ARCHIVE AT THE HIGHER INSTITUTE OF TEACHER EDUCATION No. 808. Trelew, Chubut province, Patagonia, Argentina.

Our intention is to recuperate the collective institutional memory of teacher training, including aspects related to gender and life stories. We offer that our project is ambitious in terms of the social reality that Argentina and, specifically, Patagonia offers. Fluctuating policies in science and technology is linked to the administration and management of resources which, in turn, affects the development of research projects. .

In recent years, policies have promoted the recovery of (fundamentally traumatic) memories linked to periods of dictatorship. In light of this, we acknowledge that resources are not available for the conservation and classification of new archives.

The principal objectives of this project are to recover and preserve the memory within the context of teacher training. At the same time we seek to create of oral sources as well as promote and disseminate them in new research and specialised bibliographies.

The National College of Surat began the task of training elementary teachers in 1947. Beginning in 1972, the college began operating as a Higher Institute of Teacher Education, granting the diploma of Primary Education Teacher. Currently, the institute is organized into three programs: Initial Training, Training and Extension and Research, all of which are included in the archive project.

The project is organized into two basic stages. The first involves collecting and organizing bibliographic material as well as organizing necessary human and material resources. Currently, the team has two researchers and two student assistants working on the archive who are modeling this project on successful oral archives in Argentina, including the Archives of the Historical Institute of the City of Buenos Aires (IHCBA), Memoria Abierta [Open Memory], the Historical Archives of Cooperative Credit Movement and the Oral History Program at the University of Buenos Aires. Archives located abroad, such as the Archivo Sonoro [Audio Archive] of Galicia, the Eibartarren Ahote program of the Basque Country and the Archivo de la Palabra [Word Archive] of the Instituto Mora.

We are currently launching the second stage where we begin the task of who will be placed on a list to be interviewed. The choice of format of the interviews is semi-structured, open-ended recorded on CDs in MP3 format.

It is important to clarify that we have thought of adhering to the criteria proposed by Almut Leh under which the interviews for the archives, can only be done with the written consent of the interviewee, in addition to this agreement, attach a card with biographical data on it. The file will be used by the public why it is intended to have a written commitment from each of the researchers who have access to it.

This file is located, as we have said, in its gestation stage; promotes in the region, the use of oral sources and becomes the first file in Patagonia with the aforementioned characteristics.

Alejandra Llano and Patricia Zdravcoff [email protected]



The Center for Cultural Cooperation (CCC), located in the city of Buenos Aires, has become an active centre for creating experiences and meeting intellectuals and young researchers embarking from a Latin American and a Marxist point of view. In this sense, the creation of an oral archive is not simply a deposit for testimonies, but a space where in the voices of those who have participated in Argentine and Latin American politics can be gathered and heard .

Located in the Information Unit of the CCC, the archive hopes to create a place where oral sources can be consulted and exchanged. It also aspires to to be a forum where new lines of research can be explored and created.

The oral archive’s foundations were laid with a survey of the topic, defining a legal framework and establishing the archive’s physical and organizational configuration. At the same time, the oral archive “Subjectivity, Politics and Orality” began working towards creating an oral history of the CCC.

The archive was formally inaugurated on June 23, 2008 by Alexia Massholder Graciela Browarnik, project’s leader and research assistant with the Information Unit. Also present was Dr. Paul Pozzi, member Oral History Program, UBA and Council Member of the International Oral History Association, who spoke on the relationship between oral history and political commitment. On 1 July Prof. Daniel Plotinsky, head of the Department of Cooperatives a the Center for Cultural Cooperation and Director of the Historical Archives Cooperative, introduced a number of theoretical and methodological considerations when undertaking oral history interviews with witnesses to the cooperative movement. On 4 August, the oral history based documentary, El Tucumanazo by Diego Helueni and Ruben Kotler was screened to full hall. Following the documentary, a lively discussion and debate took place among a variety of guests, such as historian Rubén Kotler (National University of Tucuman) and audiovisual expert Pablo Martinez Levy (UNSAM), along with presence of several interviewees. On 6 October a roundtable discussion took place between historians Cristina Viano (Latin American Center for Social and Oral Hisory Research – CLIHOS-Universidad Nacional de Rosario), Vera Carnovale (UBA-Memoria Abierta) and Pablo Pozzi on the techniques used in interviewing political activists for oral history.

This issue has been and remains a topic of debate among historians, sociologists, anthropologists and journalists whose field of research is recent history.

Gender, legal and methodological issues during the interview as well as the political use of testimonies (particularly by those on the political right) were coordinated by Graciela Browarnik and Alexia Massholder, department researchers.

Alexia Massholder-Graciela Browarnik: Gender, legal and methodological issues during the interview as well as the political use of testimonies (particularly by those on the political right) were coordinated by Graciela Browarnik and Alexia Massholder, department researchers.

Alexia Massholder-Graciela Browarnik




Dr Helen Klaebe’s recent presentation at the IOHA Conference in Mexico included an excerpt from the ‘Responses to the 2008 Apology’ project and she promised to post an update once the stories were available online.

On the 13th February 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made an apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples on behalf of the Parliament of Australia. The State Library of Queensland, with assistance from Queensland University of Technology and Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, has captured responses to this historic event.

‘Responses to the 2008 Apology’ digitals stories were created as part of a pilot collection with a research team from the Queensland University’s Creative Industries Faculty, led by IOHA member Dr Helen Klaebe, in partnership with Indigenous interviewers and artists. The team included a mix of Indigenous community practitioners/researchers who already use storytelling and new media, but had not made digital stories or recorded oral history interviews.

The State Library of Queensland in Australia has a long-standing commitment to the collection of material that documents Queensland’s history, development, and cultural life. The Heritage Collections comprise three distinct collecting units: the John Oxley Library, the Australian Library of Art, and the Map Collection. The John Oxley Library is charged with the collection, preservation, and access to a comprehensive collection of library, archival, and other resources relating to Queensland or produced by Queensland authors. This now also includes the oral history and digital storytelling collections.

Until recently, digital storytelling has not generally been treated as a necessary addition to the research collections of Australian libraries and funds have not been allocated to digital storytelling creation or collection. However, libraries increasingly aim to promote new literacies and active audiences as they seek innovative ways to encourage life-long learning by their users, and digital storytelling is one methodology that can contribute to these goals. The State Library of Queensland is the only Australian State Library to have undertaken a major role in the collection of digital storytelling. It has led the way with their Queensland Stories digital storytelling program. SLQ’s role in digital storytelling as both a capacity builder with communities, a skills transference opportunity, and a builder of multi-media collections is not only ‘best practice’, it is the only practice of its kind by a State Library in Australia.

The collection will enable SLQ’s 320 regional libraries to coordinate similar projects and contribute to the sustainability of oral history and digital storytelling in Queensland. The project also promotes the collection of other associated material such as photographs, ephemera and websites. 
Links to all of the stories can be found through State Library’s Queensland Stories website at:

Or through YouTube:

Tiga Bayles
Sam Wagan Watson
Natalie Alberts
Jeremy Robertson

Nadine McDonald-Dowd


New at Monash University’s School of Historical Studies from 2009 

This innovative new postgraduate course, taught by international leaders in the field, integrates the study of oral history and historical memory. Oral history illuminates the lived experience of hidden histories and produces riveting historical documentary in books, radio and television, museum exhibitions and multi-media production. Historical memory is central to the contemporary cultural politics of witnessing, commemoration and reconciliation. Graduates of the Master of Oral History and Historical Memory will be fully prepared to undertake research degrees involving historical memory and may go on to work in the wide range of professions that make significant use of oral history and historical memory, including museums, television, radio and multi-media production, heritage and corporate history, community and family history.

This course is linked to three other innovative, applied Masters courses in: Biography and Life Writing, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Public History. Core units from each course are offered as electives on the other courses and thus facilitate interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation, for example between oral history and life writing, or oral history and public history. The linked courses offer students a wide range of choice and the opportunity to put together a program that meets their own interests. Joint research seminars introduce students to diverse and complementary research theory and method. Most students will take ‘placement’ units with partner organisations that develop work experience in a range of applied history contexts, including museums, community history, heritage work, oral history, native title and the history media.  

Course structure 
Students will complete a total of 72 points of study comprising 48 points at level 4 (two compulsory core units and two elective units), and 24 points at level 5 comprising either a major research project or a research project and Public History Placement (HYM5170). Taught units include: 
Recording oral history; theory and practice (HYM4660) – core unit 
History & memory: oral history, life stories & commemoration (HYM4200) – core unit 
Family history and genealogy (HYM4620/5620)
Genocide and colonialism (HYM4470/5470)
History, biography & autobiography (HYM4900/5900)
History and heritage (HYM4095/5095)
History and the museum (HYM4510)
Holocaust memories (HYM4290/5290)
Local & community history (HYM4820/5820)
Public History Placement (HYM5170)
Reading and writing Australian history (HYM4120/5120)
Reading and writing biography and life stories (HYM4280/5820)
Research methods in biography (HYM4270/5270)
or another elective from the History graduate program.

Not all units are taught each year. The course duration is three semesters full-time. A fast-track option (in which a research project is completed over the summer period) reduces Master’s study to one year full-time or two year part time. Student may enter mid-year. Students can exit with a Graduate Certificate of Arts (with 24 points) or a Graduate Diploma in Oral History and Historical Memory (48 points).  

Teaching team 
Professor Alistair Thomson (course convener) came to Monash in late 2007 from the University of Sussex where he established an international reputation for teaching and research in the fields of oral history and life history research, co-edited the British journal Oral History from 1990-2007, and was elected President of the International Oral History Association. Al’s oral history books – Anzac Memories (Oxford University Press, 1994), Ten Pound Poms (Manchester University Press, 2005) and The Oral History Reader (Routledge, 1998 and 2006) have pioneered new approaches to memory and oral history.
Professor Bain Attwood’s principal interests are Australian and New Zealand indigenous history, cross-cultural history, and history and memory. He is one of the leading scholars in the field of Australian Aboriginal history. Bain’s publications about historical memory include Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand, (Allen & Unwin, 2001) and Telling the Truth about Aboriginal History (Allen & Unwin, 2005)
Associate Professor Mark Baker is the recently appointed Director of the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation. Mark is the author of the prize-winning book about Holocaust memory, The Fiftieth Gate (Harper Collins, 1995) and has taught widely in the area of genocide studies. 
Professor Barbara Caine has published extensively in women’s history, the history of feminism and biography including, most recently, Bombay to Bloomsbury. A Biography of the Stracheys (Oxford University Press, 2005). She is writing a book on History and Biography for the Palgrave McMillan series on History and Theory. 
Dr Seamus O’Hanlon is an urban historian who has worked across several fields of public history. His publications include Together Apart; boarding house, hostel and flat life in prewar Melbourne, (ASP, 2002) and Go!: Melbourne in the Sixties (Circa, 2005).  

Entry requirements 
The completion of a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline area (eg. History, Anthropology, Sociology, Social Psychology) with at least a 70% average in the final year, or a Bachelor’s degree with demonstrable professional experience (three years in a relevant field or relevant publications), or with the permission of the course coordinator. Credit may be granted for prior  

A limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places (HECs) are available for this course. For application and fee details contact the administrative officer Liisa Williams listed below.

Graduate culture – a new venue in a vibrant city 
From 2009 the four linked History graduate courses will be formally linked as part of a new History Graduate Course Centre at the Monash Caulfield campus. Graduate course staff and students will enjoy the social and intellectual experience of learning in a supportive and inter-disciplinary environment. History graduate course teaching will take place at Caulfield on Monday to Thursday late afternoon and evenings and students will be encouraged to study and socialize with students and staff from the different courses, and to develop a collective history graduate student identity. History graduate courses recruit both full time and part time students, including many students who combine study with work and other commitments. For these students, the Caulfield campus, with its central position and excellent public transport links, is readily accessible, and advance timetabling within afternoon-evening teaching slots will help students to plan their study to fit in with busy lives.

Graduate students will also have ready access to Melbourne’s rich array of cultural and historical institutions, including the State Library of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum and Immigration Museum, the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre, the National Sports Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. 

Further information 
Course convener: Professor Alistair Thomson, School of Historical Studies, Monash University, Melbourne 3800, Australia; phone 03-99059785; email[email protected]
Administrative officer: Liisa Williams, phone 03-99052199; email [email protected]

For further details about the Monash history graduate courses, see the School of Historical Studies website (



Created in 1975, the Oral History Program of the Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil (CPDOC – Center for Research and Documentation of Brazilian Contemporary History) of the Getulio Vargas Foundation holds more than 5,000 hours of recorded interviews, in audio and/or video. Until the 1990’s, the recording technology adopted for the Program was all analogical based, consisting in cassettes and reel-to-reel formats. By the end of the 1990’s, magnetic tapes, specially the reel-to-reel ones, became very expensive and hard to find at the magazine shelves. At the same time, a great number of digital recording devices gained a market spread, with such formats as Minidisks, Digital Audio Tapes (DAT), among others. Many historical institutions in Brazil and around the world were tempted by the digitization of their collections by adopting DAT tapes. Today we know that this choice was quite premature, because DAT tapes would become obsolete in no more than 10 years. Fortunately CPDOC didn’t follow this tendency.

At this time, around 1990, a shift of paradigm occurred amongst sound archivists. It was realized that, in face of the audio carriers’ obsolescence and the replay equipment unavailability, audio preservation has to concentrate on the safeguarding of the content, not on the original carriers, and only the digital technology could provide this intent.
This new paradigm could be achieved with the Digital Mass Storage Systems (DMSS). Introduced by German radio stations, the DMSS generally consists of hard discs in an array, a digital tape copy for back up, and a series of servers for catalogue and online access. Initially used by radio stations, the DMSS soon became the choice of preference in audio archiving.

In the year of 2008, CPDOC started a digitization project to preserve and give access to the oral history interviews. So, a DMSS was introduced, as the best technical solution to preserve and, at the same time, to give access to the collection. CPDOC was pioneer in Brazil in introducing an oral history methodology. Then we can assert that maybe CPDOC is being pioneer for the second time, now introducing the first experience in Brazil by using a DMSS system in a historical institution.

It is important not to forget the concern that CPDOC’s staff also has with the conservation issues. Along with the specific digitization topics, it is imperative to have some strategic conservation tasks, to maintain the original carriers in good conditions. So, some cleaning procedures were introduced, such as the use of soft brush and compressed air to avoid dust and debris in the tapes. Some precautions with the replay equipments were also a concern, with the periodic alignment and demagnetization of the replay heads of the machines. The entire tape path is cleaned periodically with Isopropyl alcohol.

Hence, the current project of the digitization of more then 5,000 hours of interviews of the CPDOC’s Oral History Program is being achieved, following international standards of the preservation field and making possible the disposal of an important collection of unique historical value.

Marco Dreer Buarque
Audiovisual Preservation Expert – CPDOC
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



by Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe 

As a consultant Producer for ABC Radio National, I produced a 54 minute radio documentary based on the fascinating stories of five Australian servicemen who served in the Indian Ocean Region during World War II. An important aspect of this documentary is the prominence I have given to the experiences of these Australian military personnel in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The deployment of Australian servicemen in Ceylon is one of the least known and documented periods of Australian military history in WWII.

The genesis of this documentary commenced over the last 10 years when I found many references to the thousands of Australian military personnel who served in Ceylon during WWII. Two particularly interesting quotes stood out for me. For example, Private A. Parsons of the 17th Infantry Brigade stated in 1945: “‘Ceylon for Good Tea’ – that sign which dominates Colombo harbour haunted us…  The local customs were a source of never failing interest. Buddhism, with its weird and colourful ceremonies, was magnetic in its attractions. Their temples were grotesquely beautiful with an architecture all their own. Yes! Ceylon was interesting.” In addition, Keith Ross who was a Private in the 2/6th infantry battalion remembered his time in Ceylon: “We had just come from the Middle East, which was a bleak place… to this place [Ceylon] that was so colourful. Beautiful birds and flowers and food and an obviously wholly civilised people, this was a good experience. I was amused by the monks. I thought the monks looked very colourful and I thought the people were friendly and I quite enjoyed my time there…” Statements like these fascinated me as I was born in Sri Lanka and spent the early part of my childhood living there. However, since I have spent the better part of my life in Australia, I felt that I could strongly relate to both cultures.

My interest was again galvanized when I worked as a Senior Interviewer for the Australians at War Film Archive – the world’s largest film and oral history archive of its type. I had the opportunity to interview 200 war veterans, many having served in WWII.


I found the WWII generation of particular interest as they alone spoke about Ceylon with a sense of nostalgia. However, as an Australian of Sri Lankan descent with a tanned complexion, I was curious to see how the WWII generation who were brought up within the context of a ‘White Australia Policy’ would react towards me. As I never encountered animosity after my first weeks of interviewing my apprehension dissolved. Time and time again I was struck by how many Australian veterans knew about Ceylon and how highly they spoke of it. Equally interesting were the stories I heard about Australian troops packed in lorries waving and yelling in their larrikin style to stunned, yet flattered Tamil women tea pickers.

As it transpired I felt in most cases it was highly advantageous to have Sri Lankan roots.


My ethno-national identity became my icebreaker trump card once I engaged in a casual conversation on Ceylon over a cup of tea, cake and biscuits. I remember one particular veteran gazing at me and assertively asking, “Now young man which country did you come from?” knowing full well that he was probing to see whether I was of Italian origin. When I innocently told him I was born in Ceylon his response was a nostalgic, “Oh Ceylon!” Dark skin proved no barrier to me and frankly I relished the challenge it presented. The crucial lesson I learned was that the key out of any precarious situation with a veteran was to casually start a conversation alluding to Ceylon and it almost always worked. 
The five gentlemen I interviewed, who are participants in this documentary, provided outstandingly clear and detailed recollections of their time in Ceylon. I got along with them so well that I felt more like a friend having a yarn, rather than a historian conducting a formal recorded interview.

What particularly struck me about the people I interviewed was their vivid recollections of the Sinhala language and iconic locations. For instance, Graham Palmer, who grew up in the same suburb as me in Melbourne, was formerly an officer in the 2/6th infantry battalion and still recalled how to say the word Kabaragoya, which is the Sinhala word for a monitor lizard commonly found on the island. Many of the participants also recalled their memorable visits to famous landmarks in Ceylon, which included the Galle Face Hotel, Grand Oriental Hotel, Mt. Lavinia Hotel and the historic Galle Fort.

Also, I learned that St. Peters’ College, my old school, was commandeered into a hospital and barracks, which was run by a medical unit of the Australian Army. In fact, Australian troops were deployed over a wide area stretching from Kalutara (fittingly was the town where my father was born in 1939), right down to Galle (my father’s ancestral home or ‘Walauwa’) and Matara, and as far inland as Avissawella. These locations were of immense strategic value as it was deemed that the Japanese were likely to land in the vulnerable south western coastal zone of Ceylon.

War in the Indian Ocean can be downloaded online as a podcast up until December 2nd from Hindsight, ABC Radio National website: See also the colourful online image gallery:

Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe


[Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe is a Military Historian and the Director of SDR Consulting. Sergei has worked as a Senior Interviewer for the Australians at War Film Archive, and was also the Consultant Military Historian to the acclaimed documentary production, Shipwreck Detectives Series II, Vanishing Ships of War (2007). In addition, he has conducted numerous seminar presentations, published articles widely and has extensively engaged with the media.]




My Yorkshire is an innovative digital storytelling website for community history. My Yorkshire is helping communities to become digital storytellers in partnership with museums; combining the age-old art of storytelling with multimedia.  This exciting website is helping to make material collected during museum community history projects more accessible whilst also improving access to existing oral history archives across the region.

This website stems from a partnership of ten varied museums from around the Yorkshire and the Humber region. Each partner runs their own individual community oral history project, funded by Renaissance Yorkshire, the regional Museums Hub. Partners agreed unanimously that the oral histories they were collecting and were guardians of should be used and accessed by the general public and not just stored and left on a shelf. And so My Yorkshire was born.

The website tells the often intriguing and entertaining stories of local villages, towns and cities and the communities that live in them. Stories include those of Violet’s new teeth, hay making in the Dales, Kirklees sporting heroes and what living life in Yorkshire means to people today.

These memories are now more accessible and are displayed in a digital format, as audio or video, accompanied by images.  The initial content of My Yorkshire came from the ten main partner museums. However there has been so much interest in this sustainable resource that there are plans afoot to expand the content providers to other projects and museums across the region and further afield.

Displaying oral histories online in a bitesize digital format allows people’s memories to be kept alive and users of the web to view them from all over the world. There could be many ways to use these stories in the future for education, learning and community benefit. The partnership believes that publishing them through a digital gateway allows them to be used as living resources.

Visit My Yorkshire at