2018 Annual Conference of the OHS and OHNI, Queen’s University Belfast

Call for Papers: Dangerous Oral Histories: risks, responsibilities and rewards.

Venue: Riddel Hall, Queen’s University Belfast, 185 Stranmillis Road, Belfast BT9 5EE

Date: Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June 2018

This joint conference of the Oral History Society and the Oral History Network of Ireland addresses the ethical and legal implications of oral history research. It presents a timely opportunity to explore the many issues raised by challenging projects, such as: What is an acceptable level of risk for interviewees/interviewers in the oral history process? What are the new responsibilities of the oral historian in a digital age? What are the rewards for initiating ‘dangerous’ oral history projects on ‘difficult’ topics, and when do the risks outweigh them? From this starting point, the conference organisers wish to solicit papers on all aspects of risk, responsibilities and rewards – and offer the following suggestions, whilst also welcoming other imaginative proposals addressing our theme of dangerous oral histories.

Conference sub-themes include:

Methodology: personal safety, dangerous practices, the ethics of interviewing
Risks and challenges for researchers: copyright, ownership and consent
Interviewing on the edge: criminals, illegals, war survivors
Working with victims: adapting process, practice and outputs
Oral histories of conflict and struggle: community activists, security personnel, ex-combatants
Oral history in totalitarian and post-totalitarian societies
Oral histories of disasters and catastrophes
Oral history’s relationship with official secrecy and security
Interviewee risk in sharing/telling stories: re-traumatisation, ruptures within families/workplaces/communities
Justice contexts: prison-based oral history
Oral history, trauma and abuse: the unspoken
Illness, death and end-of-life narratives
Environmental risk and danger: disasters
Work-based hazards and accidents
Discord and danger in community history
Sexuality narratives: discrimination, illness, illegality
Reuse of archived oral histories on challenging and controversial topics
Practical strategies for interviewers working in dangerous areas
Ways of mitigating risk: risk assessment, training, the role of ethics committees
Responsible collection and archiving practices: including the implications of the Boston College Project
Teaching dangerous oral histories
Museums as ‘safe’ spaces for dangerous and challenging oral histories
PROPOSALS

The deadline for submission of proposals is now 10 January.

Each proposal should include: a title, an abstract of between 250-300 words, your name (and the names of any co-presenters, panellists, etc), your institution or organisation, your email address, and a note of any particular requirements. Most importantly your abstract should demonstrate the use of oral history or personal testimony and be directly related to the conference theme. Proposals that include audio playback are strongly encouraged.

Proposals should be emailed to the Dangerous Oral Histories Conference Administrator, Polly Owen, at polly.owen@ohs.org.uk. They will be assessed anonymously by the conference organisers, and presenters will be contacted in January/February 2018.

ORGANISING GROUP Anna Bryson, Arlene Crampsie, Ida Milne, Sean O’Connell, Rob Perks, Adrian Roche, Mary Stewart, Juliana Vandegrift.

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