Frequently Asked Questions

Why oral history?

Listening for a Change seeks to promote understanding and acceptance through empowering people in our community to share their story and build connections with others.  In our fast-paced society, we infrequently take the time to know and see the people in our community and workplaces, which often breeds suspicion, stereotyping, and other-izing.  Listening for a Change uses oral history interviewing as a tool for community members to listen more effectively and engage others across ethnic, religious, sexual, class, generational, language, and geographic barriers.  Through active listening and asking questions, interviewers develop empathy for others and build a greater capacity for understanding difference.

How are interview subjects chosen?

Interview subjects are chosen by the interviewers.  In fact, we encourage our interviewers to consider thinking about different people they want to interview.  Programs and individuals may select interview subjects more relevant to a particular topic, context, or personal interest.

How often are interviews conducted and how long do they last?

Interviews are conducted throughout the year at the convenience of partnering schools, businesses, and individuals.  For example, our program in schools occurs over the course of the school session with each class interviewing approximately four people.  Interviews usually last between 45 minutes and one hour.  Some interviews are video-recorded and others are audio-recorded.

Are interviews only conducted in English?

Interviews may be conducted in any language, but translators will need to be provided by the partnering school, business, or community member.

Who can be an interviewer?

Everyone! Across our various programs, interviews are conducted by junior-high and high school students, office co-workers and interested community members. Prior to conducting an interview, all interviewers receive training and guidance through our workshops on listening, cultural sensitivity, and oral history interviewing.

What does Listening for a Change do with the recorded interviews?

For video-recorded interviews, Listening for a Change collaborates with interviewers to edit and prepare shorter versions to highlight specific parts of each interview. The edited interviews are shown at participating schools and businesses and also made available online at their websites. Some interviews may be viewed in one of our Mobile Interactive Museums — an interactive kiosk situated at various/rotating positions throughout the community offering the opportunity for everyone to listen and engage. All video interviews can be viewed on our website in our gallery. Our audio-recorded interviews from our Community Listening Project are transcribed by volunteers and archived in our office. We hope to share our growing and rich library with a university or historical society in the future.

What about issues of confidentiality? Can I be interviewed anonymously?

All interviewers and interview subjects sign consent and participation forms before an interview takes place. Interview subjects may share as much as they feel comfortable and do not have to answer every question an interviewer asks. Interview subjects may remain anonymous when their interview is audio-recorded.

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