Skip to content

PTHM stawia sobie za cel doskonalenie standardów metodologicznych i etycznych historii mówionej tak jako dziedziny nauki czy kultury jak i działalności społecznej

First Oral History Seminar

The first meeting is already behind us!

On Wednesday, January 25, we inaugurated the Oral History Seminar. Despite some unexpected twists and turns (a challenge was to find a proper space for the meeting) and the flu season, twenty-three people gathered in the Staszic Palace in Warsaw (seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences) to take part in the joint analysis of the oral history interview. Participants represented several universities, research centres, cultural institutions and NGOs from Bialystok, Gdańsk, Kraków, Olsztyn and Warsaw. In the first part of the meeting we discussed the idea of the seminar series and agreed that:

  • there is a need to talk about interviews currently conducted, but also those stored in the archives. This is how we will try to select material for the analysis for the next meetings,
  • the nature of oral history leads us to attempt to analyse audio and audiovisual material (not only transcript) – despite practical challenge, we want to take it on,
  • the joy of being able to meet on site and talk to each other in person reinforced our conviction that, if possible, the seminars will be held stationary in the seminar rooms.

The very first interview to be analysed was conducted by Jakub Gałęziowski as part of the project “A Breach in the System: The Polonia Firms 1976–1994”. The transcript was made available to participants a week earlier. After a brief presentation of the project and the context of the interview with a representative of one of the Polonia firms, there was time to ask questions to the interviewer, related to the research, the interview situation and the interviewee. After that, each participant had the opportunity to share his or her own insights from his or her own analysis of the interview and discuss conclusions among representatives of different scientific disciplines, looking at the same source from different perspectives. The meeting, which lasted more than four hours, proved too short to complete the discussion. We will try to take it into account organizing next seminars.

The Oral History Seminar is a joint initiative of the Polish Oral History Association and the Qualitative Data Archive of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences under the auspices of “Wrocławski Rocznik Historii Mówionej” (“Wrocław Yearbook of Oral History”,, the last issue of which published a text announcing a series of seminars [link].

Oral History Seminars are held each fourth Wednesday of the month from 2 to 6 pm in the Staszic Palace (Nowy Świat 72) in Warsaw. The next seminar will take place on February 22. We will soon announce what materials will be analysed during the next four seminars.

We encourage all researchers interested in oral history to participate and co-create a space for such joint work and exchange of ideas. Applications for the next seminars can be sent to Seminars are held in Polish.

See us on Facebook [link].