Although Oral History is a larger process, it revolves around Conducting the Interview to create a recording of the memory and experience of past events. An oral history interview is the product of a collaborative relationship between narrator and interviewer that is expressed in the shared authority of the history and meaning making process. Of course, without a narrator there is no recollection of the past, yet the act of Conducting the Interview makes both partners integral and requires a foundation of mutual trust and respect.
We spend time understanding how to best select narrators and the critical importance of the pre-interview meeting in building trust and explaining informed consent. We learn how to adopt an approach that is sensitive to raw and traumatic memories that can come up in an interview dealing with contested history in a post-conflict society. We zoom in on our most important research tool, questioning, and practice how to use this skill to lead and guide interviews in different ways, all the while learning about the necessary preparations before conducting the interview.