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People who are doing the work of collecting, capturing and sharing disability stories discussed interviewing, safeguarding, and sharing oral histories. Recorded February 22, 2023.
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KATE FIALKOWSKI: Good morning, everyone. My name is Kate Fialkowski with the Institute on Disabilities. And we're going to get started just a couple of minutes after the hour. And we'll start with some welcomes and some introductions. Thank you for being here.
I feel like we should have introductory music and flags flying or something, just to start an event.
I'm going to get started. Good morning, again, for those of you who heard me the first time. My name is Kate Fialkowski. I work at the Institute on Disabilities, Temple University, College of Education and Human Development. Thank you so much for joining us this morning for our mini-course lecture series in which we're going to have a panel discussion about the role of oral history and disability voices rising.
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The first person that I'm really honored to introduce you all to is the Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities, Sally Gould-Taylor. Sally, I'm turning it over to you.
SALLY GOULD-TAYLOR: Thanks, Kate. Good morning, everyone. My name is Sally Gould-Taylor. And on behalf of the Institute on Disabilities at the College of Education and Human Development at Temple University, I welcome you to another mini-course lecture series.
In this session, we're turning our attention to work conducted to capture oral histories. The Oral History Association explains oral histories as collecting memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews. But I guess we'll hear what our panelists think of this definition and how they describe their own work. I'm looking forward to hearing what they share.
Thank you so much to our panelists, Nikki, Alonna, Osnat, and Sam. And thank you in particular to Osnat and Sam, who are both researchers in the UK and joining us from abroad. We appreciate your joining across time zones.
We're eager to hear about your work and considerations as you lean into oral histories and your thoughts on how doing so helps disability voices rise above the noise. Kate, I'm going to pass it back to you to start the panel. Thank you so much.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thanks, Sally. Now Sally knows I'm removing Sally from the spotlight.
Good morning to all of you. I'm so happy that Sally was able to be here and kick this off for all of us. And for our audience to know, this really is going to be a panel conversation. So even though it's called a mini-course lecture series, this is not really a lecture where people were going to be talking at you. It is a conversation where our panelists are going to be engaging and speaking with each other and asking each other questions about their work.
So I think the appropriate beginning for this is to ask our panel to please introduce themselves. And I'm just going to go by alphabetical order. Alonna, would you start us off?
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: Yes, good morning, everybody. So I am Alonna Carter-Donaldson. And I am the project scholar for the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium's Intersection of Race and Disability Project. And I'm happy to be here this morning.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you, Alonna. Oh, I didn't go in alphabetical order. Did I, Sam? B is before C. I guess it depends on if we're doing first names or last names. So let's go Sam next.
SAM BRADY: I assumed you were doing first names.
Shall I go now, then?
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Yes, please.
SAM BRADY: Hi, everyone. So I'm Sam Brady. I'm in the final year of my PhD currently. And I'm researching the social, political, and technological history of sports wheelchairs. I'm doing this at the University of Glasgow and in conjunction with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, which is a Paralympic Museum in the UK.
For my PhD, I conducted a number of oral history interviews. Hence why I'm here on the panel. And while those aren't available yet, I do have a publication out which includes some of those if you're interested.
I also have worked on a publication about oral history methodology and disability with fellow panelist Osnat. And so that's somewhere in the realms of academic production pipeline currently.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Well, let's turn it over to Osnat, since you mentioned Osnat by name.
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Hi, everyone. Thank you for having me. My name is Osnat Katz Moon. I am a final year PhD student with University College London and the Science Museum, also in London.
My PhD focuses on the social and cultural history of space science in the UK which, as I am an oral historian, in practice means I spend a lot of time talking to a number of scientists and engineers about their lives, their jobs, and the missions they have worked on. So currently the interviews have been recorded. I'm still transcribing them. And they are somewhere in the academic pipeline while I get my thesis written.
And as Sam mentioned, I've also written a paper with him which is somewhere in the realms of academic publishing. I think manuscript, like, in edits at the moment. Which is all about doing oral history and combining that with disability, so either interviewing participants who are disabled, or in my case, being a disabled interviewer and what that is like.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you so much. And last, but not least, Nicki, would you like to introduce yourself?
NICKI POMBIER: Sure. Hi, everyone. My name is Nicki Pombier. It's French by way of the Midwest. So you can lean into those vowels. I teach in the oral history master's program at Columbia, where I was a student 10 years ago. And midway through my graduate studies there, I had a son who was diagnosed at birth with Down syndrome and later with sensorineural hearing loss and autism. And so that was sort of the abrupt beginning to my learning and unlearning my own ableism and sort of learning a really rich history that I hadn't been privy to or even known I was missing on disability. And so it changed my oral history practice profoundly to understand the world that I'd already been living in this new way.
And so my oral history work since then has focused on how I can be a narrative ally, working with narrators who have intellectual disabilities to share and express their experiences and to understand that those experiences are historical and to think about and try to push past the limits to my own practice and look at the ways in which oral history methodology can be expanded to include people who don't speak, or people who speak in ways that challenge what to me had been the sort of traditional tools of oral history. And so I'll be speaking about a couple of different projects or making reference to them while we talk together today.
One is a collection of stories that I worked on as a part of my graduate thesis and a parent to a newborn, working with self advocates with Down syndrome. And then work I've done since then with Temple University's media arts programming, working to tell the history of intellectual disability rights in Pennsylvania.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you, Nicki. Now the way that this works is I understand that you guys actually have some questions for each other. You've had an opportunity to meet each other before this morning, at least very briefly, exchange some information. And so I'm going to take myself out of the picture and turn it over to you guys.
And I think, so that everyone knows, Osnat, I think that you are going first. And then our communication style is going to be people are going to be hand raising or people are going to be handing the baton to other speakers. And so by doing that, it can help our audience know who's speaking and also our interpreters know who's speaking.
So thank you so much. And now I'm going to disappear and I'm turning it over to Osnat. But I'm still here, so don't worry. And we are monitoring the chat and the Q&A. Thank you.
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Yes. So the very first question I wanted to kick off with is oral history is a huge field. It spans cultures, continents, languages, disciplines. And so I wanted to ask, first of all, how do we all practice oral history? What does that mean to us? And I wanted to hand over to Alonna first.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: Thank you for asking that question. So for me, I am an oral historian by way of the public history discipline. So the way that I practice it is pretty much by the book. Through really asking myself the first question, which is, what is my why? Why am I doing this?
And that kind of guides the way that I conduct it. For me, it's never merely to just tell a story. It's always to impact someone to create a change. And I try to strive to make sure that my narrators are part of everything I am doing with their story and that they know that they have agency in the way that it's presented. So I'm curious to know what Nicki thinks about that and also how you practice it as well.
NICKI POMBIER: Thanks, Alonna. I think what you shared resonates with me. And the idea of really centering the why is critical and sort of what is the purpose here. And something that I experienced in the process of my graduate thesis work was I started with a set of questions that were interesting to me. And really, it's not that I set out to allow myself to let those change, but reflecting back on what happened, noticing how I let go of the research questions that I had in response to what I was hearing from the people I was interviewing about what was important to them in terms of how the interviews were used, which parts of the interview were made public and I think that sort of overall framing of the project.
So that's something that I hope to do with oral history and I think I see as something that makes oral history different. Not to be gatekeeping about what is and isn't oral history, but I think there's a quality to oral history practice that really is concerned with making sure that the needs of narrators or the sort of desires and the authority, the experiences, the expertise really impact the process from the beginning, even before the beginning on. So that experience of realizing that the questions that brought me to a project in the first place may have brought me there. But then once I'm there, allowing myself to let the project change to reflect what I learned through listening was needed, feels like an important piece of oral history practice in my experience. Sam, I'm curious about you.
SAM BRADY: Yeah, for me, it's slightly different. Because the [INAUDIBLE] I'm doing was a predesigned project, a studentship which I applied to. And so oral history was already identified as the main method of gathering data for it. So for me, I very much initially approached it as this is a tool, this is a way to conduct history, and it's very much in the same way that you would go into an archive and the way you would analyze documents.
And I think as I continue to look into oral history and the history of oral history, and look at the ways that people have used oral history in the past, it kind of implied to me the importance of the way the oral history can make people's voices visible, whether that's in projects or in collections, particularly for working class people, marginalized people, disabled people. And so I kind of took a new appreciation of that. Because it suddenly was not simply doing it for the sake of this is the most efficient way to gather my information, but it was actually to serve a long term purpose. And for instance, hopefully my interviews will become part of my museum's, the Paralympic Heritage Trust, their oral history archive. So it will be not just some stuff I collected for my usage, but other something other people can use.
I mean, I suppose also that might tie into the way-- are we defining oral history? Are we defining it as a methodology and it's simply just a way to do history? Or is it a particular perspective on people's experiences and on interviewing? I don't know, Osnat, if you want to speak on that.
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Yes. So I'm in a similar boat to Sam in that my project was already predesigned. And so the idea had already been, OK, we are going to use oral history as a methodology. It had previously been used before in something called Voices of Science, which is a British Library project to do interviews with 100 British scientists and engineers. So this is sort of an extension of that.
I will say that a lot of what I thought I had trained to do in oral history really got thrown out of the window. Because I started my fieldwork in March 2020. And so very quickly, we went from the gold standard is in-person interviewing to we have to switch to remote interviews really, really quickly. And this hasn't been a methodology that people have previously used much, so we're going to update all of the guidelines on this really, really quickly, and it's going to be constantly changing. So that was really interesting and, not going to lie, also just incredibly stressful being caught up in this massive methodological change.
I will say that I do very much see oral history as almost a practice of being, which I suppose is a little bit fuzzy. But I don't see it as a tool. I see it as a way to connect with other people and to preserve what's important to them. That's where I try and approach it from, to realize science and technology move really, really fast, in ways that are sometimes very, very unpredictable. How can we help people to put down what is meaningful to them and how can we help preserve this for other people who might not necessarily have access to the social norms, or the cultural norms, or the incredible technical knowledge which is part of doing stuff in the world that these scientists and engineers inhabit?
I'm going to stop now. And I'm going to open up the floor to any questions that have come.
SAM BRADY: I'll just jump in quickly on what Osnat said there. Because we're in the same boat. My interview period overlapped with this whole COVID thing, if you heard of that. And so everything I had to do was over Zoom.
And what I found in some ways actually made doing more history way more accessible Yes, I wasn't able to read body language in the same way. But I didn't have to consider-- for example, most of my interviewees were wheelchair users. I didn't really have to think through, OK, so what's the appropriate space, what their access needs are going to be.
And it was something that was just as long as they have access to a computer, then it should be fine, an internet connection, it should be fine. And actually, then I was able to include way more people in my research and, in theory, make that a stronger project.
And it's something that I've reflected on since, whether it's this article with Osnat, just in my own time, of oh, well, actually, is this a better way to conduct oral history, particularly for interviewing disabled people. If, say, people may be uncomfortable with going to these spaces, maybe there were communication barriers, then using technology as that kind of interface would be helpful. Is remote interviewing a better way to do oral histories with particular groups of people? I don't know if anyone has any thoughts on that. It's an open question.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: I'll jump in. Yes, I would say that, in my project with the Intersection of Race and Disability Project, it was very easy to do interviews over Zoom as opposed to in-person. Just because some of the individuals that I interviewed, being that they do have disabilities, are more susceptible unfortunately to possibly getting sick if they have to go into a public space.
So I found that people were more willing to do it when I suggested a Zoom interview. They seemed more comfortable. They have the option of whether or not they want it to be on camera or if they just wanted to use audio for the interview.
So yes, I love that we had access to Zoom during that time and even now to conduct these interviews and really get these really important stories. So I'll leave the floor open if anybody else wants to answer the question as well. Yeah, go ahead, Osnat.
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Yes. So I found a couple of really interesting things. Number one, people had Zoom fatigue. So we wouldn't be able to run sessions for particularly long. I think the longest single interview session that was conducted we went for three hours and were both exhausted by the end of it. Just because you have to pay so much more attention to what you look like on camera, what they look like on camera. You have blue light coming through the screen. And it's all very distracting.
But, on the other hand, in some ways it's also helped with building rapport. Because narrators would say, I'm sorry. I'm feeling really tired now. But can we do the same time next week?
And so even though we'd have shorter sessions, we'd also have much more frequent sessions. And we'd talk in between. We also got to share things like photographs and do some photo elicitation work. Which was really, really cool to do because it very often leads people into talking about different aspects of their lives ones you just completely wouldn't expect. So that was really fun.
The last thing I would like to add is that, particularly during lockdowns, a lot of people remarked to me that the oral histories also served a well-being function as well. So it wasn't just about conducting research. It was also about connecting with other humans, being able to talk about some really positive and impactful things in people's lives. So that even though we were all stuck in our houses and really unsure of what was going on, we could at least take the time to connect with each other and have these really meaningful conversations. So that was something that I think we all really valued. And Nicki, I would love to hand over to you, if you have any thoughts.
NICKI POMBIER: Thank you. Osnat, I really loved your phrasing of oral history as a way of being. And I've been thinking about-- and then your description of the way that COVID kind of scrambled the methodology.
And I've not done that many interviews over Zoom. But I've been reflecting on the way that my early experiences doing interviews with self advocates with Down syndrome gave me a similar kind of experience of like, well, I thought I was prepared, but none of that's relevant. And where am I, what am I working with, and like this is actually better.
So there's a lot of preparation that goes into an oral history interview. And I'd done, you know-- I'm a good student. And I thought I was very prepared, done all my research, had my research questions.
And then the way they translated to biographical questions, how do I, how can I turn that into an interview question. And all of that is relevant. And I don't mean to be dismissive.
But I think that the way that it matters is less about of executing the plan and more about educating myself about the sort of world that I'm stepping into. Excuse me. And so I say all of this to try to make my way to a question. I'm curious how interviewing works for each of you. Because the methodological kind of scramble that I experienced 10 years ago and have tried to carry forward has been about changing how I approach an oral history interview.
So as you said, Osnat, people have Zoom fatigue. It's also true that just sitting down face-to-face, my training had led me to sort of expect that an oral history interview might be like me asking a question and then listening for a half an hour. But not everyone talks like that.
The dynamic with the people I interviewed who have Down syndrome and then the people I've interviewed since who communicate non-traditionally is not one where I ask a question and then listen for an hour. It's much more conversational. I ask things that in other contexts might be considered a closed question, a yes or no question. And that's looked down on. But actually, it can be a really important way of having a conversation with another person, a way of being.
So changing my approach to the interview itself, what I think of as a good question, and the sort of format that I've prepared for versus the experience of being with another person in dialogue is a methodological kind of change that I appreciate, like, working with people with Down syndrome kind of opened up for me. So I'd love to hear how you interview and maybe how your interviewing style has changed, either with an adaptation for Zoom, or working with a narrator who communicates their experiences in a certain way. I will ask Alonna to pick that one up.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: Yes. So I definitely want to say like I totally agree with your approach in how you interview. And I've come across that myself. It's easy to, of course, jot down a list of questions and expect that you're going to get answers to all of these questions.
But realistically, that's just not what's going to happen a lot of times. I have learned that it does have to be more conversational, especially when you are speaking with people who come from different lived experiences than you. You have to allow that space for them to feel comfortable with sharing.
And that doesn't always happen right away. You can try to create that rapport from the beginning by communicating with them prior to the actual interview, letting them know what to expect during the interview. But you also have to allow room for that trust to grow when they're talking to you.
And you also have to just let them talk. Because there may be some other things on their mind that they want to share with you that don't fit into like this neat little box of what you're trying to capture as an oral historian. So I would say my style has definitely changed from being a straight we're going to go to this question, and this question, and this question, to really just allowing that individual in that time and space to just blossom in front of me as much as they're willing to. So yes, totally agree. And I'm interested in hearing others' perspectives. How about you, Sam?
SAM BRADY: Yes. This is something that I keep thinking about, especially when I was doing my interviews. Because I never did oral history. I never interviewed before I did this project.
And while I did some training, it was all very much felt like I was learning on the go. And every interview was kind of a new, oh, God, something went wrong kind of experience. And so even now, after doing nearly 40 interviews, I have so much to learn. There's so many ways to improve.
Which it's a humbling feeling. In some ways, might also be imposter syndrome. [INAUDIBLE]. I think, for me, one thing that's notable in this conversation is that all but one of my interviewees, while the majority were wheelchair users. Whether that's through injury or something like spina bifida, they all could communicate verbally. They were neurotypical.
And so I found that in terms of the actual process of having the conversation, of addressing the points I needed to address and all that kind of stuff, I generally found it was the same process of I guess a normal oral history interview, to put it as badly as possible. It was the same issues that people faced in terms of getting people to stay on topic, in terms of having these long, winding answers that don't actually address what you're trying to address.
I had one interviewee who I went into a tangent of looking at electric wheelchairs that are used in football. And that person had cerebral palsy. And so I suddenly had to completely rethink, well, how am I going to interview this person. Because they explicitly asked to not do a verbal interview.
I ended up doing a kind of written interview format, where I had my list of questions. And I literally just sent that to them. And they wrote some answers. They sent it back to me. I did follow up questions. And we went back and forth that way.
And I know there are other approaches to this. People have done things over text messenger and over social media services. So there are various ways to do those kind of interviews.
But I found it was part of the thing that got me thinking about this entire topic, about this methodology of it. Because it was, like, oh, yeah, how do you include these people who communicate differently or have certain barriers to neurotypical communication, and how do we accommodate for those people? And it's do you balance the rigid methodology of oral history against who we can include.
So that was something that I found that by the end of my project, even though it wasn't the focus, I ended up reflecting on quite a lot. Because it was just what happened, what naturally came up in my interview process. I mean, Osnat, from your perspective as someone with autism, can you kind of speak about that process?
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Yes. So thanks for mentioning that, Sam. Yes. I'm going to speak a little bit now about my interviewing process as an autistic person and how it might differ from someone who is neurotypical.
So the very first thing I do is I do prepare a list of questions. This is because my working memory isn't always very good. And so I want to have that list on hand in case I forget what people are talking about or run out of things to say.
The other thing I do, and you'll have noticed me doing this a lot anyway on camera, which is why sometimes I have a funny writing position, is I take lots of notes. Again, this helps with working memory issues that I have.
One thing I'm always really conscious of is building rapport. Because autism definitely presents challenges with that. With communicating with neurotypical people, it can be a bit like people speaking two different languages. And so I'm always really conscious.
I am not the person who is imagined as an interviewer. So what do I have to do to go the extra mile to be able to build rapport with my narrators? And so I think just explaining the process as we're going along and having the interview helps quite a lot. So they can see what I'm doing, there's some transparency there.
I don't stick to my list of questions, just to be clear. Part of the reason I write notes is to follow up on things that people are clearly very passionate about. Although sometimes in the moment, it can be a bit overwhelming.
And so there have definitely been a couple of interviews that I've done where the narrator has been really passionate about something. And then I've moved on to the next thing. And reading the transcript, I've just kicked myself and thought, Osnat, what are you doing?
But fortunately, scientists and engineers love talking about their work. So it is nice to get that go around. People are very forgiving, which is nice.
One thing that I think about a lot is a lot of the people I interviewed were older. And some of them felt quite self-conscious about their memories. And in these cases, I would usually email questions to them ahead of time so that they could prepare. Because what's really important to me in oral history is an ethics of care, making people feel safe and comfortable. And so I wanted to try that.
One person asked if they could have a colleague in the room with them when they were being interviewed. And I said yes, that's fine. I think it changed the interview as well in really interesting ways, both because they felt more confident and also because of the interplay between the two colleagues who were talking to each other while I was doing that interview. And so that was really good to see.
One thing that was on my mind a lot is that I really wish that I'd sought additional help when conducting interviews with narrators who felt that they had challenges with memory as sometimes they felt very self-conscious about what they could and couldn't remember. Or it would bring up upsetting memories. And I really did want to make people feel as safe as possible.
So that's absolutely something I want to educate myself on. Just because I'm disabled in one respect doesn't mean I understand everyone else's disabilities. And I think that's a really important thing to acknowledge.
I want to take a deep breath here and say that one thing I've noticed as we've all been talking about doing interviews is that there seems to be these ideals of the imagined interviewer and the imagined narrator. And in some way, we're all pushing back against that. So I wanted to ask how can we push back against these ideals of the imagined interviewers and narrators to make room for interviewers and narrators who are marginalized or from different walks of life? And I'm going to open the floor up now.
NICKI POMBIER: What a great question. And I'm thinking of what you shared about wishing you had sought help when you weren't sure. And that made me think about the way in which I have, in the interviews I did with self advocates with Down syndrome, there was always a third party kind of in the mix in some way. And it's a complicated response to what you're asking, because I'm thinking about the idealized interviewer and interviewee and how do we push back against that.
And I think trying to navigate always toward a desire for that the needs, the agency, the autonomy, the expertise of the person with Down syndrome who I was there to interview was driving the process, that, to me, is ideal. Right? Where the idealized interviewer would be me, who is somehow creating the conditions for the autonomy of the interviewee to lead the process.
That's the ideal for me. That's sort of the definition I would come up with for what. What that looks like in practice is tricky.
Because there was always a third person involved, a parent, or a staff person at an advocacy organization, or a sibling. And this is for a number of reasons. But primarily because this is how I developed access to people, went through others. And then the relationship of that other person to the narrator varied.
And my position as an interviewer-- I wasn't just an interviewer. I am a parent. And so there's a way in which my position as a parent affected the way I was seen by the third person and the narrator. And I had to build in checks against my own impulse to protect, or noticing even if I was being patronizing without meaning to. I'm not answering your question, but I'm trying to respond to it's potency with complexity. Right?
So how do I optimize autonomy? And it's really case by case. And learning, trying-- I saw my responsibility in trying to really understand how a person's agency was expressed and the dynamics at play. Not only just in the interview, but in the setting up the interview, working with the interview materials afterwards.
There was never a case where the ideal was easy. But working towards it became the sort of impetus, if that makes sense. Like, how can I work, understand who these people are to each other, who they think I am. And then try to work in a way that believes in and is led by the needs or desires of the person, the self advocate who I'm there to try to understand, if that makes sense. Sam? Yes.
SAM BRADY: Yes. Both Osnat and Nicki really touched on a number of things I think are important to bring up in this conversation about disability and oral history. So myself, in terms of the imagined interviewer for this kind of project, I myself identify as neurodivergent because I'm dyslexic. But I'm not a wheelchair user.
And so when doing a project about wheelchair technology, kind of from day one, at least when I applied, it was a concern of am I the right person to do this research, how justified I am to do this, all these kind of questions. And that's kind of a separate conversation in some ways, I suppose, in terms of me as an interviewer.
It meant that I had to I was very conscious of my position in how I was asking questions, my tone of voice, what I was expected to know. And thankfully, all of my interviewees were very accommodating and it was never really an issue. Because to them, it was more about the technology than personal identity in many ways.
But it was something that I still am incredibly conscious of because I think when you're doing research around marginalized groups, there is an expectation of some prior knowledge, some lived experience with those groups. And it does kind of change how you imagine yourself or other people as interviewer. In my methodology I've been writing recently, I talk a lot about in-group and outgroup status. And it's something that I'm very conscious of because it does really change the texture of interview sometimes.
I think the other point I'll bring up, because both of [INAUDIBLE] mentioned having other people in the room when interviewing. And this kind of thoughts of methodology, which is, again, something which I'm quite conscious of. I went to another oral history training very recently because the Paralympic Heritage Trust were just running it. And I thought I'll waste a day [INAUDIBLE] for my thesis. And I'll just go to that instead.
And what I found interesting, even for a disability history organization, there was very little mention of accommodation. That may be because of the particular people interviewing or of time we had in the day to actually run the training session. But I guess my perspective on this imagined interviewee-interviewer is, partially because of the training, there's not-- at least in my experience-- there hasn't been much acknowledgment of barriers that interviewees or interviewers may face.
So when you're thinking about what is an interviewee, who are we talking to, it's shaped by that very neurotypical perception of communication and then also for interviewers. And then even going to the other person in the room thing, I feel maybe this is an unqualified statement, but I feel that there's such a anxiety in some ways and-- or issue methodology, on making sure it's as accurate to the experience as possible, making sure there's no one else in the room to influence, making sure that transcription is an automatic process of interpretation. So how do you limit that and all this kind of stuff?
And there's a real concern over not affecting that. But in some ways is it better to lean into that and to say, hey, some people need these extra accommodations? Is it better, to make that part of the interview and to really acknowledge that's some people's lived experience. And, again, it's something I don't have a lot of experience of in my interviews. So it's something that I'm really interested to hear other people's things on.
But I think it's something that at least mainstream oral history methodology hasn't really been spoke about or, at least if it has, there needs to be more conversations on it. So yes, I don't know if anyone has any thoughts on any of my rambling thoughts there.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: I'm sorry you probably couldn't see my hand because of the blur. But just listening to what you were saying, Sam, that kind of brings us to discussing some of those additional challenges that we have had doing oral history. And I would like to actually kind of go first and just say in some of the interviews that I have done, whether it was with this project or others, there are times when you'll have an interviewee who might express, for lack of a better phrase, maybe a controversial opinion about something that may not necessarily gel with public consumption.
So I'm curious to the ways in which you all-- first of all, if you all have ever encountered anything like that in your work. And second, if you have, what was your approach, or what are your thoughts on how to be able to still produce something that is still authentic, but maybe produce something without offense, if that makes any sense. Yes. Go ahead, Nicki.
NICKI POMBIER: That makes me think of a time when I-- so a narrator who expressed a strong opinion about a kind of hot button political topic during our interview. And this is a narrator who I interviewed just this person and I, one-to-one. Their parents were involved in setting things up. I had also interviewed their parents separately about their experiences, kind of establishing parent support groups in the '70s for parents of kids with disabilities. And so they were kind of a package deal, the parents and the self advocate.
And so as I entered the editing phase of the project, where I had worked with a couple other of the narrators to determine that the outcome of the project would be a public-facing website featuring edits from the interviews that I would collaborate with each narrator to produce, but my approach to collaboration started with me, right? I was, like, what are the parts of the interview that do the work that I think this collection needs to do in the world?
So with this particular narrator, that moment where-- this may be the opposite of what you're asking, Alonna, but it kind of speaks to, I think, the same question. Which is what do we do when someone says something and it's somehow in tension with our understanding of the public-facing work of the project. So in this case, I was, like, oh, people don't think of people with Down syndrome as having hot takes on political topics. And they do.
And so here's a moment where this person says something pertinent to the landscape. Let's include this piece. And so this was my process. Edit clips. Share them back with the people who gave them. Ask what they think.
I shared this with other clips back to the-- and in this case, it was the package deal, the parents and the narrator. They heard this clip. I don't know what happened on their end, whether this person heard it themselves and then the parents separately, or if the parents heard it or what. But I sent it to all three of them.
And they wrote back in the first person plural. So the royal "we," you know? I had no idea who was actually speaking, who actually made this decision. But they were very upset at the idea that this might be included because they thought it could compromise the self advocate's political neutrality. And the self advocate's profession and professional work is as a public speaker.
And so the stakes were professional and were real. And I understand that. And I erred-- I listened, of course. I respected that.
I felt terrible. That was my impulse. That's kind of hardwired in me. And that's a separate panel. But I did feel really-- I was, like, how could I think that?
But then as I've given time to reflect on it and, more importantly, not just my own reflection, but I asked months later the self advocate themselves, what happened there. You know? What do you think of this clip?
And the person was, like, well, I didn't think it was that big a deal. It's just parents. You know how they are.
So this was a case where I wish I had done things differently so that I could have asked this person independent of their parents. First of all, I would loved to know more about what they thought about this hot button topic. So that's something I would say. Like, maybe go back and ask more, Nicki. And then maybe lead with asking them with whether they want it public and what they think might happen, or what they think the impact, what they want the impact of their story to be, rather than going through the gatekeepers of the parents.
It's a power dynamic that's really problematic, that can be really problematic in the advocacy narrative landscape. I think especially with Down syndrome a lot of the advocacy organizations are led by parents. And I think that can get in the way, maybe, of a lot of what the people with Down syndrome themselves have and want to say.
And knowing that I am a parent, I have to constantly work against that. And so it's an area in which my work in the world has also-- I've tried to let it into my work as a parent and let those two kind of talk to each other. Because it's my job in a lot of ways to create a life in which my son can be self-actualized.
So I try to let those two things talk to each other. And it's really hard. But Alonna, to your question, I definitely had this moment where I intervened against what someone said. And I would do it differently. I don't know if it would have the same outcome, if they would have ultimately decided they didn't want to share that publicly, but I would have done it differently rather than intervene myself. Sam?
SAM BRADY: Just a quick anecdote from the side of the interviewer causing offense. So my interviews, I was, again, from my position, I was trying to be very considerate of language. So I tried very hard to make sure I was referring to people in the right way, especially if they use different models of disability and the languages that come with that and all this stuff.
And one of my first interviews, I referred to wheelchair-using athletes as disabled athletes. And my interviewee stopped me mid-question and was, like, oh, I hate that term. Please use para-athlete. Because you have parasport, para-athlete.
And I was, like, oh, yeah, OK. Really sorry. Yeah, cool. And it was a personal thing. But the way they phrased it was very much, like, you should use this. This is the modern language. This was an athlete who was around the '80s and '90s mainly. So I took it verbatim.
And then in the next interview, it was the next day, I think, the next interview I did, I used the term para-athlete. And the athlete turned around and was, like, oh, you should use disabled. It's more appropriate for my political outlook. And I was, like, great, OK. I've offended two people and learned nothing.
But I guess from that point of view as an experience of being conscious of how your participants like to be spoken to and like to be referred to is very important. And it's something that, in some ways, you're never going to get right. Because everyone is an individual and they have their own individual preferences.
I think also, from a research point of view, it's important to not get too caught up in that. Because you can cause offense. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the interview is ruined from that point on and they'll never speak to you again. I think it's very easy, especially if [INAUDIBLE] anxious, like myself, it's something you can get caught up in quite quickly. I was very flustered in both those interviews after that point.
But actually, from speaking to those interviewees afterwards, it was not actually that big of a deal. And they forgot that it even happened until they looked over the transcripts again. So yeah, that was a learning experience for me. Osnat, do you have any thoughts on offense, causing offense or responding to offense?
Oh, is Osnat frozen currently?
Are you there, Osnat?
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Yes. Sorry. My internet connection just went out. I'm going to answer this. Thanks.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Hi, this is Kate. I have come into the room for a moment because we can tell that there is a technical difficulty. And Osnat, you seem to be moving fluidly now. Yeah? OK. I turn it over to you.
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Right. Yes. Anyway, as I was going to say, space gossip really won't work. But [INAUDIBLE] wants to go on the record saying them because it's such a small [INAUDIBLE] with huge consequences. And most of my narrators were [INAUDIBLE] trained. So I spent a lot of time talking to people who were very reticent in what they would tell me and often talked around the subject, rather than addressing it directly.
I had one person who agreed to tell me a lot of things. But only if they were completely off the record while doing so. So that was a really interesting interview to do, both for the content and also for what was surrounding it. In the end, I decided to embrace this reticence as part of what people were telling me and as part of scientific norms and culture because I thought that was really the best way to get around it and also that, as an outsider and also just from an ethical perspective, I didn't feel that it was my place to push, if that makes any sense at all. Sorry. That's horribly worded.
I would like to move on to Roberta Brooks' very thoughtful question, can you speak to your experience interviewing individuals with communication challenges? I'm just going to open the floor now.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: This is a question off of the Q&A board. And so I just want to make people aware that we are moving on to the Q&A board and to the audience questions. Thank you, Osnat, for doing that.
SAM BRADY: I mean, I already spoke about it a little bit. So I won't repeat myself too much. But all my interviews were kind of this Zoom-based verbal communications. And then suddenly I had a participant who explicitly asked to not communicate in that way. And that's when I went to that written interview format where it was a Word document with a list of questions. Then we email back and forth as they answer questions and I ask follow-up questions.
And that was maybe potentially a little low effort in some ways. Maybe I should have done a little research and double checked other methodological approaches. But that was something, for me, I found that worked. I don't know if anyone else is going to speak to this.
But I do know there are some-- or as I'm aware of, there are some practices for deaf oral histories. And those interviews, as far as I understand, that is more or less using the same methodologies, oral history practices, just obviously with a different style of communication. But the extent to which it's just as easily comparable, I'm not fully clear on. I don't know if anyone else has any thoughts on Roberta's question.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Nicki?
NICKI POMBIER: I'll just say that the question that I am least certain of a response to and most interested in is how do we do oral history with people who don't speak.
Sam, I'm so glad you mentioned deaf documentary practices. I can share a link with Kate that maybe can be circulated afterwards to the Schuchman Center's deaf documentary center at Gallaudet University. They do really incredible documentary of deaf history.
But for people who maybe remember differently, or don't I don't know. There are just so many ways in which the there's so much room for growth in doing oral history with people who communicate non-traditionally, who remember, maybe, in ways that are different than chronological. And I think, case-by-case, being open to whatever methods might work, that's my suggestion to myself.
And so a lot of the work at Temple is working, bringing artists, people with artistic practices, into conversation with oral history practices. And so how does dance consider what self-expression looks like? Or how can filmmakers work with people who are communicating with their body in a way that the audio recorder fully misses? You know?
So just being open to a range of tools and doing the equivalent of throwing your research questions out over your shoulder after you've compiled them in your methods. I'm kind of in the middle of trying to do that myself. So I wanted to respond because I do have experiences trying to record lived experience with people who communicate in a range of ways. And it's hard to quantify what that looks like or give a quick answer.
But it's really case-by-case. And it's worth doing. And the arts, I think, have some way forward.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you. This is Kate. And we're just sort of randomly picking things off the Q&A board as my scroll pops them up. This is a question that was entered by Perry Mauldin.
For the panelists, though oral histories are excluded from some IRB, Institutional Review Board, considerations, have any of you gone through this kind of practice? I wonder how the matter of working with live human subjects impacts your research and publications. And if you found creative ways to develop alternative, ethically considerate methods to the IRB? Osnat?
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Yes. I'd like to start this one off if that's OK. So in the UK, we do actually have to put oral histories through ethics review. And this is a process that's constantly being updated.
Recently we had to update our guidance at our university again because we were responding to remote interviews being more common now. And that can open up a different host of ethical challenges, in particular things like data protection.
We're covered by something called GDPR, which is General Data Protection Regulations, if I got that right. And so we have to be really careful about protecting participants' private data, particularly if they disclose anything to us that might be, for example, any kind of just sensitive or traumatic nature, we have to consider that.
So when I went through my ethics review process, that was done through my university. That was actually done through my department. We had to really lay out all the ways in which we would take care to treat narrators in the most ethical way possible.
One thing that I found was interesting is that we also had to take care and explain how we would treat ourselves ethically as well. And that was something that I hadn't necessarily planned for. But that could also be my own psyche.
But yes, what I found was that it's not going to be the same for everyone. But I found that my department was really good on providing advice on how to make sure you're building an ethics of care right from the beginning.
I'm going to pass over to Sam now, if you want to speak about your experiences doing ethics review, which is what we call it in the UK.
SAM BRADY: Yes. I went through a very similar experience. I'm technically based in sociology. And because interviewing practice is such a big part of sociological research, it was actually relatively simple to kind of just apply [INAUDIBLE]. Instead of writing, I'm doing active interview styles, whatever. I'm just [INAUDIBLE] to it as oral history, and then fill through the checklist as normal.
I think one thing I'll pick up on from Perry's question is actually about publications. Because for my interviews, anyway-- I'm assuming this would be the same for other oral history practices-- will be once your participant's have signed off on doing the interview, once they've signed various forms and whatnot, within those forms there will generally be some line about, oh, I consent to information in this interview being used in this project and in other publications or pieces of work that come from it. And so I found that, for me, I didn't technically have to contact my participants once they'd agreed to everything, once the transcripts are being signed off and they were happy with the interview.
But I did go through the process, when I was working on some articles, just to email them and just to double check, like, by the way, I'm going to use this line that I consider to be a bit sensitive. Are you OK doing this? I didn't do it for every line? Because some things were just stated facts, like, dates I, thought that's probably fine.
But for things that might be a bit more sensitive, for example, the experience of the person with cerebral palsy which I spoke to, the article that Osnat and I are coming out with includes that. And I made sure to email just to ask are you OK if we do this? This is how we're going to approach it. We're including it for this reason.
They had already signed off on the interview. But technically, legally, I suppose I didn't necessarily have to. But I just thought it felt morally correct to just kind of double check and make sure they were aware that this was happening.
And then also it's a nice way to keep in touch with your interviewees after you interview them. Because especially doing it over Zoom, it is kind of, like, thank you for giving me information. Goodbye. So it's a nice way to keep in contact with people. I don't know if Nicki or Alonna has any thoughts on Perry's question.
NICKI POMBIER: I'll just say that I like the idea of-- I don't like the idea of setting up a bureaucracy, but for this, as something like the IRB. But I do like the idea of-- I mean, there-- of codifying an ethic of care.
And I do think there are ways in which the Oral History Association in the US does have a published set of principles and best practices and language about ethics. And so language about ethical processes pervades, I think, scholarship around oral history in the US without codifying it in a process. But there's something-- I would love-- I think that yeah, it's an interesting question. I appreciate the question.
And Osnat, the notion of codifying-- I keep saying codifying, that's the word of the moment. That the way you care for yourself in this process, too, is really-- I saw someone put the Wow face up there. And I was, like, yeah. That's a Wow face.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: I'm going to thank you all for your answers. And I'm going to switch to a comment, as self-described from Tiffany Velez. And it starts off with Alonna, comma. [LAUGHS]
So I'm just going to read what Tiffany has said here and then see if you have something that you would like to respond to, OK? Alonna, this is not really a question as much as a comment. I appreciated your words as an interviewer to allow the narrator to just talk.
I'm a person with a disability. And my son is a person with a disability as well. I am white and he is Afro-Latino. His experience is vastly different than mine. And I learned of these differences when I was raising him and discovered that the resources available to our family, also [INAUDIBLE], leaned heavily toward the narrative created by white individuals' experiences.
It was in listening to my son just talk about his story that opened my eyes and helped me to better advocate for him and help him to learn how to advocate for himself. So I appreciated your thoughts about narrators and letting them just talk or communicate in whatever way is best for them. I believe that it's infinitely important. Because what we expect to hear from interviewees can be different than what we expect to hear or are prepared to hear.
And I just open it-- since it had your name tagged at the top, if there's anything that you wanted to share from your experiences in response to Tiffany.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: Yes. Tiffany, thank you so much for that comment and sharing your experience.
So one thing I will say, and I did not mention it throughout the conversation. But I am the sibling of a young man who has Down syndrome. So learning to let him just talk, that has just been something that I've had to learn throughout my entire life, being his sister.
And I just find that when we allow people to just talk and we are not trying to interrupt or we're not coming in with an agenda, we learn so much more about them. We learn so much more about their story. And as you mentioned, Tiffany, we learn how to better advocate for them if they are someone who would like us to do that for them.
Yes. So I just think that's just an important piece of not only oral history, but life in general, letting people talk. I feel like in today's society we're not very good at listening, right? So we could all just be a little bit better at that. We would learn so much more about others and learn how to empathize more.
And that's just what I will say about that. And, again, really appreciate your comment.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you, both. Thank you, Tiffany. Thank you, Alonna. Here's a question from Jamie [INAUDIBLE].
In this process of conducting oral history interviews, how do you balance what is important to the person with a disability and what they want to communicate with what is important to your research project?
SAM BRADY: [INAUDIBLE]
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Oh, sorry.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: As you know, I just finished talking. So go ahead, Sam.
SAM BRADY: OK. I'll be quick. I suppose for me, I found that, I had a couple of interviewees who were really focused more on telling their experiences of certain wheelchair races than my focus on actually, like, the technology behind that. So I have some interviews where there's a good half hour at the start of just here's me just describing some events. This is great. But it's not necessarily what I need.
But what I found was A, there's that importance of just listening that Alonna just spoke about. It is important that people just speak. And especially with oral history, you are aiming to get their voice and to get their experiences and to learn about them. So to let them speak or just do that is really important.
It also, in some ways, I found made them more comfortable to then answer some more targeted questions, more closed questions about what you're actually there for, quote, unquote. Because they've been able to give you that context and been able to show how they perceive your questions, I guess.
And so I tried very hard at the start. I got really concerned about, oh, my interviews aren't as focused as I want them to be. But as I went on, and then as I went on and analyzed them, I realized that was a kind of a tricky way of thinking about it. Because the interview is valuable in and of itself. It has a lot of value purely from that person's experience, what you can draw from it. Whether it answers your direct questions the way you worded them is something that you can overcome with how you analyze them and how you use them in other parts of your project, publications, and however you're using them.
So I think for myself that's something that I'm trying to train myself out of, not thinking of an interview as a mathematic equation that you need to get a certain answer from, if that makes sense. Anyway, Alonna.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: Yes, I totally agree, Sam, with everything you said. The way that I approach that is, again, by just letting them talk. In that point where they pause, I usually can find a way to connect what they were previously talking about to something that I had wanted to ask about on my list. So that is the way that I do it. Nicki or Osnat, any feedback on that? Go ahead, Nicki. I'm sorry.
NICKI POMBIER: I think this may be-- I'm thinking about Tiffany's comment and how what we expect, what we think we may be there to listen for may be different from what we hear. And what we hear is what we're there actually to hear.
And so this process of really relinquishing, in a way, what I think my questions are and instead making space to hear what's said. And I'm not working in a field that has-- the rigor in the work that I do is more, I think, about-- I don't know. I'm not looking for certain answers.
But I also think that there's a way in which this notion applies broadly. That by letting people just talk, you're actually hearing what it that is important, that needs to be heard. And so there was the sort of duty to understand the meaning making that's happening there.
I don't know. I'm trying to work my way towards a thought around-- the way I know, as a parent and as an interviewer, I guess, but the knowledge that is expressed in words that, if you were to just extract them and put them on the page, may not look like they amount to much and how our work can be to-- but they really do-- my son's ways of knowing are complex. He knows a lot.
But the world doesn't see that readily, right? He knows a lot. But it's not necessarily legible immediately to the world around him. And if I can make the depth and complexity of what I know he knows available to others, that seems like my way of answering this.
And maybe I'm answering the question that I want to, not the question you've asked. But there's something here that I'm working towards around, like, letting go entirely of what it is that we think-- that I think I'm looking for and instead, observing, or being in relationship with what comes out. Osnat, did you want to add anything to that?
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Yes. I'm certainly happy to. So I just want to echo what Sam and Alonna and Nicki have all said so eloquently about how, at least to me, a core part of oral history is saying, actually, you know what? What this person has to say is more important than what my funding body thinks my research output should be.
I think that's really at the core of it. I think learning to cede that control is the big, important research. It's a really important part of doing oral history. And at the risk of biting the hand that feeds us, I want to say that this is something that should be reflected in research grants. If we had a more flexible idea of research output, I think that this would be a lot less of a problem that we need to struggle with.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you. I just want to articulate that there were about 50 little heart shapes that floated up while Osnat was talking about having that kind of flexibility in research overall. And I just wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of all the hearts that were going on at that time.
The next question is-- I want to add something before the next question. And I apologize to the questioner. We've been talking about oral history. And this question uses the word oral story. And so I want to just articulate the difference in the language. And I don't know if that will be relevant to your answer.
This question is from Lisa Ney. Can you all please relate to the fine line between oral stories and being careful in how we share those stories and not exploiting the person's story? As a social worker, and telling these stories sometimes for fundraising and raising awareness to disabilities, we continually discuss this. Thank you, Lisa.
SAM BRADY: Just to, I guess, address. It's a really important question. And I'm glad that someone brought it up.
I think it's something that will very much depend on the context in which you're doing the interview and for what purpose. So for example, if you're doing it for a charity, if you're doing it for a museum, it's going to be archived and all this stuff, I would hope anyway there is an understanding that the interviews may be used in this way. And that's something that [INAUDIBLE] talk about, that may come up in the agreements that are signed beforehand, or it's something that that person was able to sign off on.
Obviously, that does get a little complicated, say, if it's someone in a caring position and maybe they're not able to sign off on their own. [INAUDIBLE] that's something that I'm not qualified to speak about. So I'll avoid that topic.
I think, from a research perspective, by the nature of research, there's a lot of focus within the academy and within academic networks. While we do need to be conscious of how it's represented, it's not as, I guess, publicly visible, unfortunately. But it's not as publicly visible as, say, let's call campaign.
So I would say that it's something that I did speak to people about. And it's something that I was conscious of when doing my preparation for oral histories. But it's something that I found hasn't actually, really, so far hasn't reflected my personal experience. But that also may depend on the people that you're interviewing. So yes, this is a rambly collection of thoughts on that. Someone else probably has better things to say.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: I'll jump in here. So when I think about the difference between oral histories and oral stories, so histories, you have some aspects of the past that you're speaking about, looking at, maybe, this particular individual's life story, counter chronologically in some facets. And then an oral story would kind of focus around a particular, I would say, event or something in the present that they're sharing with someone in order to contribute to, for instance, that fundraising aspect.
I would say that the way in which it becomes exploitative-- I'm having trouble getting my words out this morning-- but is if you frame that story from-- a form of pity. And that's something that you never want to do. So as long as you, again, are clear. Like I said in the beginning, one, what is your why? Why are you sharing this story? What is the goal of this story?
I think that is the way that you can kind of avoid exploiting that person's story. And I'm not sure if anybody else wants to chime in. Go ahead, Nicki.
NICKI POMBIER: I would just add also that for me it was really educational to learn about the kind of narrative landscape that existed. What are the stories that are told for the four different whys? And where does this project, or this particular kind of story, where does the narrator maybe want this to fit? Do they want to tell a story that is a part of a broader kind of narrative movement, or not movement in the sense of a rights movement, but the kind of stories that we're telling-- or do they want to tell something that's different intentionally?
I'm thinking of campaigns like the More Alike Than Different campaign that the National Down Syndrome Congress had a number of years ago and the kinds of stories that portray people with Down syndrome as everyday heroes. That's like a trope or sort of like a storytelling kind of theme. And so what is the broader picture of storytelling about the people you're working with that's out there? And how does this fit in? And how does the person want their story used in relationship to those stories that are already out there?
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you. We only have three minutes left, I just realized. I thought we had lots of time left. And suddenly I looked up and we're just about out of time.
So we have time for just one short thing. And there is a question in here that I can't find right now. But it was something about your favorite question to ask.
And so maybe that would be a fun way of wrapping up. Is there a favorite question that you have, that you have enjoyed asking. And would you like to share it?
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: I'll go. So yes. In the Intersection of Race and Disability Project, we had five participants, or five stories, I should say, that we did. And there were only two people out of those five who are still living.
So I had a chance to with the three folks who were acting as narrators for the deceased individual stories, one of the questions I love to ask was if you could describe this person in one word, what would it be. And I love to ask that question because the person, of course, was not there to give their story, it gave me some background into their character and how they moved in this world. And so yes, that was my question. How would you describe this person in one word. And it was always hard for them to do just one. But the words that they came up with just really were a testament to that person's spirit.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you. Sam?
SAM BRADY: So for me, while it wasn't focused on the technology, what I'm meant to be looking into, I always asked my participants about the sport communities they're part of. Because particularly when the game started, when the Paralympic Games started, that was a lot of the impetus behind it, was that kind of social connection with people.
So I was always really excited to just ask people about your communities and the atmosphere at competitions and this kind of stuff. And I always got very nice answers about, oh, no, we'd always be drinking in between matches and this kind of stuff and this really nice communal aspect, the way the technology was developed, and all this stuff.
And that's the kind of thing which I found to be very important in the interview and something that I made sure I always asked. Whether it came up naturally and I just went into it, or I kind of, at the end of the interview, I was, like, tell me about this. Because I found it was important to contextualize why sport has been used in this way and the technology developed in that way.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you, Sam. Osnat?
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Yes. So I don't have a favorite question. But I do have a favorite category of question.
So everyone I talked to had this one scientific instrument that they talked about. I didn't structure the questions in this way. It's just what fell out of the interviews. And they always got really passionate about one instrument, because they saw that as their big break.
And whenever they would start talking about that one instrument, that was how we established rapport. It was like a wall had fallen down between us and all of a sudden their eyes were full of light and they just became their best selves in the interviews. They were so passionate. And it was just so wonderful to see how working on these missions and instruments brought back such positive memories for them.
So interesting, as well, to see how it contributed to their identities as scientists and engineers and to think of how fondly they remembered those instruments, even in some cases, when they were launched 40 years ago. That was something really special to see.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you so much. Nicki, do you want to?
NICKI POMBIER: Sure. It's similar. Not a specific question, but just asking people about the things around them.
So being in a place and not pretending we weren't in a place, and letting people share-- maybe this gets at what you're saying, Osnat, but share the things that they love and show me their world, in a way. Show me the things that matter to them and the things that light them up, like Osnat said.
And so following people around places-- so also not sort of assuming the interview needs to happen sitting down face-to-face. The interview can move. People can move. You can move around the space. And I loved just having people show me around.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you all so very much. I want to first apologize for people who had questions and we didn't get a chance to ask them. We did try to ask a variety of questions. So thank you for submitting your questions.
I want to mention to everyone who is watching that we have recorded this. And so it takes a little while for us to review the transcripts and to put all the pieces together. But it will be available on our internet site. And you'll receive an email in response to coming to this where it will have the link.
There is a survey also that should appear in that email. So it'd be super if you could give us your feedback on this particular event.
And finally, I want to say what a pleasure and honor it was to be able to meet you all, to just be a witness to the conversation between you all and the work that you're doing, and how very deliberate you are in trying to extend the edges of what that work means.
So thank you all so much. And thank you for your time today. Thank you to our sign language interpreters. Thank you to our captioner. Thank you to Sally. Thank you to the people who are moderating the boards. It takes a village, as you know, to keep a Zoom operational. So thank you all so much. And have a wonderful day.
ALONNA CARTER-DONALDSON: Thank you. Bye, bye.
NICKI POMBIER: Thank you. Thanks, Kate. Bye, everybody.
SAM BRADY: Thanks.
KATE FIALKOWSKI: Thank you.
OSNAT KATZ MOON: Thank you.
Title: PhD Researcher
Affiliation: University of Glasgow + National Paralympic Heritage Trust
Title: Project Scholar and Public Historian
Affiliation: Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium
Links: https://www.wpdhac.org/intersection-of-race-and-disability-project/ www.alonnajcarter.com
- Visionary Voices Oral Histories, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University College of Education and Human Development.
- The History of the Sports Wheelchair, National Paralympic Heritage Trust.
- The Intersection of Race and Disability Project, Western Pennsylvania Disability Action and History Consortium.
- Osnat Katz Moon
- Here. Stories from Selinsgrove Center, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University College of Education and Human Development.
- Is Your Oral History Legal and Ethical, The Oral History Society (UK).
- OHA Principles and Best Practices, The Oral History Association (US).