Oral History Conferences and Workshops




A workshop called ‘The Recovery of Historical Memory’ was held by Laura Benadiba, President of the ‘Other Memories’ Association. The workshop was about methodology training for teachers of indigenous education. The ‘Other Memories’ Association has managed to incorporate oral historians from Latin America, Europe and the USA. The event was organised by Ms. Irais Piñon Flores, who co-ordinates the Program of the Indigenous Peoples and Cultures in Motion, in the Tijuana Cultural Centre, as well as by Dr Bibiana Santiago from the Institute of Historical Research of the Autonomous University of Baja California, in association with the Centre for Documentation and Educative Information of the Province of Buenos Aires.

The workshop was aimed at indigenous migrant teachers that live in Baja California, Mexico and was held on the 24 September at the José de los Reyes School of Indigenous Education, “The Pípila,” Colonia Obrera. The workshop was attended by teachers from diverse bilingual schools in Tijuana, with the focus of the dialogue on thinking of oral history as a methodology for social inclusion. That is to say that the new generations of Tijuanians that have descended from indigenous peoples such as Mixtec, Zapotec and Triqui are appropriating their historical memory, and the youth is now between two ways of seeing the world: that of their grandparents with their sense of community and the entirely new environment which is governed by a market system. The ways to preserve the historical memories of the grandparents as oral traditions was discussed in the workshop, as well as the myths, legends and oral histories of relatives who have migrated from their place of origin, and how they have incorporated themselves into the new environment. One point of interest for the teachers was that of bilingual education and its context. The historian Benadida emphasized the characteristics of the association she presides over, that of the sharing of methodological tools for social groups, where the recovery of historical memory would lead to the planning of actions which would then have direct repercussions in the immediate environments of the groups, so that this methodology would directly help them with social transformation.

Dra. Bibiana Santiago

Autonomous University of Baja California

Institute of Historical Research

Edificio 23, Calzada Universidad # 14418

Tijuana International Industrial Park
22390 Tijuana, Baja California


AES Oral History Project

An Ongoing testimonial to the Pioneers of Professional Audio

The Audio Engineering Society was formed in 1948 by a group of concerned audio engineers. With more than 14,000 members throughout the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Japan and the Far East, the AES serves as the pivotal force in the exchange and dissemination of technical information for the industry.

Initiated in 1997 by long-time AES member Irv Joel, mentored by organization elder statesman Bill Wray, and edited by AES Convention Historical Committee Chair Harry Hirsch, the Oral History Project is a huge commitment to posterity.  With over 100 interviews currently available on DVD, the AES OHP provides an invaluable link to the past, as the audio innovators who built the foundation of the industry personally describe their contributions.  From the late Les Paul (inventor of the electric guitar and multi-track recording) to engineering, production and technology innovators like Ray Dolby (Dolby Sound); Ioan Allen (Academy Award-winning pioneer of film sound technology);  Karlheinz Brandenburg (developer of MP3 format), and (multi-Platinum producer/engineer) Phil Ramone, this rich legacy represents a rare opportunity to revisit the milestones of pro audio. Their accomplishments brought the world from wax cylinders to analog LPs, stereo, digital CDs, Surround Sound and many other revolutionary developments.

Annual AES Conventions held alternately in NYC and San Francisco prove fertile grounds for new additions to the constantly growing OHP collection.  At NY’s Javits Center this year the production crew shot a number of major lights on the pro audio scene.  Among those was multi-Platinum engineer producer Tony Visconti, whose curriculum vitae includes work with such major artists as David Bowie, T-Rex, The Moody Blues, and Paul McCartney.

“We take advantage of the proximity of our ‘elder statesmen’ at our Conventions,” Harry Hirsch, who is also AES Historical Committee coordinator for the Oral History Project  reports.  “We have a terrific production team including cameramen John Chester and Noel Smith, and interviewer Paul Gallo, former publisher of Pro Sound News and many other key industry publications.  However,” Hirsch continues, also we shoot these hour-long interviews on location in the homes and studios of our subjects.  This past summer we shot a lengthy interview with architect/acoustician John Storyk in Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village.  Storyk was hired by Jimi Hendrix to design that studio in 1968.  Sadly, Hendrix only used it for a few months before his death. But the studio continues to churn out hits in its original location for artists ranging from U2 to The Rolling Stones.   Storyk has gone on to design studios for such major stars as Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.”

For a complete list of current AES Oral History DVDs please visit AES Oral History Project.






  1. AES Oral History Chair Harry Hirsch
  2. Platinum Producer/Engineer Tony Visconti
  3. Architect/Acoustician John Storyk (left) and Producer/Engineer (Eddie Kramer) at NY’s Electric Lady Studios
  4. Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar and multi-track recording




From 24 to 27 May, 2011, the VI Southern Regional Meeting on Oral History was held in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. It was attended by over 350 participants coming from different universities in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia and Italy. The program featured panel discussions by local and foreign researchers, including Paula Nascimento Maria Araujo, the President of the Brazilian Association of Oral History and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and Alessandro Portelli, professor at the University Degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, as well as roundtables which focused on diverse issues such as: ‘Images and Oral History’, ‘Sources and Oral History’, ‘Oral History and Military Dictatorship’ and ‘Practices in Oral History’. An important panel also took place at the end of the meeting, the theme of which was producing oral history methodology in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Parana and Santa Catarina. In the program, space was made for the presentation of works by postgraduates and PhD students through the organising of twelve different working groups: Memory, Identity and the Teaching of History; Ethnic or Regional Indentities; Tourism and Leisure: opportunities to research how oral history could be used as source and methodology; Narratives of Diversity: identity, knowledge, daily practices; History and Memories: narratives and identities; Social Movements, Gender and Sexuality: the research perspective of oral history; Oral History and Health; Oral History, Sport and Body Practices; Body: Discourse and Identity; Ordinary Working-Class Cultures from Extraordinary Sources; Oral History at the Boundaries between History, Anthropology and Orality; Cultural Heritage: historical issues in the present moment. Graduates were also able to present their work through the poster exhibition.

In the morning, there was an interesting forum for debate after the completion of two mini-courses. The first entitled ‘Memory, Narrative and Popular Music: methodological possibilities for the analysis of processes of displacement and migration’ was organised by the researchers Geni Duarte and Emilio Gonzalez. The second one, entitles ‘Oral History in History’, functioned as a kind of introduction to the subject, and was given by the professors Robson Laverdi and Pablo Pozzi.

Apart from the academic discussions, so important in an event of this magnitude, there was the opportunity to fraternize with those present through the platform of new books, magazines and links between researchers, especially in Latin America, through the RELAHO (Latin American Network of Oral History).

The meeting also served to reinforce research that is being conducted at the Centre for Historical Documentation (NDH) and the Laboratory of Oral History (LHO), at the Federal University of Pelotas, which brings together dozens of oral statements, which are available to the public.

The NDH is co-ordinated by professors Lorena Almeida Gill and Beatriz Ana Loner and has over forty scholars and volunteers who work on different themes such as the worlds of work, history and health, migration, people of colour, and gender.

Lorena Gill

[email protected]



Taking stock of the 10th National Meeting and 4th International Conference on the Oral History of Argentina: Those Voices That Reach Us from the Past

6-8 October 2011, San Luis

Held this time around in the province of San Luis from 6 to 8 October 2011, the Conference was co-organised by the Oral History Association of the Republic of Argentina (AHORA), the San Luis National University and the Oral History Association of St. Louis. The Tenth National Meeting and the Fourth International Conference on the Oral History of Argentina were both successful. The presentation of more than 300 papers, from research to communication, as well as the participation of historians from around the country specialising in the oral history of the continent – amongst whom we must highlight the historians of the Mexican Association of Oral History, Mario Camarena Ocampo and Gerardo Necoechea Gracia, and Ada Lara Meza and Robson Laverdi from Brazil, as well as Claudio Pérez Silva from Chile – along with the presentation of a number of publications, gave the conference a framework that has been growing both quantitatively and qualitatively in recent years. From the point of view of the volume itself, it is evident that there has been a significant growth in the study of recent history via the use of oral sources. From the standpoint of quality, the submitted papers were refereed using pre-established criteria, which meant that the papers were at the height of the increasingly demanding requirements of academic work.

It is worth noting that the opening ceremony of the Conference had the presentation of the latest work done on the documentary about the ‘history’ of oral history by the director, Ruben Kotler. The conference opened with a spectacle of dance and poetry, as well as the keynote speech which was delivered by the Nicaraguan MP Mónica Baltodano, entitled ‘Recollections of the Sandinista struggle: making and telling history’.

The Conference took place during three days of intense table discussions which combined research and communication. The discussions often continued during the breaks, which reveal the high level of interest provoked by the work presented. The issues raised by researchers followed the trends of previous gatherings: memory and militancy; memory and dictatorship; culture, art, storytelling and education; methodology; heritage; the world of work; territory and migration. These were the principal themes covered.

Amongst the debates held, we must highlight the roundtable discussions. On the 6th of October the roundtable discussion on ‘Oral History and Political History: the study of the Latin American left’ was held with the participation of the working group on ‘Violence and Politics in Latin America’ from CLASCO, Gerardo Necoechea Gracia from INAH, Mexico, Luiz Felipe Falcao from Brazil, Mariana Mastrángelo from UBA and Marcelo Langieri from CLACSO.

On the morning of the 7 October, a roundtable session was held on ‘Oral History and Heritage. It was attended by the panellists Nélida Agüeros from the Oral History Program of the Municipality of Cordoba, Liliana Barela, the representative of South America in the IOHA Council and Director General of the Heritage and Historical Institute of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, and María Avelina Rinaldi and Estela Beatriz de Dios from the National University of San Luis and the San Luis Oral History Association. In the evening, we witnessed the roundtable discussion entitled ‘Is there an oral history of Latin America?’ held by Gerardo Necoechea Gracia of the Mexican Association of Oral History, Pablo Pozzi, President of the Oral History Association of the Republic of Argentina and Claudio Pérez Silva from the University Academy de Chile. The Conference was closed with a flourish with the lecture ‘Who breaks the silence? Oral history, ethics and memory’ by Dr. Ludmila da Silva Catela from the Provincial Memory Archives of Cordoba.

The Challenges

The formation of the Latin American Oral History Network (RELAHO) has come to fruition. We have received the support of all the national oral history associations in Latin America. Going forward, this Conference has served in strengthening and contributing to the experience for the IOHA International Conference on Oral History, to be held in Buenos Aires from the 4th to the 7th of September, 2012.

By Graciela Browarnik, Adriana Echezuri and Alexia Massholder

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]