The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the University of Florida provides a valuable public service to researchers and scholars across the country. Oral history is a methodology emphasizing humanities scholarship, digital technologies & social action research as a way to better understand the world that we live in. SPOHP specializes in community-based oral history fieldwork that places University of Florida students in direct contact with individuals and diverse groups across the country. Our research has been featured in exhibits, documentaries, plays, dissertations, audio podcasts, senior theses, books, and numerous other multimedia platforms. SPOHP seeks to provide scholars, independent researchers, students and local communities with a toolkit for creating new ways of understanding and presenting historical knowledge and social change.
SPOHP also promotes ongoing conversations about these shared human experiences. SPOHP facilitates unique public forums where scholars from all backgrounds can explore historical questions, research methods, and community organizing strategies. Every year, SPOHP hosts lectures and workshops at UF and throughout the country to engage scholars in the use of oral history and SPOHP’s collection. Every guest who attends a SPOHP program has the opportunity to make a personal connection with featured speakers, scholars, and members of the community.
Researchers at SPOHP are also creating a toolbox for public educators. SPOHP plays an integral role in undergraduate education as well as graduate training at UF by offering advanced digital humanities training in both seminar and internship courses. In 2014, four SPOHP undergraduates received University Scholars funding for their senior theses from the UF Center for Undergraduate Research. SPOHP encourages students to design projects that will be useful to K-12 educators, such as videos, podcasts, curriculum guides, and online resources. Oral history field training allows students to expand their intellectual and technological abilities.
SPOHP’s eternal goal is to increase public access to oral history resources, such as training, equipment, the interviews themselves, or subsequent research projects. SPOHP also promotes access to interviews, public programs and trainings by sharing them online through popular portals and joining forces with other oral history programs and campus units to share new project developments.
None of this could be possible without public support to sustain SPOHP’s work! From participating in interviews to engaging with the collection to attending SPOHP’s events, the public is the life-force behind SPOHP’s past, present, and future. Thank you for your commitment to gathering, preserving, and promoting living histories of individuals from all walks of life!
Dr. Paul Ortíz
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program Director