New president for OH NSW

OH NSW has a new president, Dr Shirleene Robinson. Dr Robinson is an historian and Associate Professor at Macquarie University. She is passionate about oral history and the histories of Australian LGBTIQ people and their contribution to our society. She has published many books, including the co-authored Gay and Lesbian, Then and Now: Australian Stories from a Social Revolution. She is also the President of Sydney's Pride History Group. In 2017, The Conversation named Shirleene as one of Australia's top fifty thinkers.

Departing president Anisa Puri has stepped down as she is relocating to Melbourne. Her calm efficiency, capable management and vision for meeting the needs of the expanding OH NSW community will be greatly missed. In a letter to OH NSW members she writes 'It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve as Oral History NSW's President, and to work with our active, vibrant and diverse oral history community in New South Wales and the ACT. I wish each of you, and the organisation, every success in the future.'

New Oral History NSW award launched - applications open now

Oral History NSW is excited to announce a new annual award for community-based oral history projects, the Oral History NSW Excellence in Community History Award. The $500 award is designed to acknowledge the work of individuals or community groups who are recording the histories of their communities. Eligible projects may include the development of new oral history collections, digital and multimedia projects (including websites or podcasts) and printed publications based on oral history interviews.

The prize is open to community-based oral history practitioners. This includes members of volunteer organisations, professional historians and freelance workers. The winner will be chosen by a committee of three oral historians based on the project’s contribution to understandings of community history and the quality, originality and/or significance of project outputs.

Applications are open now, and close on June 30. All details can be found here.

And the successful applicant is ...

Ruth Melville has been selected as the recipient of the Oral History NSW conference grant of $1200.

'I’m grateful to be the recipient of the Oral History NSW grant, which will enable me to attend the Oral History Society and Network Ireland Annual Conference to be held in Belfast in June 2018,' Ruth says. 'The conference theme is Dangerous Oral Histories: Risks, Rewards and Responsibilities and I will be presenting a 15 minute paper that reflects on writers’ experiences working with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. I look forward to reporting back to our members about the conference and its many interesting sub-themes.

Queanbeyan Heritage Festival

The Queanbeyan Region Heritage Festival, running April 4—May 6, offers a full and engaging program of events including the Queanbeyan Region Heritage Awards, an open day at the Queanbeyan Museum, family history workshops in different locations and an exhibition of mechanical musical instruments at a farm in Jembaicumbene. Most events are free though in some cases bookings are required. One event that will fill up early is an oral history workshop on Saturday April 28 with a panel of oral historians: ANU's Dr Alexandra Dellios, Bill Stephens OAM who has created many recordings in the National Library of Australia’s oral history collection, John McGlynn of Queanbeyan Museum and Marion Meiske who is currently collecting stories of Gundaroo. Details here; full program here.



New grant opportunity

Oral History NSW is delighted to invite applications for a new grant, designed to support  the use and practice of oral history in regional areas. The Oral History NSW Regional Engagement Grant  offers $1500 biannually, to help successful applicants bring a project to fruition through additional training, meeting project costs or mentoring assistance.  Details here.

Community Heritage Grants - applications open now

Community Heritage Grants is a federally funded grants program, operating since 1994, which offers grants of up to $15,000 to assist in preserving cultural heritage collections of national significance. Not-for-profit organisations, such as historical societies, regional museums, public libraries and Indigenous and migrant community groups throughout Australia, are encouraged to apply. The round opened on March 5 and closes on May 7 2018. More information and application details here.

New Zealand oral history conference 2018 - details announced

The National Oral History Association of New Zealand (NOHANZ) invites abstract submissions for its biennial conference, to be held at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, on November 28-29 this year. The conference theme is "Te Waha Kairongorongo e": The Voice in Time and Space. It focuses on the sweet sound of the voice, the singers of tales (te waha kairongorongo), storytellers, and the resonance of the voice through time and space. Abstracts need to be submitted by Friday June 29 - more information and application details here

Australia Day accolade

Congratulations to Kevin Bradley, currently the National Library's Acting Assistant Director General; Collection Management, who received a medal for public service in the recent Australia Day Honours list. The award recognised his work in oral history and digital preservation - read the citation below:

For outstanding public service through the digital preservation of audio visual heritage material. Mr Bradley has been the driving force in the development of innovative approaches to preserving, and providing Australians with access to, the National Library of Australia's significant collection of unique oral history and folklore recordings.

He has developed a fifteen-year plan to digitally preserve the National Library's audio collection, recognising that the imminent obsolescence of play back equipment risked the future loss of unique heritage. No other cultural institution is as far advanced in digital preservation of its audio collections, and the National Library's outcomes have been achieved entirely within existing resources. He is a world expert in the preservation and digitisation of audio visual archival heritage material and was President and Executive member of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) and UNESCO's Memory of the World Subcommittee on Technology and Information for All Programme Technical Committee. As Vice-Chair of the IASA Technical Committee, and with their input and support, Mr Bradley edited and wrote much of the content of the 'Guidelines for the production and preservation of digital audio objects' which has become an international standard. 

Exciting new resource from the State Library of NSW

State Library of NSW recently launched an online guide to its Oral History and Sound collections.

Having actively collected oral history and sound since the 1980s, its collection of oral histories, radio interviews, talks, podcasts and recordings of performances and seminars is the largest in NSW and one of the largest in Australia.

The guide explains how to find, then access, the Library's collection, including:

Amplify – The Library’s growing collection of online interviews offering access alongside computer-generated transcripts. 

Catalogue search - 12,000 hours of analogue and reel to reel taped interviews and sound artefacts, recently digitised to enhance online access in the future.

Collection Highlights – which offers a snapshot of significant parts of the oral history and sound collections such as Industry and Working Life, Art and Artists, Local History, Indigenous Australians, Migration, Gay and Lesbian Life and Sydney Harbour.

It also includes listings of other State Library and online resources useful to people studying or interested in oral history theory and practice, promotes a sample of worksin the Library’s collection that are the end products of oral history work and has links to over 50 online oral history related websites in Australia and internationally. The guide is to be welcomed as it raises the profile of State Library of NSW's oral history collections considerably.

New OHA Journal now available

The 2017 Oral History Australia Journal draws much of its content from papers given at the very successful OHA conference held in Sydney in September 2017. This is the first edition of the journal to be available online only. If you're a member of an affiliated Oral History Australia association you can access the latest edition at the OHA website, using the log-in details that have been emailed to you.