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  • Writer's pictureUrban Time

Oral History as a Tool for Social Change

A conversation with oral historian and community organizer Lynn Lewis at the Housing Justice Lab

Thursday, SEPTEMBER 29, 2022, 4:00-5:30 PM

66 W 12TH Street, Room 407

Oral history and movements for social change share many values. Paramount among these is the respect shown for the knowledge and expertise of community members' capacity to analyze the conditions of their lives. This presentation provides an overview of the basic elements of an oral history project through the lens of the Picture the Homeless Oral History Project. The goals of the Picture the Homeless Oral History Project include documentation through long-form oral history interviews, preservation and archiving, and popular education. This presentation will focus on the oral history process as well as oral history outcomes within an overall project design, and reveal the ways in which oral history is a dynamic practice to deepen our understanding about the past, the present and future possibilities through critical reflection and the creation of counter-narratives. Lynn Lewis works at the intersection of community organizing, oral history and popular education, focusing on documenting grassroots leadership in social justice movements. She received her MA in Oral History from Columbia, after working with Picture the Homeless for seventeen years in a range of roles, and has worked on issues of housing, homelessness, land tenure and police brutality for four decades. She is the recipient of an inaugural NEH/OHA Fellowship (2022/2023) for her work on the Picture the Homeless Oral History Project. She is inspired by revolutionary struggles in the U.S. and internationally to construct justice, and is a mother and a grandmother residing in NYC. Her book, Women Who Change the World, a collection of oral history interviews with community organizers will be published in 2023 by City Lights Publishers.

This event is free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the general public.


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