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Are you fluent in Papiamentu?

We are looking for people fluent in Papiamentu to record short fragments on their phones.

Curaçao has a lot of old audio material that is of value for the historiography of the island. Consider, for example, the oral history interviews Rose Mary Allen conducted in the 1980s and 1990s. This is important heritage, but unfortunately Papiamentu is not yet included in AI speech recognition software. This hinders people from quickly and efficiently transcribing audio recordings in Papiamentu and making the material accessible.

Together, we can solve this problem! We can train the software with the beautiful sounds of Papiamentu so that we can easily convert spoken texts Papiamentu into written texts. But for this we need your help.


The recordings take a maximum of 30 seconds and it can be done simply with a phone. We understand that your time is precious, but it won’t take much time. We will provide the lyrics, all you have to do is read aloud, record it and mail it to us.


The more people participate, the better we can train the programme. With your contribution, we will ensure an important development for the heritage of Curaçao and Papiamentu!


Want to join? Email us for more information and the texts at


The call is also available for download in pdf-format. Sharing the call is appreciated.


Photo: ‘Curaçao, W.I., WILLEMSTAD, Entrance


Translated with

Call for Papers for the 9th Symposium of the Finnish Oral History Network FOHN

Memory in Movement: Pace, Connection & Introspection

28th–29th November 2024, University of Jyväskylä, Finland


This conference critically explores the concept of ‘movement’ in relation to oral history and memory studies. ‘Movement’ is defined broadly and inclusively: it can refer to social movements, physical movement, or movement across concrete or conceptual borders. It can be interpreted as the movements that have shaped oral history as a discipline, from its inception to today. Moreover, the memories oral historians study are constantly in motion, with the present framing people’s recollection and understanding of the past. In this conference ‘movement’ is therefore paired with the notion of ‘pace’, accentuating the importance of temporality for the study of oral history. We invite researchers and practitioners to approach their work from an introspective angle, examining how subjective experiences and social factors impact the speed at which oral history is conducted.


The ninth international symposium of the Finnish Oral History Network (FOHN) will focus on the themes of movement, pace, and introspection in oral history and memory studies research from a critical and exploratory perspective. The conference offers researchers an interdisciplinary setting in which to connect and present cutting-edge ideas. The conference’s keynote speakers are Lynn Abrams (University of Glasow), Daniele Salerno (Utrecht University), Kirsti Jõesalu (University of Tartu) and Samira Saramo (Migration Institute of Finland).


They wish to invite contributions involving methodological, analytical, and ethical questions, as well as case studies. Proposals may be submitted for individual papers or panels and can address, but are not limited to, the following themes and topics:

  • Social movements and oral history.
  • Does conceptualising researchers as activists challenge established oral history practices?
  • The ways in which emotions can move the interviewer and/or responder.
  • What ethical considerations must we account for when incorporating the study of emotions into oral history and memory studies?
  • How does speed and timing influence how emotions are recorded, analysed, or internalized in our research processes?
  • Physical movement, the body and oral history interviewing. For example, how might moving through memorable spaces evoke visceral reminiscences?
  • Digital humanities and changes to how we collect, process, and analyse memories. Technology and how it shapes oral history into a reproducible, codable, and ‘fast’ process. How much time do we need to meaningfully connect with our research subjects?
  • The pace at which change within oral history has occurred. What connects/distinguishes oral historians working across the decades?
  • Has oral history ‘matured’ into a stable and agreed upon methodology?

Individual paper submissions require a title and a maximum 250-word abstract. Panel proposals should include a title and a 250-word description of the panel, and a title plus 250-word abstract for each individual paper (maximum five papers per panel). The conference language will be English.


To learn more and submit your proposal, please visit the conference website or alternatively email them at

OH-SMArt: Call for proposals

OH-SMArt Symposium 2024
FAIR use of Artist Interviews for Conservators and Curators

In conclusion of its three year research project Oral History – Stories at the Museum around Artworks (OH-SMArt), the Conservation and Restoration department of the University of Amsterdam, together with SMBK Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art, organises the OH-SMArt symposium on 28 and 29 November 2024.


Thursday 28 November 2024: Expert meeting
Friday 29 November 2024: SBMK day


Call for proposals
Interested parties are invited to submit proposals for presentation and publication in the context of the Symposium SBMK day: FAIR use of Artist Interviews for Conservators and Curators.

The symposium and expert meeting will focus especially on interoperability and reuse. Contributions are welcome concerning dissemination and lowering the threshold for reuse, in addition to linking data to deepen knowledge on artist’s practices and their artworks worldwide. We are interested in proposals from, but not exclusively, researchers, conservators, artists, curators, oral history data collection managers, experts in digital archiving and museum professionals who have research with spoken narratives addressing one or more of the following topics:


  • Processing and depositing interview materials, including Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), transcript correction tools, and other natural language processing tools.
  • Addressing FAIR Principles with sensitive oral history material in light of data protection laws (GDPR).
  • Findability of oral history archives on artworks and linking data collections.
  • Accessibility of research outside of academia, to cultural heritage professionals, artists and students.
  • Interviews conducted by non-native speakers or multi-lingual speakers, including improved accessibility.
  • Interoperability, from issues of consent and preferred file types to linked open data and digital research tools for oral history.
  • Reuse of interviews in conservation research, including interviews with all stakeholders around works of art and cultural heritage as well as conservation obstacles and their possible solutions.
  • The development of tools for reflection that address the researcher’s role in the use and interpretation of oral history. 

Proposals, for both the Expert Meeting and the SBMK day, specifically addressing FAIR Data and Open Science for various types of contributions are welcome in 300-500 words, if possible, in proofread English, alongside a separate file with the author(s) bio(s), 50-words each, named with a subject-based common denominator.


More information

Seed grant call from the new research priority area Decolonial Futures

Seed grant call from the new research priority area Decolonial Futures

The UvA’s new research priority area Decolonial Futures is currently accepting proposals for Seed Funding. The RPA is looking for innovative and collaborative research projects, particularly those that align with the RPA’s main themes: Museums, archives & cultural practices; Migrations, mobility & borders; and Ecology, sustainability & climate change. Early career scholars and those working in historically colonised regions and contexts are particularly encouraged to submit proposals. The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2024.



Call for papers: Oral History and Life Stories Network

The Oral History and Life Stories Network is one of the 27 networks of the ESSHC and brings together oral history and life story researchers and practitioners who explore memory, narratives, and history. Broadly, they want to encourage papers that explore methodological questions and challenges as well as the relationship between oral histories and the construction and analysis of life stories, both in terms of processes and outcomes.


This is a thematically open Call for Papers, but they would like to stimulate some topics that may attract broader interest:


  •  theoretical and methodological challenges of oral history today
  • impact of the digitization process on doing oral history and the analysis; challenges of digitization (audio and video), e.g.
  • transcript, keywording, archiving
  • reuse of (archived) oral history materials
  • reflections on legal issues and ethical questions in oral history
  • themes of oral history today, e.g. whose memories are collected, analysed, and archived
  • shared authority/sharing authority
  • teaching oral history and supervision of oral history projects – experiences, challenges, concepts
  • reflections on combining oral history and life story methods
  • relations of oral history to other fields (e.g. social sciences, ethnology, memory studies, etc.)

The deadline for the required pre-registration and upload of a paper or session proposal at the ESSHC website is April 15, 2024. 



Grant for new project: Storianan Skondi di Karibe (The Hidden Stories of the Caribbean)

Photo: Rose Mary Allen interviews a woman in Curaçao in the 1980s

Lately, the Oral History Hub Sprekende Geschiedenis received good news: the Stimulation Fund for Creative Industry has honoured the application for the project Storianan Skondi di Karibe (The Hidden Stories of the Caribbean).


This project concerns the extensive oral history material Rose Mary Allen recorded in the 1980s and 1990s with elders, (grand)children of enslaved and migrant communities. This important source material is on outdated cassettes and is in danger of being lost if it is not digitised soon.


In 2024, in close cooperation with Rose Mary Allen, DANS, The National Archive Curaçao and Sound and Vision, the Hub will work to digitise, make accessible and present the stories that offer valuable insights into traditions, culture and language in the Dutch Caribbean.


Read more

Netherlands signs Faro Convention

Photo: Launching project My freedom – your freedom? at the Sound and Vision in The Hague.


On Wednesday 10 January, the Netherlands signed the Faro Convention. With this treaty, the Council of Europe highlights a different perspective on heritage. The Faro Convention puts people and society at the centre and their relationship with heritage.


The three main goals in the treaty are participation and co-determination in heritage practice, using heritage for societal purposes and being open to other heritage views. At the National Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE), the Faro implementation programme is being implemented to put the principles of the convention into practice, together with people and organisations involved in heritage. €6 million is available for this purpose for the period 2023-2025.



Significance for oral history

For oral history, the Faro Convention is specifically significant because it recognises oral history as a valuable source of cultural heritage and supports efforts to record and preserve it. This includes the value of personal memories, stories and traditions passed on orally. The Convention encourages the adoption of measures to promote and protect this form of intangible heritage.


Speaking History intends to actively engage in the coming period, together with various partners, to ensure that the Faro Convention is translated into sustainable policy on these issues.


Tanja Gonggrijp (Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the Council of Europe) and Bjørn Berge
(deputy secretary general of the Council of Europe) sign the treaty. Photo Cultural Heritage Department.


Now that the treaty has been signed, the ratification process begins. If parliament approves the treaty, it will enter into force. The treaty applies at least to the European Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius).


More info on the Faro Convention at:

Symposium ‘Oral History, one step further’ 2023: the retrospective

On 8 December 2023, the second Oral History symposium of the Sprekende Geschiedenis Hub took place at the Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed in Amersfoort. An inspiring day that was fully booked weeks in advance, with great speakers, as Professors Rose Mary Allen and James Kennedy. The five lively workshops contributed to valuable exchange of knowledge, inspiration and new plans for the future. After an upbeat musical interlude, the conclusions from the workshops were shared with the audience and a panel of directors of institutions involved.


One conclusion we can already draw: Oral history lives. You can read the detailed report of this fascinating day including the workshops here.


Chairman of the day and initiator of Sprekende geschiedenis Saskia Moerbeek kicked off the day and welcomed attendees. A short video was then shown on the importance of Oral History.


Video credit: Cinemore. Voice-over: Armando Ello

The plenary session

During the plenary session, Professor James Kennedy (Utrecht University) spoke about the impact of oral history on individuals and communities. Rose Mary Allen, professor of Culture, Community and History at the University of Curaçao, shared her experiences with oral history in the Caribbean. Frank von Meijenfeldt of the ‘Sprekende geschiedenis’ Hub discussed recent technological developments within oral history.


James Kennedy highlighted the added value of Oral History in his presentation. He discussed six specific points, including access to valuable undiscovered histories, giving a voice to marginalised groups, the importance of listening to how stories are told, and empowering communities to be stewards of their own history. Kennedy stressed that Oral History not only provides historical information, but can also be used for ‘community organising’. He advocated preserving stories for future generations as a valuable memory.


Prof Rose Mary Allen shared key insights on oral history in the Dutch Caribbean in her lecture, focusing on her own experiences as an oral historian since the 1980s. Allen named a number of concerns in her experiences as an interviewer and emphasised the importance of language and context both during and when analysing the interview. Documenting oral traditions in the Dutch Caribbean was ultimately seen as an act of empowerment, whereby the community itself can tell and shape its history.


Frank von Meijenfeldt reflected on the impact of automatic speech recognition on oral history projects and talked about the Unprecedented Special project for refugees. He discussed the emergence of the Whisper programme for speech recognition, highlighted challenges for less spoken languages, and advocated training the programme for regional languages. Sustainable storage and accessibility, respecting FAIR principles, were highlighted. Von Meijenfeldt mentioned the need for improved digital infrastructure, challenges in collection registration systems for oral history and the desire for wider accessibility to oral history.



The workshop ‘Museums and Oral History, current developments‘ was opened by Saskia Moerbeek and focused on exchange on museum challenges in oral history. Margaret Leidelmeijer presented ‘Ons Land’, where decolonisation is central, highlighting how education and engagement of different generations overcome obstacles. Sanneke Stigter discussed the OH-SMArt project, which focused on artist interviews with Mark Manders and Nicholas Pope. The value of image use and multiple interviews was highlighted. The RCE presented the Handbook for Collection Interviews i.c.w. Sprekende Geschiedenis, for small and large museums. Workshop participants also shared their own oral history projects.

During the workshop ‘Preserving and making Oral History interviews accessible’ speakers highlighted important aspects of archiving and accessibility. Norah Karrouche listed a number of digital challenges: storage, data accessibility and ethics. Luc de Vries emphasised the FAIR principle and the importance of ownership and consent. Marc Holtman presented a new archive concept: the archive as utility. DANS demonstrated their data station for long-term storage. Key conclusions included attention to long-term preservation, metadata and identification, user-centricity, and the deployment of technology. Future challenges include changing user needs, AI implementation and connecting Oral History collections.

In the third workshopShort pitches on Oral History projects’, eight oral history projects were presented. Marjan Beijering spoke about the University Campus in Twente, focusing on interview processing and speech recognition software. Maurice Paulissen examined ‘Children of the peat colony’, highlighting cultural-ecological aspects. Marloes Hülsken presented educational projects, dwelling on source criticism and analysis. Speakers such as Wim de Jong, Jozef Kok, Mieke Krijger and Eline Pollaert shared their experiences with projects ranging from miner’s stories to the experiences in ‘Het Dorp’. Discussions included questions on presentation, trust building and the role of the interviewer. Involving communities and young people in sharing oral history was seen as important.

The fourth workshop, ‘Contested History’ and Oral History, led by Nikita Krouwel, addressed the role of Oral History in situations where historical narratives are contested or supplemented. Presentations by Myrthe Kroes and Stef Scagliola emphasised giving voice to underrepresented groups and presenting different perspectives. Discussions focused on multi-perspectivity, dialogue stimulation, trust, ethical responsibility and the challenges of projects on sensitive topics, such as with Warlove Children. The social and emotional impact was highlighted, the distinction between Oral History as source and resource, and important future issues around neutrality, ethics and stakeholder engagement.

During the workshop ‘Transcribing you can (almost) ignore’ led by Arjan van Hessen and Frank von Meijenfeldt, the necessity of transcribing for archiving was discussed. Participants shared questions on new developments, translation options and simple transcription solutions. Automatic speech recognition programme Whisper was demonstrated and discussed, focusing on the necessary differentiation of speakers. There is a plethora of options and this calls for more simple unambiguous solutions. For oral history, it is important that In the future, small languages and regional languages should also be recognised. Relevant parties were identified, such as Sprekende Geschiedenis Hub and organisations like DANS and SurfNet.


Plenary closing

Vfrom left to right: Christianne Mattijssen, director of Heritage and Arts at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science | Marielle Hendriks, chair of the OPEN network of provincial heritage organisations | Annette Gaalman, Network coordinator Implementation of the DIGITAL Heritage Network | Caroline Breunesse director/director of Rijksmuseum Twenthe/De MuseumFabriek.

During the closing plenary session, workshop leaders presented their conclusions to a panel of directors of institutions involved. When asked how to train volunteers properly, Marielle Hendriks highlighted the training offer on for oral history projects and the role of OPEN as a partner for museum training. Annette Gaalman called for harnessing the potential of digital infrastructure, focusing on national heritage connections and putting user needs at the centre. Christianne Mattijssen saw opportunities for oral history, especially with the National History Museum. When a question came from the audience as to why museums do not have research status, Christianne Mattijssen promised to take this issue to the appropriate colleagues at the ministry. Caroline Breunesse saw oral history as essential for diversity and inclusion, where it is important for museums to step beyond the boundaries of their own context. Finally, Mattijssen hoped for a future where museums become places where history is told on the spot.


View the photo report

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Photographs by Marlise Steenman

The comprehensive report of the symposium can be read here.


Symposium was made possible in part by:


Oral History and ‘Contested Histories’

On 5 and 6 October, Sprekende geschiedenis delivered an online guest lecture as part of the international training course ‘Sharing Stories on Contested Histories 2023’ (SSOCH 2023). SSCOH is an initiative of the RCE in cooperation with the Reinwardt Academy and is part of the Shared Cultural Heritage programme (now International Heritage Cooperation). The aim of the training is to connect and engage young heritage professionals and academics from different countries in the international dialogue on dealing with fraught histories and/or new perspectives and to contribute to an open and equal handling of complex heritage. Speaking History was asked to provide a vision on possible applications of oral history in dealing with these ‘Contested Histories’.


‘Contested Histories’

By ‘Contested Histories’ we mean all those situations where the existing known historical narrative or heritage is refuted or supplemented by alternative narratives and/or new perspectives. Think of slavery history, colonialism, but also new perspectives on events in a war or stories of new or different population groups such as immigrants or refugees.


Can Oral History make a contribution in this area?

Oral History as a method is known and appreciated as an important source of historical information from society. Oral history defines oral history as: ‘The recording of people’s life stories and testimonies about historical events and the significance of these events for the lives of people and those around them’. These stories provide valuable information about events in recent history, information we cannot get from official papers and historical objects. They can also open up new and underrepresented perspectives on historical events and people’s lives. It is especially this aspect of oral history that makes it interesting in relation to ‘Contested Histories’. Four different situations of ‘Contested Histories’ where oral history can contribute, for example, are:


1.      Giving a voice to underrepresented subcultures;

2.      Presenting different perspectives on the same historical event;

3.      Opening new perspectives on a hegemonic discourse;

4.      Creating a safe space to deal with post-conflict situations.


The role of the lecture is not just to provide information, but to provide a shared social space and a performance, wherein knowledge and its performances becomes memorable (T. Green)


From interviews to presentation, Toby Green

Oral history interviews have value in themselves. Interviews can be seen primarily as historical source material. But in addition, they also have social value; people who are interviewed feel heard and feel they can finally tell their side of the story. But the value is further enhanced if the stories told are heard by the widest possible audience. For that to happen, the information from the interviews must be responsibly converted into an attractive presentation format. In this context, a theory and idea by Toby Green[1] is interesting. Toby Green argues that, as a Western society, we have lost something very essential the moment we started transmitting our history in writing instead of orally. Here, he points out an essential difference between a ‘presentation’ and an ‘oration’. The former, he argues, concentrates on information transfer pure and simple. In the second, the form in which oral history used to be conveyed, two things are very important that are often forgotten in a presentation: the social context and, what Toby Green calls the ‘memorable performance’. The social context ensures interaction between listeners, which makes the story stick better and gives it more depth. The ‘memorable performance’ ensures that the story makes an impression so that the audience does not forget the story easily.


Photo credit: Amazon Conservation Team

Telling examples

On our website, we collect ‘Telling Examples’, which are examples of oral history projects where oral history interviews have been converted into a special form of presentation. During the guest lecture for SSOCH 2023, we discussed one ‘Speaking Example’ in more detail for each of the four situations mentioned above in which oral history can contribute to ‘Contested Histories’. In doing so, we chose examples where we felt special attention had been paid to the social context and ‘memorable performance’:



The examples led to interesting discussions where valuable questions arose that arise in practice such as: who decides what is shown and what is not, how to distribute different perspectives across a space, how to deal with opposing views or uncomfortable reactions, how to deal with ‘incorrect historical facts’, how to deal with trauma, etc.


At the symposium ‘Oral History, een stap verder’ on 8 December at the RCE in Amersfoort, we will also present these examples. Curious? Then take a look at our website under ‘Telling examples’.

[1] Toby Green, ‘The historical lecture: past, present and future, Transactions of the RHS (2022), 1–23.