This has been another successful year for Oral History Victoria. We’ve had a tremendously hard-working and collegial committee and I thank them all, collectively, for their efforts. Most of this year’s Committee have agreed to continue into the next year, but I want to thank two colleagues who have been active contributors in recent years and are stepping down to take on other challenges, Carissa Goudey and Katrina Lolicato. We also have several OHV members who are nominating at the AGM to join the committee for the first time. It’s great to have both experience and renewal. The new and continuing nominees for the Committee come from the range of contexts within which oral history is practised (including professional history, public history institutions, community history, activism and education) and will combine experience with new energy and ideas to continue OHV’s good work and take it in new directions.
Events are the core work of OHV. Rochelle Lade, with support from Carissa, Jodie Boyd and other committee members, developed and ran an impressive program of events this past year. We have continued to run two sets of training workshops (in partnership with City of Port Phillip Emerald Hill Library) and in 2017 enjoyed excellent enrolments and very positive evaluations for the Oral History introductory workshops facilitated by Sarah Rood (in March and August) and for Advanced Workshops on Audio Editing (Sarah Rood, April) and Writing Oral History (Al Thomson, September). We’ll repeat this cycle of early and mid-year, Introductory / Advanced workshops in 2018 – though we are also hoping to run a regional training workshop in Gippsland and perhaps a more intensive training event for experienced oral historians. Other events in 2017 included a Melbourne launch for the Australian Generations oral history project publication Australian Lives; a one day symposium on Oral History in a Digital Age (hosted once again by COASIT and Museo Italiano); and the 2017 Innovation Awards presentations at this year’s AGM (for which we shortlisted four excellent projects). The “Oral History Victoria Ideas and Skills Exchange” was a different type of OHV innovation in 2017. Held every few months on Tuesdays at The Moat cafe bar near the State Library, and facilitated by an OHV committee member, this was a sociable opportunity for members to come along and discuss their oral history projects and get advice about issues and challenges. Our next Exchange will be on 14 November. The new committee will meet on 27 November to plan an enticing events program for 2018 – we look forward to suggestions from members.
Social media is essential for promoting and showcasing OHV events and news. Over the past year Jessica Ferrari and Carissa Goudey have managed and improved the OHV website by adding a “Member’s Recent Work” section which provides a platform for members to showcase their recent projects. Christin Quirk has continued to run the lively OHV Facebook site even after she stepped aside from the Committee.
These activities and media have boosted membership over the 100 mark; 114 at last count, pending confirmation from our Membership Secretary Marie Nunan who is currently enjoying a well-earned break after managing membership applications this past year.
Some of the work that sustains a voluntary organisation like ours is less obvious, so I want to highlight the effective and highly valued contributions of our Treasurer Jodie Boyd, our Secretary Ken Berryman, Rewind Editor Halina Nowicka, and Vice President Susan Faine. The work of all our officers and committee members has been facilitated by the invaluable partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria which has hosted committee meetings and other OHV events.
Our Constitution only permits the President to serve a three-year term, so I’m stepping aside at the AGM after three years in the role, though I am happy to continue to serve on the Committee. I am confident that there will be other well-qualified candidates to take on OHV leadership roles into the future. In September I was elected President of Oral History Australia. The latest OHV Rewind includes details of some of my plans for national activities in the coming year – including a project to help save Australia’s oral history heritage. I’ll keep you posted.
Alistair Thomson, President, Oral History Victoria, 2015-17