Past Conferences

2021 Conference

Oral History Conference

FREE Presentations and Live Q&A Sessions

PLUS:  Workshops on Doing Oral Histories

The Michigan Oral History Association’s 2021 Conference and Workshops will be held October 9-16.  

FREE variety of recorded presentations beginning October 9, include:

  • The Settlement and Integration of Latinos in Michigan
  • The Detroit/Southern Michigan Punk Scene
  • The PBB Crisis in Michigan
  • Hockey in the U.P.
  • Capturing Unheard Voices
  • And more!

On October 15th and 16th, live (Zoom participation) Q&A sessions will be open free to the public.   

In addition, active and new members of MOHA will have access to helpful conference workshops (and a copy of the MOHA’s Guide to Doing Oral History) that provide foundational knowledge for new practitioners, feature panel discussions of key topics in the field, and include consultations. 

Presentations will be uploaded as MP4s on October 9th and made available asynchronously via the MOHA website. Zoom links to Q&A sessions will be available with registration.  Sessions will coordinate with the national Oral History Association (OHA) conference.

Watch for notices to MOHA members and the MOHA website: for session descriptions, schedule, and registration information.

MOHA 2020 Conference

Cancelled due to COVID!

It was supposed to be on May 16, 2020 at the Michigan Library and Historical Center Lansing

This unique conference offers a diverse slate of
presentations representing a variety of personal and
institutional backgrounds, perspectives, and voices.

Fascinating and useful presentations were to include:

  • Alienation and Belonging in the Oral Histories of Michigan Iranian Americans
  • Creating, Promoting, and Growing a University Archives Oral History Program
  • Using Oral Histories to Family Genealogy
  • Capturing Ethnic Communities
  • Incorporating Oral Histories in the College Classroom
  • The Detroit/Southern Michigan Punk Scene
  • Capturing Oral History Through a Museum

“Michigan Voices 2017”

The Michigan Voices 2017 took place in the Michigan History Center on October 21st, 2017,

“Michigan Voices 2017” brought together oral history practitioners from across the region. This was an opportunity to
keep abreast with a wide range of other developments and experiences, as well as advice from experts.

Presenters were invited to discuss their oral history research and projects in a series of brief, “lightning” talks, offering opportunities to share their own work. A wide range of previous topics included training middle school through college
students, experiences of Hmong Americans, issues of transcribing, newest technologies supporting oral interviews, 50-year church history, and reflections on lessons learned during the creation of oral history projects.

The Michigan Oral History Association’s (MOHA) “Michigan Voices” also provided a
fantastic chance to network with the region’s oral history community.

The “Voices” event was free of charge. Coffee and bagels were provided during the meeting,
though lunch will not be included. Instead, MOHA had a gathering at a local restaurant where people chatted, ate, drank, and networked after the event.

2016 Michigan Oral History Association (MOHA) Annual Forum

The Michigan Oral History Association (MOHA) Annual Forum was held November 19, 2016 bringing
together oral history practitioners and those interested in developing oral history projects.

Sessions included:

  • basics of conducting an oral history project,
  • the latest technology involved in conducting projects,
  • oral history in the classroom,
  • descriptions of projects that capture “authentic voices.”

A networking luncheon followed the program to allow participants to connect, report on projects,
and share ideas.

The registration fee of $25 included the Forum, all materials, and a box lunch. Registration was online at

Opening Reception of the Forum was held at the 2016 Summit on Racism, “Understanding Racial Equity;
Transforming our Community,” sponsored by the Society for History and Racial Equity (SHARE) on November 18 at 4:45 pm at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

A Summit session featured the value of oral histories.

Also included in the SHARE Summit:

  • Deeper look at racial equity and how it applies to our communit• Working with Youth
  • Tools for Workplaces
  • Examples of oral history projects where people of color have taken control of a narrative, and thus restore authentic identity to the individual
  • Kalamazoo College Alumni of Color Oral History Project
  • Yemeni personal experiences and family histories

MOHA forum: What's happening in Oral History in the State of Michigan 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Michigan Oral History Association hosted a forum on recent projects and activities in Oral History from around the state. There were both official reports from MOHA members as well as an open discussion. The Forum was free and a box lunch was included. Participants were asked to register by November 4th, 2015.

Featured reports included:

  • Jim Cameron, Social Studies Consultant, Michigan Department of Education
  • Donna Odom, Executive Director, SHARE (Society for History and Racial Equity)
  • Rick Peiffer, Unit Engineer, Michigan State University
  • John Revitte, Emeritus Professor, Michigan State University
  • Karen Schaumann-Beltran, Associate Professor, Schoolcraft College
  • Geneva Wiskemann, Former State Archivist, Lansing

Open Discussion: Share your ideas on interview techniques, interview protocols,
recording methods, special challenges, project possibilities.

The annual membership meeting of the Michigan Oral History Association (MOHA) followed the Forum, with election of 2016-2018 Board of Directors and officers.

Oral History for Michiganians: A Conference (2014)

The event was help on November 7-8, 2014 at the Michigan HIstorical Center in Lansing

The 2014 conference was open to everyone – practitioners, would-be practitioners, and all who use recorded interviews as historical documents. The event followed the tradition begun by the Michigan Oral History Council, thirty-five years prior. The goal was to educate  for excellence in methodology, techniques, curating, preservation and use. The organization encouraged individuals and institutions involved with the creation and preservation of oral history to uphold certain principles, professional and technical standards and obligations through conferences, workshops, consultant service and publication.

We were honored to partner with the Michigan Historical Center and Archives of Michigan in offering this event. Several history related groups and individuals joined in support. A rich mix of presenters designed sessions that focused on:

  • Oral History as a historical document for research and writing
  • Recognition and study of ethnic groups
  • Use and benefits of projects conducted by students
  • Information about fast changing technology, and 
  • Adherence to Best Practices and Principles recommended by the Oral History Association

As part of the event, a documentary viewing was held as part of the Friday Evening Conference Program

“For the 25” is a documentary film that chronicles the experience of four Marine scout snipers before, during, and after combat in Afghanistan. Based on oral history testimony, the film talks candidly about the hardships (and humor) these men experienced in war and how those struggles continued as they readjusted to life with varying  degrees of PTSD. Created in Michigan by Michigan filmmakers for college credit, the film at that time had been viewed by close to 1,000,000 times including three screening/film festivals; and has been shown in PTSD and veteran hospitals as a therapeutic tool. This presentation focused on the benefits of oral history and oral history-based film making. It was introduced by Jeffrey Chamley, Michigan State University professor and former President of MOHA, and presented by Rebecca Zantjer whose thesis work partially investigates the way oral history methods and theories can be applied to make technology more useful and inclusive.

Martha Aladjim Bloomield – A Conference Presenter Comments on Presentation Topic

Martha Aladjim Bloomfield, author, oral historian, artist and photographer,who specializes in sharing stories of marginalized people, presented on the importance of voice in historical research as part of the Saturday morning Conference program.

She wrote:

“Primary research and secondary sources give context to each other to tell a people’s history. Specifically, personal stories help paint a more complete historical picture with depth and breadth that complement the facts and events of a specific era.”

“Interviewees provide their dimensions and meaning to more traditional historical texts when they share their stories that reveal their own memories, experiences, struggles, challenges, hopes, and dreams. When provided the opportunity, they often also share family artifacts — three dimensional objects, documents, photographs, journals, and letters that enhance and validate their stories. When others tell these  people’s stories, they necessarily infuse their own interpretation with different meaning and facts.”

“Of particular interest to me are the stories of refugees, immigrants, migrants, and the homeless — those who are marginalized from the greater society and whose stories we do not often hear directly which are so essential to understanding our society and others throughout the world.”

At the time of the conference, Bloomfield had authored The Sweetness of Freedom,Stories of immigrants (2010) with Steve Ostrander and written My Eyes Feel They Need to Cry; Stories from the Formerly Homeless (2013) and Hmong Americans in Michigan (2014). She was also working on a documentary film with an international team of academics and journalists on the memory and adaptation of Hmong people in the Diaspora. She was also completing a manuscript on Bulgarian Jews on oral History interviews she conducted in Bulgaria in the spring 2013.