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Then, Now, Next: Oral History and Social Change Exhibit

April 29, 2015 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Oral history has the potential to transform public dialogue about the most important issues of our time–race and police violence, income inequality, gentrification, the crisis of democracy–by amplifying diverse voices in the public sphere, providing new perspectives and historical context.

How can oral histories help us understand and catalyze social change? This interactive, multimedia pop-up exhibit, curated by the students and faculty of the Columbia Oral History Master of Arts program, will present eleven projects engaging this question from eleven different angles, asking:

How do experiences of collective power become myths, and how do these myths generate or defuse new waves of activism?
How do stories of urban places nurture resilient communities?
How are living traditions of resistance passed down between generations and how are these traditions disrupted?
How do personal stories about the past document injustice and provide clues to a new way forward?
How do we use knowledge of history to imagine and create the future we want?

Audience members will be invited to don headphones and dip into immersive community spaces, including a sultry jazz club, a midwife’s office, and a neighborhood hair salon.

Exhibits include:

Church as Community: St. Augustine’s on the Lower East Side by Kate Brenner

Building Bridges: Stories from a Homeless Shelter by Leonard Cox

Word Up Community Bookshop Oral History Project by Benji de la Piedra

The Neighborhood Hair Salon as Living Oral History Archive by Jonathon Fairhead

BlackMother: Stories Surrounding Childbirth & Remembrances of Traditional Birth Workers in the American South by Nicole JeanBaptiste

Refugee Resettlement in Orange County by K Lee

The Human Be-In Teach-In by Steven Palmer

Personal Storytelling as Advocacy by Steven Puente

Guardians in the NYPD by Liz Strong

Paying Respects: Stories of Friends and Family Buried in New York’s Potter’s Field by Leyla Vural

Gathered Time: Hearing Change in Jazz by Erica Zora Wrightson


April 29, 2015
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


The Refectory at Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway
New York, New York 10027

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