Special Collections & Archives launches Oral History Hub

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Special Collections & Archives (SCA) at the University of Waterloo Library has launched an Oral History Hub on the Waterloo Digital Library, providing access to interview recordings, including transcripts, that actively document Waterloo’s history through the lived experiences of our staff, faculty and students.  

Oral histories allow us to gather, preserve, and interpret voices and memories of people, communities and events of the past, providing a rich and important source of information when researching.

Over the course of 2022, Nick Richbell, head of Special Collections & Archives, launched a pilot project with Dr. Anne Millar, who conducted a series of interviews with Waterloo staff, students and faculty, including colleagues from the Faculty of Mathematics, the Office of Research, Athletics and University Communications, amongst others.

What’s next

Now that the Oral History Hub has launched with the initial series of interviews, SCA has turned its attention to phase two. Partnering with the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism, phase two will primarily focus on the experience of Black staff, faculty and students at Waterloo.

Jermal Jones, the Library’s Associate Director, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Access, will be spearheading the interview process over the next year, with the goal of adding the new recordings and transcripts to the Oral History Hub in celebration of Black History Month 2024. 

The initial pilot has laid the foundation for a larger, more comprehensive oral history program at Waterloo that, with the launch of the Oral History Hub, we hope will continue well beyond phase two, and provide students with experiential learning opportunities in the process of gathering and working with these oral histories.

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