This morning, in the kitchen of a sorority lodge in Atlanta (our makeshift oral history workshop camp cabin), it’s quiet. After two days of intensive workshopping, talking about Atlanta foodways, exploring oral history methods and approaches, and listening to guest lecturers and SFA oral history narrators, we’ve set our 2016 oral history workshop participants loose in pairs throughout Atlanta to record their own oral histories.
There will be stories of farmers and vegan soul food proprietors, bureka and barbecue traditions, old and new.
Each year during this workshop (normally based in Oxford, Mississippi but for the first time based in Atlanta) we focus on some aspect of oral history and try to tackle it in one week.
This year we draw our specific attention to fieldwork, approaching and listening to other people. Specifically, how vitally important this work is, but especially right now. Listening is possibly the most difficult thing to do, but when it is done well it is transformative. Not just for the interviewer and narrator, but for each person who reads, listens and watches these interviews now and in the years to come.
Keep your eyes peeled for more reports and dispatches from the participants’ Atlanta fieldwork. I’m immensely proud of them, and it’s only Wednesday.