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Training: oral history interviewing for beginners

November 12, 2022 - November 19, 2022

Saturday 12 November AND Saturday 19 November

Have you always wanted to learn how to create an oral history interview? Or do you have an interest in recording the memories of elders in your family or community? Maybe you’re wondering whether or not to record remotely, or you’re thinking about conducting face-to-face interviews.

This popular Oral History Victoria two-day online training workshop is for anyone who would like to learn how to prepare, conduct, record and document an oral history interview. Facilitated by two of Australia’s most experienced oral history trainers, and using Zoom technology, you will learn and practice essential interview techniques and discuss important ethical issues.

After the first Saturday sessions, you will conduct your own oral history interview (remote recording or face-to-face), which will be a learning resource in the second Saturday sessions. The workshop will be limited to 16 participants to enable lively discussion and practical work in an online format. Participants will need a computer with wifi connection – the Zoom link will be provided, along with Zoom instructions.

Feedback from participants on this course in previous years:

‘Fabulous. Loved it!’

‘A wonderful learning experience. I’ve definitely fallen in love with oral history too!’

‘I loved the course – learned so much on so many different levels, far more than I would have expected in 8 hours. Well done on awesome Zoom teaching.’

‘Thanks so much for providing us with such a great course. I have already promoted future courses to my friends.’

Course fees: $60 for OHV/OHA members, $40 for OHV/OHA student/concession, $120 for non-members and $80 for non-member student concession. 

Trainer profiles

Sarah Rood is a professional consulting historian who has been working in the field for the past 20 years. She has seen the uses and applications of oral history change drastically. Motivated by a desire to help communicate the past and to help connect individuals and communities with history and identity Sarah has recorded countless oral history interviews. Firmly believing that everyone has a story to tell, Sarah aims to work with people to record their stories in a way that both documents their experiences and ensures that (with permission) it can be accessed by others in the future. Exploring the relationship between new technologies and oral histories has become a particular area of interest for Sarah in recent years. Similarly, the interplay between the tangible and the intangible and how this plays out in oral history is a constant source of intrigue for Sarah.

Alistair Thomson, Professor of History and national award-winning teacher at Monash University, taught his first oral history workshop in 1985 at the Wangaratta Centre for Continuing Education and has been teaching oral history in both community and academic settings ever since. Al is currently President of Oral History Australia. His oral history books include: Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend (1994), The Oral History Reader (2016), Ten Pound Poms: Australia’s Invisible Migrants (2005), Moving Stories: an intimate history of four women across two countries (2011), Oral History and Photography (2011), and Australian Lives: An Intimate History (2017). Al is currently leading a research project about the history of fatherhood in Australia, and conducting interviews for an oral history of General Motors Holden.

Bookings information

Discounted tickets: The discounted member rate is available to current members of Oral History Victoria and other State associations of Oral History Australia.

Staggered release: Tickets are released first to Victorian members of OHV (2 Oct), then a week later to interstate members of state associations (9 Oct), and finally to non-members on Sunday 16 October.

Click here to book your place.

Training program

Session 1, Saturday 12 November, 9.30am – 12.00 noon – Planning To Do Your First Oral History Interview

  • The value & challenges of oral history
  • Brief history and definitions of oral history
  • Planning an oral history interview project
  • Developing an interview guide
  • Recording equipment


Session 2, Saturday 12 November, 1.15pm – 4 pm – Conducting Your First Oral History Interview

  • Setting up in interview
  • Audio recording skills
  • Listening skills and question skills
  • Practice interviews
  • Discussion of lessons learnt from practice interviews

Home-work interviews: Between sessions 2 and 3, all participants are expected to conduct and record an oral history interview, either face to face or by remote recording. You will bring an extract from the interview to play and discuss in sessions 3 or 4.

Session 3, Saturday 19 November, 9.30 am – 12 noon – Learning from practice interviews

  • Play and discuss practice interview extracts from participants

Session 4, Saturday 19 November, 1.15 – 4 pm – Documenting oral history interviews

  • Why you need to document your interviews
  • Interview summaries
  • Interview logs (timed summaries)
  • Transcription (review & discuss examples of participants’ work)
  • Software options – including voice recognition
  • What next?



November 12, 2022
November 19, 2022
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