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Oral history is a method of understanding the past through oral accounts, such as an interview or conversation. It is the study of the past as it is remembered in the present. What is remembered and why is vitally important in oral history. Meaning and memory can be found in the words spoken, as well as in the voice or gestures of the individual.

People's relationship to their own stories, where they linger and what they skip over, helps us understand the logic of waht we are hearing. The life story approach is a practice within oral history. This approach finds meaning the context of a live lived. It also puts memory front and centre, which in the case of human rights and genocide, is a rare practice. More typically, interviews are conducted only for information and very little space is given to the larger story. (Steve High, Life Stories of Montreal). Video interviews are a great way to capture both what is shared and how it is conveyed.

Download chapter 4 under the book for a more in-depth discussion on conducting oral histories in the classroom and see below for tips on video interviews (under Book).

Witness has resources online in 17 languages about how to conduct a video interview.

The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide is a good place to get basic concepts of interviewing and oral history.

The Apathy Is Boring site and the Hoodstock festival are examples of artists getting involved in issues and trying to make a difference.

To see some examples of videos made by newcomer youth - explore the LINC for Youth Video Project