Activities

Research

We work with other agencies to design and implement qualitative and participatory research projects.  Current and recent projects include:

A four-country research project on representation and image-making processes for Save the Children UK (2014-15). Research methods include individual interviews, focus group discussions and workshops with children.

A participatory needs assessment for Theatre for a Change and their work with female sex workers and sexually exploited girls. We used a combination of interviews, theatre-based methods, and video to generate inclusive debate and evidence. Read report. Read blog.

OTW is working with The Research Base, The Winch and Christian Aid on potential research and oral history projects.

The archive

OTW is in the process of securing the transfer of the 20-year old Panos London Oral Testimony Programme archive to a university-based archive.

Writing

In 2012 Siobhan worked with filmmaker and Jihyun Park on the film Under a Different Sky. Together with Jihyun Park of the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea, Siobhan is now writing a chapter for a book on Women’s Empowerment and Creative Communication.

Siobhan  is also editor of the International Work section of the UK’s Oral History journal published twice a year by the Oral History Society.

Give Stigma the Index Finger: Swaziland, Ethiopia and Mozambique

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Oral Testimony Works, together with Panos Eastern Africa and Panos Southern Africa worked with IPPF and its national partners in Mozambique, Ethiopia and Swaziland to complement the Stigma Index work with oral testimony and media activities.  The Give Stigma the Index Finger project (2011-2015) increased understanding of HIV stigma by empowering men and women living with HIV to take an active part in research and resulting advocacy on HIV stigma.

In each country at least 10 PLHIV (men and women) participated in a five-day oral testimony training workshop. Most of those participating had also worked as community researchers on the Stigma Index, and many were adherence counsellors. The practical workshops covered questioning skills, topics for interview, recording equipment, interview relationships, informed consent, and transcription.

Following each workshop the interviewers returned to their home areas and recorded and transcribed a further four interviews with people living with HIV. They generally interviewed people with whom they had an existing relationship through their support associations. Project coordinators supported the interviewers during this process and organised a review meeting halfway through the interview collection. Interviewers also came together at the end of the process to share their analysis of the testimonies and ideas for communication.

In total, 140 people living with HIV in Swaziland, Ethiopia and Mozambique were able to share their experiences, memories and views freely in an open-ended interview, recorded in their own language by a counsellor or activist (whom they already knew), with the assurance of anonymity. Thirty-one of these testimonies were translated into English and a selection were edited for an IPPF publication, and extracts from 21 of these were shared by Oral Testimony Works as part of 21 stories 21 days.

At a national level OTW and IPPF are supporting partners to communicate these testimonies to national audiences through radio and community dialogues.  Through the media workshops and fellowships programmes by Panos Southern Africa and Panos Ethiopia, a total of 30 articles appeared in the national media across the three project countries.

Conferences/presentations/workshops

Siobhan talking oral testimony at the World Bank Conference, India

Siobhan talking oral testimony at the World Bank Conference, India

  • Expert workshop for the Community Media Archive – an AHRC project, Sheffield (15 May 2013)
  • ‘Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Benefit Sharing in Infrastructure Development – A World Bank and ASCI conference, Hyderabad, India (20-21 May 2013).  Download the presentation Read the article: Resettlement: It’s complicated!
  • Translating Freedom Workshop, Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York, 1-3 July 2013
  • Edgar Graham Book Prize 2013 for Displaced: the human cost of development and resettlement. Read the blog and Olivia Bennett’s acceptance speech, London (November 2013)
  • Professional development workshop for freelance oral historians, London (28 January 2014)
  • Hidden Voices workshop, Reverent Actions – an AHRC project, London (31 January 2014)
  • Record, rewind, reflect: oral testimony and development, Brighton (3 June 2014)
  • Content, Users, Communities: Going Digital for Who? – Masterclass for MA students from the School of Film, Media and Music, University of Sussex (1 October 2014)