"The oral testimonies of the indigenous people, men and women, community leaders and ordinary people, who give a face to this country, need to be recorded if an all-inclusive history of South Africa is ever to be written"  
International Oral History Association (IOHA)

The International Oral History Association (IOHA) was formally constituted in June 1996 at the IXth International Oral History Conference in Goteborg, Sweden.  Membership is open to any individual or institution supporting the goals and objectives of the Association.  A Council elected at a General Meeting held at the biennial international Oral History conference governs the Association.  The current president of the Association is Rina Benmayor, from the United States; current Vice Presidents, Gerrardo Necoechea, from Mexico and Funso Afolayan, from Nigeria. 

The Activities of IOHA include the following:

  1. Publishes a bilingual newsletter, IOHA News/Boletin, twice a year in January and June, in both English and Spanish.  It includes information about new conferences, conference reports, project and archival reports and book and journal reviews.  For further information see: www.ioha.fgv.br and click on Newsletter or Boletin.
  2. Publishes a bilingual annual journal.  Words and Silences/Palabras y Silencios.  Each issue addresses a theme of current interest to oral historians.  Past themes include Oral History and the Media, and Politics and Oral History.  The journal includes a section on practical problems concerning research, publication and conservation of oral sources.
  3. Hosts a bilingual website (http://www.ioha.fgv.br) which provides detailed information about IOHA, its council, activities and membership.
  4. Holds a biennial conference, each time in a different hemisphere.  For example, in 2000 the IOHA conference was in Istanbul, Turkey; in 2002 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; in 2004 in Rome, Italy; and the 2006 conference will be in Sydney, Australia


IOHA 2006 Sydney Conference

The deadline for paper proposals is now long past.  Over 400 paper proposals were received.  Over 300 papers will ultimately be accepted for the conference, which happens on 12-16 July 2006 at the University of Technology. 

The conference title is ‘Dancing with Memory: Oral History and its Audiences.’  This conference will expand oral history debates to explore the ‘dance with memory’ that occurs between the speaker and the listener, and between the performer or product and their audiences.  Participants from a wide range of environments such as museums, heritage agencies, academic institutions, law courts, radio and television, performing arts, community projects will be attending. 

A small number of scholarships are available to help oral historians from developing countries to attend the conference.  These scholarships are only open to people who have had their paper proposal accepted for presentation, and they should apply with a scholarship application form, which can be accessed on the above IOHA website, and submitted by 15th October 2005.

Dr. Sean Field
University of Cape Town
Centre for Popular Memory
Member of the Interim Steering Committee of the South African Oral History Association

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