Communities of Memory - OHAA Biennial Conference 2011

4 September 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS - COMMUNITIES OF MEMORY. Conference of the Oral History Association of Australia.

Biennial Conference of the Oral History Association of Australia - Melbourne, 30 September- 2 October 2011

In recent years memory has been an increasingly significant resource for many different types of communities: for survivors of natural catastrophe and human-made disaster; in country towns dealing with
demographic and environmental change; for cities and suburbs in constant transformation; in the preservation of special places or the restitution of human rights; for the 'Forgotten Australians' and 'Stolen Generations'; for migrants and refugees creating new lives; among virtual communities sharing life stories online. Memories are used to foster common identity and purpose, to recover hidden histories and silenced stories, to recall change in the past and advocate change in the present, to challenge stereotypes and speak truth to power. The concept of 'community' can be enlisted for change or conservatism; 'communities of memory' can be inclusive and empowering, or exclusive and silencing.

Oral historians, in a variety of guises and combining age-old listening skills with dazzling new technologies, play important roles in this memory work. Our conference welcomes participants who use oral history in their work with and within communities of memory across the many fields and disciplines that contribute to community, public and academic histories. We invite proposals for individual presentations, workshops and thematic panels.

The conference will include history walks and tours that introduce participants to Melbourne's rich and diverse communities of memory. Oral history training workshops will be held on the Thursday prior to
the conference (29 September).

Keynote speakers:

Stephen High: Chair in Public History and co-director of the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University, Montreal; publications include Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization (2007). See

Nathalie Nguyen: Australian Research Fellow, University of Melbourne; publications include Memory Is Another Country: Women of the Vietnamese Diaspora (2009) and Voyage of Hope: Vietnamese Australian Women's Narratives (2005). See

Peter Read: Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow, University of Sydney; publications include Tripping Over Feathers. Scenes in the Life of Joy Janaka Wiradjuri Williams. A Stolen Generations Narrative (2009) and Returning to Nothing: The Meaning of Lost Places (1996). See

Conference sub-themes will include, but are not limited to:

Memory and Catastrophe

Activist Communities

Memory Work for Human Rights

War Memories

Indigenous Memory

Generational Communities

Place, Community, Memory

Theories of Collective and Community Memory

Communities of Identity

New Approaches to Recording Lives

Contested Communities

New Technologies for Documenting Memory and History

Communities of Gender and Sexuality

Memory Work in Creative and Fictional Writing

Migrants and Refugees

Ethical Issues in Memory Work

Communities of Work or Leisure

Training Community Oral Historians

We welcome proposals for presentations in a variety of formats and media, including standard paper presentations (typically 20 minutes); short accounts of work in progress (typically 5 minutes); participatory workshops; and thematic panels comprising several presenters.

Presentations should involve oral history. Contact the organizers at if you would like to discuss the format or focus of your presentation before you submit it.

Proposals for presentations / papers / panels should be no more than 200 words (single space, 12 point font in Times New Roman) and must include at the top your name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), postal address, phone number and email address, the title for your presentation panel, the sub-themes your work best connects to, and the presentation format (standard paper, short account of work in progress, thematic panel or participatory workshop).

Presenters will be encouraged to submit papers to the refereed Journal of the Oral History Association
of Australia (ranked in the ERA journal list), which aims to produce a theme issue about Communities of Memory.

Proposals should be uploaded to

To use this online system you will need to create an author account (a simple process) and then submit your proposal either by attaching it (with full details as listed above) as a PDF or by using the copy/paste
function. If you are unable to use this system please email your proposal to

Closing date for proposals: 31 October 2010

The 'Communities of Memory' conference will take place at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne's city centre. It is organized by the Oral History Association of Australia (Victoria branch) in partnership
with ABC Radio National Social History Unit, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Institute for Public History at Monash University, Museum Victoria, the National Film and Sound Archive, the Professional Historians Association and the State Library of Victoria.

For conference information or to join the conference mailing list please go to the conference website at or email

Professor Alistair Thomson
School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies (SOPHIS)
Room W613, Menzies Building (11), Monash University, Clayton Campus, Vic 3800, Australia.
phone + 3 99059785

Head of History and Deputy Head, SOPHIS Director, Institute for Public History

More information can be found at this link here.

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