A history is contested when many different sides claim they have the truth of what happened or what it might mean to us today. By gathering the voices, experiences, and memories of narrators with different points of view and different perspectives, we gain insights into what is contested, controversial, and conflicted, and might be able to move beyond it.
How do we create a pool of narrators who represent diverse perspectives? How do we avoid the dominance of one perspective over the others? How do we ensure our research reflects these multiple perspectives?
Warm-up (10 minutes):
We ask the participants to suggest ideas on how to use an Oral History research project to reflect the multiperspectivity of a contested history, such as the history of the Civil War in Lebanon (1975-1990).
We ask the participants to identify classifications of possible narrators to ensure a representative sample of a wide range of different voices, perspectives, and experiences. We write down possible classifications on flip chart paper.
Group Work (40 minutes):
The participants return to the same groups they formed in session Building Blocks of a Research Project, if they completed this session, or we form 3-4 groups who will work together.
Each group takes a copy of Handout 20: Imaginary Narrators Pool, and goes through the exercise.
Each group prepares a flip chart paper with their topic, research question (see facilitator notes), and suggested pool of narrators. They put their flip chart paper on the wall when finished.
Group Presentations (20 minutes):
We invite the participants to walk through the gallery displaying their work. Each group takes 5 minutes to present the narrators they would seek to ensure multi-perspectivity in their project.
Plenary Discussion (20 minutes):
We then take time to discuss the participants’ group work and our learnings.