The Oral History Unit and Collective has organised two lunchtime online seminars in October, with guest speakers from the UK, Egypt and India.
Wednesday October 12th: Oral history and activism – guest speakers @TionneParris (Young Historians Project) and @Nandini Oza (Narmada Bachao Andolan)
Wednesday October 19th: Oral history with refugees and migrants – guest speakers Tania Gessi (Roma Support Group) and Nairy Abdel Shafy (Egyptian educator, and oral historian)
Oral history and activism – 12th October 1-2pm
How does oral history help us to better understand activism?
Can oral history contribute to activism?
Tionne Parris is a historian currently working on her doctorate degree at the University of Hertfordshire. She specialises in the American Black Power movement and is particularly interested in the influence of Black Radical Women on Black Protest Movements between 1930 and 1970. She is one of the coordinators at the Young Historians Project (UK), who work to encourage the development of young historians of African and Caribbean heritage in Britain. Their recent projects have sought to better understand and raise public awareness of underrepresented Black histories, like the role of African women in the National Health Service (1930-2000) and the Black Liberation Front (1971-1993).
Nandini Oza is a human rights and ecological activist, and an oral historian. She has been a full-time activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), a mass resistance movement against a mega dam on the river Narmada in western India, for over twelve years. Since 2004 she has recorded oral histories of prominent leaders and activists of the NBA, including many Adivasi women and men, and other natural resource dependent communities. She maintains a website and a YouTube channel on the oral histories of the Narmada struggle. She was President of Oral History Association of India (March 2020- March 2022) and is the author of Whither Justice: Stories of Women in Prison (2006), and Ladha Narmadecha (2017) translated into English in 2022 The Struggle for Narmada: an oral history of the Narmada Bachao Andolan by Adivasi Leaders Kehavbhau and Kevalsingh Vasave.
Oral history with refugees and migrants – 19th October 1-2pm
- How does oral history support our understanding of the refugee and migrant experience?
- Can oral history contribute to effective advocacy and awareness-raising initiatives to support refugees and migrants
Tania Gessi is a project lead at the Roma Support Group. She has implemented a wide range of Roma projects over the years, and is currently delivering a project called “Ketane – Together: Roma Shaping Futures”, which seeks to empower Roma communities with training, information resources, and specialist advice regarding living in a post-Brexit Britain. The Roma Support Group (RSG) is a Roma-led Registered Charity working with East European Roma refugees and migrants in terms of service provision but also promoting an understanding of Roma culture in the UK. Tania implemented the “Roma Stories” Oral History Project (2018-2020) which explored life before the Second World War, persecution during the war, discrimination in the home country, migration and life in the UK.
Nairy Abdel Shafy is an Egyptian educator, oral historian, and social researcher. She draws from her experience in volunteering and working with refugees through different local NGOs in Egypt and international humanitarian organizations to attempt at a documentation of identity and movement narratives for social change. She has worked on documenting personal stories within different communities: Nubians, Palestinian, and Syrian refugees in Egypt; Nepalis, Salvadorans and Puerto Ricans in the U.S. In 2020, she was the Oral History Coordinator at the Education 2.0 Research and Documentation Project documenting the Egyptian educational reforms. She holds an MA in Oral History from Columbia University, a BSc. of Political Science from Cairo University and is currently studying documentary filmmaking.
The Newcastle University Oral History Unit and Collective (NUOHUC) is directly involved in research and teaching on oral history and activism and has supported the Roma Stories Oral History Project. Unit staff with other colleagues in History, have designed and deliver a history undergraduate module Oral history and activism for Level 2 students. NUOHUC has been involved in a variety of research projects with activists and movements across the UK, for example: the Covid-19 and Mutual Aid project (Dr Alison Atkinson-Phillips and Silvie Fisch) and Andy Clark’s research and publications documenting the response of Scottish women to factory closure, particularly the wave of occupations that took place in 1981. We hope to expand and enhance our thinking around the relationship between oral history and activism and the value of undertaking oral history with refugees and migrants, by listening to and dialoguing with other experts in these fields.