Call for Papers: Power & Resistance

2023 Annual Conference

Oral History: Power & Resistance

16-17 June 2023

Dooley’s Hotel, Waterford, Co. Waterford

The Oral History Network of Ireland (OHNI) is pleased to announce its 2023 conference on the theme of ‘Oral History: Power and Resistance’. At every stage of the process, oral history projects may be impacted by and engage with issues of power and resistance. Oral histories offer unique insights into the operations of power and resistance in our societies in the past and present. This is not confined to issues of political power and resistance but can include everything from power dynamics within personal relationships, to understanding minority-majority group experiences. Who exercises power, how it is used and how it can be leveraged are key questions for oral historians. Similarly, what is resistance, what forms it takes and how it may or may not effect social change are questions that have been explored with the assistance of oral histories. Power and resistance are also considerations at every level in the creation of an oral history – whose stories are told, how they’re told, the power (or lack thereof) exercised by interviewees and interviewers, and the purpose of oral history itself. The conference will take place in person at Dooley’s Hotel, Waterford on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th June 2023.

We are delighted to welcome Graham Smith, Professor of Oral History at Newcastle University, as the keynote speaker. His research interests include public history and environmental oral history, with a particular focus on how people remember in groups, as well as the history of family and the history of medicine. He helped to establish the Oral History Unit and Collective at Newcastle in 2017. A long-time trade union activist, Graham is the joint editor of the Historians for History blog and the editor of the four-volume collection Oral History, published by Routledge in 2017 as part of their Critical Concepts in Historical Studies series.

Keynote: Graham Smith, Making Trouble: recording oral histories of resistance and power

The keynote addresses the changing work of oral historians and our relationship to activism, activists, and power. As well as offering an overview of our discipline, examples will be drawn from the 1980s to the present day, and will include research on the lives of homeless men in a Scottish town to more recent work on people living through climate change in the Mekong and the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna deltas.

Workshop: Silvie Fisch* and Graham Smith, Community/university partnership working. In this workshop we will outline collaborative research, with emphasis on community and university based oral historians working together. We want to hear from workshop participants about their experiences, hopes and challenges of partnerships that may even go beyond sharing authority.

*Silvie Fisch leads the Northern Cultural Projects – a Community Interest Company  in England as well as being a founding member of the Oral History Collective and an Associate Researcher at Newcastle University.


The call for papers has now closed. Download a PDF of the CFP. For further queries please contact us through


Download a PDF of the conference programme

Workshops (select with registration)

  • Workshop A:  Interviewing Basics (Friday 16 June), with Maura Cronin
  • Workshop B: Doing Oral History As a Graduate Student (Friday 16 June), with Matthew O’Brien and Daniel Carey
  • Workshop C: Community/University Partnership Working (Saturday 17 June), with Silvie Fisch and keynote speaker Prof. Graham Smith 


A limited number of fee waiver scholarships are available. The deadline to apply is 10 May. Please download and complete the application form and email it to


Early bird (through 2 June) 

  • Full Member: €50
  • Full Member reduced*: €35
  • Non-Member: €80
  • Non-Member reduced*: €50

Standard registration (through 15 June)

  • Full Member: €70
  • Full Member reduced*: €55
  • Non-Member: €100
  • Non-Member reduced*: €70

Conference dinner: Friday 16 June. Venue TBC. €35

* reduced rates are for students, seniors, and unwaged individuals

Please note there is no day rate available.