"Collaborative & Reciprocal Approaches to Research" with Olivia Cadaval and José A. Centeno-Meléndez, a Top-Off Oral History Workshop with the DC Oral History Collaborative
August 1, 6-8pm, Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library
This workshop will focus on the importance of establishing collaborative and reciprocal relationships with oral history participants in community-based research projects. While not always made explicit in the transcripts of life history interviews, building relationships founded upon trust and mutual understanding can help produce oral histories that are meaningful for both the interviewer and interviewee. Using oral history and ethnography as our methodological launching points and Latinx DC history as our backdrop, we will brainstorm different forms that reciprocity can take during the oral history process. Throughout the workshop, participants will also have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Latinx DC community histories by listening to snippets of previously recorded life history interviews. Finally, participants will have space to design collaborative approaches to oral history projects that are sensitive to the stories that community members want to share and preserve.
Olivia Cadaval is currently research associate, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She recently retired as curator and chair of Cultural Research and Education at the Center. Since joining the Center in 1988, she has curated and co-curated numerous Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs including On the Move: Migration across Generations (2017) and Perú: Pachamama (2015). In addition, she has produced curriculum enrichment materials, exhibitions, and online portals, including the bilingual site “Assembling the Festival Program: Colombia.” She has worked extensively on documentation, public programs, and education projects in the Latino community of Washington, D.C. and currently worked on the project, La Esquina: Latino Life on a Mt. Pleasant Corner. Her publications include Creating a Latino
Identity in the Nation's Capital: The Latino Festival (1998). Olivia has contributed to such publications as Urban Odyssey, Creative Ethnicity, Washington at Home, the Journal of American Folklore, New York Folklore, the Journal of Folklore Research, and the Public Historian. She is co-editor and author for Curatorial Conversations: Cultural Representation and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (2016), which recently received a Secretary’s Research award. Olivia holds a Ph.D. in American Studies and Folklife from George Washington University.

José A. Centeno-Meléndez is a PhD Candidate in the Department of American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, and recently completed a predoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Latino Center and Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. His personal, educational, and professional trajectories have taught him about the important roles oral history plays in historical research, documentation, and preservation efforts that center on human experiences. José has been contributing oral histories for the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Latino DC History Project and the Voces Oral History Project (based in Austin, Texas) since 2016. These experiences have informed his own work, which documents cultural and spatial changes within Washington, DC’s diverse Latinx communities from the 1960s to 1990s. José received his Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a minor in US Latina/o Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2012.

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