories through a planned interview between two people.

How are narratives being used as a resource in the production of creative work? If digital technologies mean that oral history is more readily available to be worked with than ever before, what ethical challenges do artists working with oral history have to consider? How is the interpretive capacity of oral history being extended through contemporary artistic practice?


THERESE SWEENEY is an artist based out of a media studio on the south coast of NSW. Over two decades she has used oral history to inform her practice in photography & video. She has worked with communities in south-west Sydney, Kings Cross and the NSW south coast, among others.

FABRI BLACKLOCK'S family are Nucoorilma/Ngarabal people from Tingha and Glenn Innes and Biripi people from Dingo Creek in NSW. A textile artist, Fabri's work involves the revival and teaching of NSW Aboriginal women's artistic practices such as possum skin cloak making and weaving. She is particularly interested in the combination of traditional Aboriginal art practices with modern technologies, as well as the important role art plays in wellbeing in Aboriginal communities. For several years Fabri curated Koori history and culture projects at Powerhouse Museum. Today she works with communities across NSW through UNSW Art and Design. Oral history has been central to Fabri's art practice.

DEBORAH BECK is an artist who has had solo exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne and participated in multiple group exhibitions throughout Australia. She has taught in art schools in Sydney for over twenty years and is currently a lecturer, historian and archivist at the National Art School in Darlinghurst. She has undertaken oral histories of visual artists extensively across a range of projects and on commission for several organisations.

The discussion will be led by Oral History NSW committee member DR PAULA HAMILTON, adjunct Professor of History at the University of Technology, sydney. Hamilton is a cultural historian who has published widely in oral history and memory studies, exploring the intersection between personal and public memories. She has also collaborated in a range of historical projects with community groups, artists, museums, libraries, heritage agencies and trade unions. Her most recent work is A Cultural History of Sound, Memory and the Senses edited with Joy Damousi and published by Routledge in 2017.

*Linda Sandino, Oral History in the Visual Arts, Bloomsbury, 2013


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5:30 PM17:30


Presented by Oral History NSW and the Australian Centre for Public History, UTS
University of Technology, Sydney
Building 10, Level 14, Room 201

In this panel discussion, we will investigate a range of place-based heritage, art and public history projects that have positioned oral history recordings within particular sites. Through exhibitions, art installations, soundscapes and digital apps, listeners can hear memories of a neighbourhood, street or building while visiting or moving through the space.
This offers an immersive connection to the history of a site, creating links between past and present. A panel of historians, geographers and artists will consider the use of oral history across disciplines and the interactions between sound, place and memory in their work.


DR SARAH BARNS is a creative producer and practice-led researcher whose work explores the emerging interfaces for archives-based placemaking and storytelling, working across the mediums of sound, digital projection, digital dashboards and interactive media in public places.
She is Co-Director of creative placemaking practice Esem Projects and research fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. Twitter: @_sarahbarns Website: esemprojects.comsarahbarns.me


CATHERINE FREYNE is an award-winning historian and audio producer. She worked at the ABC as a researcher, reporter and radio features producer for 13 years. Her audio documentaries won the NSW Premier’s History Award in 2012 and 2014. She has developed multimedia history content for the City of Sydney, ABC Innovation, National Museum of Australia, Think+DO Tank and the Dictionary of Sydney. Catherine is represented by Audiocraft Agency and is part of TEDxSydney's curatorial team. As recipient of the UTS Chancellor’s Research Scholarship, Catherine is completing a creative practice PhD that combines history, sexuality studies and audio documentary.


ANNIE MCKINNON is the director of About Turn , an emerging interaction design and creative technology agency. About Turn boasts a talented team of associates and a well equipped design and fabrication studio in St Peters. Annie completed a B Sound and Music Design at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in 2012. Soon after she was handpicked as a research assistant at the Interactivation Studio, UTS. Annie worked under the supervision of world-renowned interaction design expert, Dr Bert Bongers. This position equipped Annie with a deep appreciation of the body’s senses and how they inform people’s everyday interactions in space and time. This understanding informs her practice which involves the use of digital sensors and the development of interactive experiences and products.

Her portfolio includes expertise in interactive national touring exhibitions, gestural interfaces to support communication, interactive devices for physical rehabilitation, immersive soundscapes for public art installations, instrument design, rapid prototyping for app development, multi-modal interactions, and mesh networking devices. She is sought-after in the field of interaction and sound design. Annie is an alumni of Parramatta Artists Studios where she was a resident in 2017. In 2015, Annie was an ArtStart recipient (Australia Council for the Arts). She has been commissioned by DLUX Media Arts, Think+Do Tank Foundation, City of Parramatta, Orana Arts, UTS, MAKEbeLIVE Productions, and Synergy Percussion. www.aboutturn.net


JANE STRATTON is the Creative Director of the Think+DO Tank Foundation, and the concept founder and director of Against the Tide: A Highway West, an interactive audio experience set on the waters of the Parramatta River. Jane believes in people and their power to change their own circumstances. She holds degrees in politics, languages and law, and is a skilled writer. She has worked as a lawyer and public policy advocate, human rights activist, and educator. Jane brokers and leads the Think+DO Tank Foundation's creative initiatives to empower communities and to give local people a greater level of control in their community. She is an experienced creative producer and project manager, leading Against the Tide; and Lost In Books, a multilingual kids' bookshop and community creative hub in Fairfield, South Western Sydney.

The discussion will be led by Oral History NSW Vice President DR SCOTT MCKINNON, Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Australian Centre for Cultural Environment Society and Space (ACCESS), University of Wollongong.
Scott is an oral historian and geographer with a research background in geographies of memory, memories of disaster and geographies and histories of sexuality. He is the Vice President of community history organisation Pride History Group and has collaborated on a number of oral history-based projects exploring Sydney’s LGBTIQ history. Scott is the author of Gay Men at the Movies: Cinema, memory and the history of a gay male community (Intellect Books). Twitter: @McKinnon_SJ

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11:00 AM11:00

Oral History NSW Annual Lecture 2018 with Dr Carla Pascoe: On the cusp of life and death


Apart from our own birth, which we do not remember, and our own death, which we cannot anticipate, no other event in our human lives brings us as close to mortality as childbirth. Both the miracle of new life and the threat of infant or maternal death loom over the event, imbuing it with unparalleled significance.

Memories of birth across the past 70 years are multi-layered and diverse, exhibiting patterns of both change and continuity. Increasingly sophisticated medical technologies have resulted in births with higher levels of medical intervention and lower levels of risk for mother and infant. 

Expectant mothers now receive far greater information and their labours are more highly monitored. Yet across this period women report that their experiences of birth commonly do not reflect their expectations. Despite medical advances, childbirth remains an intense ordeal, with women pushed to the limits of what they can endure.

Memories of childbirth exhibit interesting narrative patterns. As events which are associated with peak emotional experiences and physical sensations, narrators use different strategies to try to communicate the primal, visceral and corporeal nature of their labour. And yet women often muse that they are aware that they cannot fully recall and convey the reality of their childbirth. At some level the intensity and profundity of this event escapes language. Memory cannot quite contain the ferocity of this experience.

Dr Carla Pascoe is a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and an Honorary Associate at Museums Victoria.  Her research illuminates the history and heritage of women and children in twentieth-century Australia, particularly motherhood, childhood and menstruation. Carla has published in leading international and Australian journals and is the author of Spaces Imagined, Places Remembered: Childhood in 1950s Australia (2011) and a co-editor of Children, Childhood and Cultural Heritage (2013). She is currently undertaking a project funded by the Australian Research Council on the history of Australian motherhood since 1945. 

11am, Saturday 8th September

Oral History NSW Annual General Meeting will follow at 11:45am

History House
133 Macquarie Street, Sydney

$20 entry

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10:00 AM10:00

Oral History Victoria Annual Symposium — Oral History and the Emotions

Emotions have played a key role in the theory and practice of oral history. In recent years, the emotional and ‘affective’ turn in social sciences and humanities has also seen the emergence of the history of emotions as a burgeoning field of studies.  Oral History Victoria is showcasing approaches to emotions in oral history at its 2018 symposium, and invites proposals for relevant presentations.

Submission deadline: 11 May 2018.
More information and details.
Symposium location: Museo Italiano, Carlton, Melbourne.

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to Sep 12

Launch into Library Research - State Library of NSW

The State Library of NSW is presenting full-day seminars in 2018 designed to provide attendees with an overview of key library collections and help to get their research underway, using a combination of demonstrations and hands on workshop sessions.
Brief information on the seminars below, for more information and to book click here:

Using Maps for Historical Research
25 July 2018 / 10 am to 3.30 pm
Maps can hold a wealth of information to enrich your history research or project. If you are a map novice, come along to hear about what they can show you, how to find them at the Library and be inspired by some of our favourites.

Family History Focus
22 August 2018 / 10 am to 3.30 pm
Family history research is where the personal and the historic collide. Join us for this National Family History Month event. Family History librarians will talk about unique collections at the Library and help you take your research to the next level.

Researching Your Bestseller
12 September 2018 / 10 am to 3.30 pm
Wanting to enrich the detail in a current manuscript or just have the beginnings of an idea for a writing project? Come along to this program of workshops and talks aimed at helping you to add in the right historical details, including looking for pictures, maps and more.

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10:15 AM10:15

Family history in Australia and the World

Join us at the Mitchell Library's Gallery Room for a workshop for family, local, public historians and others interested in the practice and meanings of family history around the world.

This family history session is presented by the Centre for Applied History with support from Ancestry.com.au and Macquarie University's Faculty of Arts, with in-kind support from the State Library of NSW.

For more program information and to book tickets click here

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to Jun 30

Call for papers: 2018 Annual ASRA Conference

2018 Australasian Sound Recordings Association (ASRA) call for papers, until 30 June.

This year's conference theme is 'Music, History and Technology'.
The conference will be held in Sydney at Studios 301 on 7-8 November. The committee are seeking paper proposals that explore stories from our sound recording heritage and which explain how recorded music, sound and speech inform and enrich our sense of place and time, our personal and community history, cultural identity, and professional or personal

We seek to include papers by experts and practitioners across the relevant disciplines including sound recordists, musicians, researchers, archivists, preservation specialists, collectors, oral historians, academics, broadcast professionals and creative practitioners.

For more information about ASRA and the conference including how to submit a proposal, please visit the conference page on the ASRA website

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