2019 Biennial Conference of Oral History Australia

State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
10-13 October 2019


Through oral history recordings, we hear the intimate stories of everyday lives, and we create histories that challenge orthodoxy and speak truth to power. Oral history drills beneath the big histories of state, society and politics, and illuminates ordinary people’s extraordinary lives.
In our 40th anniversary year, Oral History Queensland and Oral History Australia, in partnership with State Library Queensland and Queensland Memory, welcome proposals for our 2019 biennial conference in sun-soaked southern Queensland. Oral historians, in a variety of guises and combining age-old listening skills with dazzling new technologies, record intimate stories and create challenging histories. Our conference welcomes participants who use oral history in their work across the many fields and disciplines that contribute to community, professional and academic histories. We welcome presenters from across Australia, across the Tasman and around the world. We invite proposals for individual presentations, workshops, performances and thematic panels.
The main conference at State Library Queensland will be on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th October 2019. Oral history training workshops will be held at a Brisbane venue on Thursday 10th October. Following the conference, on Sunday 13th October a selection of history walks and tours will introduce participants to the region’s rich and diverse communities of memory.
In keeping with 2019 as the Year of Indigenous Languages, a Keynote plenary panel will focus on Oral History, Oral Tradition and Indigenous History (with invited speakers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada).
Keynote speakers will include: Associate Professor Katrina Srigley from Nipissing University in Canada, co-editor of Beyond Women’s Words: feminisms and the practices of oral history in the twenty-first century (2018), and currently co-researching Gaa Bi Kidwaad Maa Nbisiing: A-Kii Bemaadzijik, E-Niigannwang: The Stories of Nbisiing: the Land, the People, the Future; and Nbisiing Anishinabek Biimadiziwin: to understand the past and shape the future, in partnership with Nipissing First Nation.

Conference sub-themes may include, but are not limited to:
• Indigenous Oral Histories and Oral Traditions
• Migrants, Refugees and Ethnic Community Histories
• Gender, Women’s History, Men’s History
• Family History and Memory
• Histories of Sex and Sexuality
• Leisure and Pleasure
• Histories of Protest and Activism
• Memory Work for Human Rights
• Contested Memories and Histories
• Working Lives and Social Class
• Sensory Memory and History
• Place, Community, Memory
• Soldiers’ Stories and War Histories
• Memory, Violence and Catastrophe
• New Approaches to Recording Lives
• New Technologies for Documenting and Archiving Oral Histories
• Interpreting Memories
• Making Histories in Old and New Media
• Performing Oral History
• Using Oral History in Creative Writing
• Ethical Issues in Oral History
• Training the Oral Historians of the Future
We welcome proposals for presentations in a variety of formats and media, including standard paper presentations (typically 20 minutes); short ‘lightning’ accounts of work in progress (typically 5 minutes); participatory workshops; performances; thematic panels comprising several presenters; and poster presentations. Presentations should involve oral history. Contact the organizers at if you would like to discuss the format or focus of your presentation before you submit it.
Proposals for presentations / papers / panels / posters should be no more than 200 words (single space, 12 point font in Times New Roman) and must include at the top of the page, your name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), postal address, phone number and email address, the title for your presentation/panel, the sub-theme/s your work best connects to, and the presentation format (standard paper, ‘lightning’ account of work in progress, thematic panel, performance, participatory workshop or poster presentation).
Presenters will be encouraged to submit papers to the refereed, online Oral History Australia journal, which aims to produce a theme issue about Intimate Histories.
Proposals should be uploaded to
To use this online system you will need to create an author account (a simple process) and then submit your proposal either by attaching it (with full details as listed above) as a PDF or by using the copy/paste function. If you are unable to use this system please email your proposal to


For conference information or to join the conference mailing list, email or go to the conference website via the existing OHA site