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Advanced Summer Institute

Content section: 

Applications for the 2020 Advanced Institute are NOW OPEN! 

About the Institute 

Man holding tape recorderThe Oral History Center is offering a one-week advanced institute on the methodology, theory, and practice of oral history. This will take place on the UC Berkeley campus from August 10-14, 2020.

We're aware that there is some uncertainty around the global COVID-19 pandemic. Depending recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, the Department of Health, and the California Governor's Office, we may need to change the date of the Advanced Institute to the fall. We will update our website if we need to move to a later date. In the meantime, if you apply and are later unable to attend, we can provide a full refund for your registration

The institute is designed for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, university faculty, independent scholars, and museum and community-based historians who are engaged in oral history work. The goal of the institute is to strengthen the ability of its participants to conduct research-focused interviews and to consider special characteristics of interviews as historical evidence in a rigorous academic environment.

We will devote particular attention to how oral history interviews can broaden and deepen historical interpretation situated within contemporary discussions of history, subjectivity, memory, and memoir.

Overview of the Week

Woman speaking in a classroomThe institute is structured around the life cycle of an interview. Each day will focus on a component of the interview, including foundational aspects of oral history, project conceptualization, the interview itself, analytic and interpretive strategies, and research presentation and dissemination.

Sessions will include oral history theory, legal and ethical issues, project planning, oral history and the audience, anatomy of an interview, editing, fundraising, and analysis and presentation. Participants will also work throughout the week in small groups led by faculty in which they will have the opportunity to workshop their projects.

Participants will be provided with a resource packet that includes a reader, contact information for fellow participants, and word templates used by OHC at different stages throughout the interview process. These resources will be made available electronically prior to the week, along with the schedule, and in hard copy upon check-in on the first day.

Applications and Cost

Small group around table outsideThe cost of the institute is $950. OHC is a soft money research office of the university, and as such receives precious little state funding. Therefore, it is necessary that this educational initiative be a self-funding program. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide financial assistance to participants. We encourage you to check in with your home institutions about financial assistance; in the past we have found that many programs have budgets to help underwrite some of the costs associated with attendance. We will provide receipts and certificates of completion as required for reimbursement.

Meals and Accommodations

Most meals must be arranged separately and on-campus housing may be arranged through OHC. In addition to on-campus rooms, this website offers many options for lodging in the Berkeley area.

We do provide some of your meals, including continental breakfast each day.

We are confident that the program we put together will help enrich your education and experience with oral history. We’re very proud of the group of scholars and practitioners we have assembled to make the 2020 Advanced Oral History Summer Institute a memorable one!


Please contact Shanna Farrell at sfarrell@library.berkeley.edu with any questions.