The Virginia Tech Center for Rhetoric in Society has received a grant from Voice of Witness, a nonprofit that sponsors oral history projects examining human rights and social justice. As part of the grant, the center sponsored training workshops in oral history methodology for Virginia Tech undergraduate and graduate students; Voice of Witness education director Cliff Mayotte and managing editor Dao Tran led the workshops.

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“Oral history is a very formal term and it’s a relatively recent term,” said Mayotte. “It’s a term that describes individuals sharing experiences of past events from their lives and recording those stories for archival purposes to shed light on an issue or event that might be underrepresented or underreported and making space for this idea that there is such a thing as people’s history.”

Following the workshop, participants were qualified to work with a Voice of Witness oral history project, Resettled: Beginning (Again) in Appalachia,” for which Katrina Powell, an English professor who directs the Center for Rhetoric in Society, serves as editor. 

Participants are also trained to work with another center initiative: VT Stories, a collaborative oral history project aimed at capturing a broader and more inclusive history of the university through interviews with Virginia Tech alumni, students, faculty, and staff.

Written and produced by Ray Meese