Oral history is an interdisciplinary tool that has the power to bring more complexity, multivocality and urgency to work of any genre. For makers interested in documenting unheard voices, undertold stories, or generally enlivening their work with the historical phenomenon of everyday speech, this workshop will introduce oral history interviewing techniques as both a theoretical and practical mode of writing about the world. Students will practice interviewing and writing using oral history methods, as well as engage texts from a variety of periods and perspectives to get them thinking about their own complex points-of-view in this historical moment.
Svetlana Kitto is a writer and oral historian in New York City. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, The New York Times, VICE, Salon, ART21, and the book Occupy (Verso, 2012) among other publications and anthologies. Currently an interviewer on the Smithsonian Archives of American Art Visual Art and AIDS Epidemic Oral History Project, she has also contributed interviews to projects with the Museum of Arts and Design, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, and the Brooklyn Historical Society, where she developed and taught a writing workshop called “Racial Realities: Writing About Race in the First Person.” Additionally, she has taught or lectured at Columbia University, Pratt Institute, and Rutgers University - Newark. She co-curates the reading and performance series Adult Contemporary, which released its first book of art and literature in the fall. In early 2017, her oral history for the book Ken Tisa: Objects/Time/Offerings, published by Gordon Robichaux and Pre-Echo Press, was called a "genius catalog" by Holland Cotter of the New York Times.