Oral History and the Art of the Interview

Instructors: Gregory L. Sharrow and Andy Kolovos
Price: $95

In the spirit of ethnographic research, an interview offers the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of another person. The premise of our interview methodology is that everyone is the foremost authority on their own life, and an interview offers the opportunity to capture a person’s experience in the their own words and on their own terms. 

We see interviewing as a deeply human activity that can foster a sense of empathy and understanding between interviewer and interviewee, even if their life experiences are very different. From this perspective, the interview is driven by both respect and curiosity, which form the basis for asking meaningful questions. A key tool is focused listening, which enables the interviewer to fully engage with what the interviewee is saying and thoughtfully steer the interview process. 

This workshop will offer a forum to explore these basic concepts in a conversational setting, as well as an opportunity to observe a demonstration interview. Participants will get hands-on experience conducting a mini-interview and working with digital audio recording equipment. Workshop participants with also have ongoing access to Vermont Folklife Center staff for consultation as they later undertake their own oral history, ethnographic and qualitative research projects.