All of our work is related to gathering, making sense of, and sharing your story.
People talk to oral historians because we listen – and that begins with you. We want to know about you and your organization. Why do you want to tell your story? Who needs to hear it? And why? With that, we work with you to spell out clear goals and to develop a scope of work that suits those goals, your schedule, and your budget. We're collaborative by nature and keep in close touch so you always know what's going on. We're also independent, which means we're low maintenance for you.
Leyla Vural puts together and leads the team that's best for each project. Our partners include interviewers, videographers, transcribers, audio editors, photographers, and printers.
life stories and autobiographies
Life story interviews are the crux of what we do. A professionally trained oral historian sits with you in a quiet, comfortable room of your choosing and listens. Oral historians ask open-ended questions that invite you to share your life story and reflect on it. We decide together in advance whether to audio record or film your interview. We'll also decide together how many times we will interview you to help you get your life history out of your head and onto a recording. We always transcribe interviews. Beyond that, again we’ll decide together how to make your story sing, be that in written form or with an audio piece or short film.
Do you want people to know about your organization's work? Its roots? Its mission? Who better to tell your organization's story than the people – founders, current leaders, staff, members, community allies – who are living it? Maybe you have an important anniversary coming up or insights from an advocacy campaign that can help inform activists in other organizations. We're all a part of history. Why not put your organization's on the record?
oral histories for advocacy
People speak best for themselves. There's nothing like life stories to turn an abstract issue into a human concern. We interview the people who have the kind of knowledge about an issue that only comes from lived experience. And we present their stories in ways that help a campaign for change achieve its goals.
Interviews can help people get to know one another and find common cause. They can help people develop an agenda for change and make that change happen. Together we'll develop a program that prepares the members of your organization with the tools to start listening to one another in new ways and to turn stories into action.
Interviewing also can help members of a community connect in new ways. If your group would like to launch its own oral history project, we can teach you the basics of interviewing, recording, archiving, and sharing stories.
Leave your loved ones more than your stuff; leave them your life story and the ideas and values you hold most dear. We'll record your story so you can share it with the people who matter to you – through audio, video, the transcript of your interview, maybe even a written manifesto.
Photo: Rosalee Grable waiting to visit Hart Island, New York City's potter's field, where her mother was buried in 2014. From "Paying Respects," an oral history project about Hart Island by Leyla Vural.