Opening Monday, April 26th, at 12PM
Collecting Oral Histories (Mon, 4/26, 12 pm) – Studs Terkel Radio Archive
What’s the difference between sitting down with someone and asking them about their past and collecting an oral history? The secret is, it doesn’t have to be that different! We explain what oral histories are, why they matter, and how to conduct them in your own life.
About the Competition
This is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to participate. The program coordinators launched this project because we wanted to give the public a chance to explore the local and lesser-known histories of Chicago and beyond and express their creative skills in the process. Each archive (the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, South Side Home Movie Project, and Media Burn) has collected a subset of programs from our vaults that we are making available on a limited time, project specialized basis for YOU! Any interested participant can download the programs from our directory and create their own absolutely original, reuse project.
Want to learn a little more about the archives sponsoring this project and talk with some of the other participants about their creative process? Come to any of our workshops in our educational series! These are a time in which our contest managers can share a little bit of their expertise and help you along with parts of your project, as well as for you to ask your own questions!
TO SIGN UP FOR WORKSHOPS: Scroll to the bottom for sign-up forms for each workshop and details on what you can expect to learn from each one.
Choose a topic, and use our archive programs to make your own original project answering the prompt! This can be in the form of a video, like a documentary or oral history, but you can also make it into a whole new medium! Maybe our archival programs made you think in poetry, or perhaps you want to paint a scene about what you learned. It’s up to you!
There are three different topics that participants can address in their work.
1. Activism through Art
So much radical change across time has been influenced and powered by artists. Chicago has a long and rich history of those who use their artistic process as a means to incite change. In your project, explore past occurrences of activist artists and their works, and show how the artistic practice and product impacted.
2. Origin Stories
The process of learning who we are and where we come from is one that every person goes through in their lifetime. Some find that in their family, and some find it in what practices they care about. In your project, use samples of archival material to inspect an origin — you can look into someone’s whole lifetime, or just a single moment that you think shapes who they are!
You can even do this project on yourself! Tell a story of part of what makes that person who they came to be.
3. People and their Environments
Our surroundings affect the people who live there. Everyone has a relationship to the things around them — what place is special to you? A particular street, a park, a restaurant? In your project, explore how a specific place influences the people who interact with it. What was it like many years ago, and how is it the same or different now? What markers of the past can you still see there?
Participants do not necessarily need to explicitly include archival media if their projects reflect and name specific resources they consulted and used to inform their work. Formats can also be combined/manipulated as participants see fit.
• Documentary — a short research project that explores past and/or current events about the given topic. This can include narration, original video, oral history, and/or any creative storytelling technique (educational skit, writing, music)
• Oral History – an interview or series of interviews of the given topic, combined with archival materials. This can be recorded as only audio or as a video-recorded interview. Regardless this can be combined with visual elements/archival video to accompany the storytelling process.
• Poetry and Creative Writing, Original Music. – Create a poem or creative writing piece about the given topic, what subject matter you uncovered in your research, or about the process of historical research itself. Or create a song that tells that story either musically or lyrically!
• Visual Art – create a piece, either image or video, that tells your historical research story. This is especially pertinent to the Art and Activism category but can be used for any prompt. If you create an image (which can be an image of your art of any medium, like a painting, drawing, textile, etc.), speak about what it means to you and how to relate to your chosen topic. It can even just be recording you next to your piece and talking about what archival materials you used to inform your work!
• The submitted project must be original, researched, compiled, and edited by the contestants.
• A single project can be done by as many people as are willing to participate. Just make sure to include everyone in the credits!
o The project should contain a credit reel of all participants and their role in creating the video.
• The project should include a list of all material used in the making of the project, either inserted directly in the work or consulted in the creative process
o Projects containing un-cited content or includes a majority of un-original content will be disqualified
• Videos that contain images or language that is profane, racially insensitive, and/ or sexually provocative will be disqualified