Saturday, March 31, 2012

Top four YouTube resources for oral history and folklore interviews

Over the past couple weeks, I've been doing a number of workshops introducing people to the art and techniques of doing oral history and folklore interviews. Along the way, I've shown a few YouTube videos to illustrate certain points.  For those of you who haven't been able to take in a workshop, I'm presenting my top four favourites below.

1) Why do Oral History?

The first is from the Minnesota Historical Society. Why is oral history important? What is oral history? How is it different than a simple interview? This is the first of a series of video podcasts prepared by the Society that addresses some of these issues.

2) How do you record an oral history interview?

Prepared by the East Midlands Oral History Archive based at the University of Leicester, I've used this video several times. I like how it presents the material in a "Do and Don't" fashion, which is great for a workshop.

3)  How do you get interesting answers?

In this video, Traditional Arts Indiana shares tips and suggestions for folklorists conducting fieldwork. The video discusses how to get complex answers instead of a yes/no response, an important trick for interviewers to know. I love the work that Traditional Arts Indiana is doing, and like the Minnesota Historical Society, they've produced a series of videos for folklore interviews.

4) What can I do with the information I collect?

This is one of my favourite YouTube videos that show what can be done with oral history material. Beautifully shot and edited, Jewish Care's Pearls of Wisdom campaign aims to highlight the value and importance of older people in today's ageing society. According to its YouTube page, it "challenges people, especially younger people, to alter their perceptions of this elder generation, presenting them as wise, funny and worthy of their attention."

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