What if you could capture a generation of American lives and experiences in one holiday weekend? That’s the vision of StoryCorps founder, Dave Isay, and he plans to fulfill his mission this Thanksgiving weekend through a combination of an app and an educators toolkit to enable DIY interviews to gather the wisdom of others. It’s the #GreatThanksgivingListen and you are invited to attend.
StoryCorps recently celebrated twelve years of conducting and recording oral history interviews, beginning with a booth in New York’s Grand Central Station and later taking the booth on the road to all 50 states creating the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered. The next step is to grow the archive of 100,000 to tens of thousands.
Dave Isay and his organization are the recipients of the 2015 TED Prize, and it was in his presentation to the annual conference in April that he outlined his proposal for a “national homework assignment”.
Here’s the plan. Download the app, select ‘helpful hints’ for a short tutorial. Select ‘browse’ to view previous StoryCorps recordings. Go to ‘my interviews’ to outline and record your interview. You can choose from a list of sample questions by categories. Next step – record!
“Who are they? What did they learn in life? How would they like to be remembered?”
And here’s the magical part. You can keep your recording for yourself or opt to upload it to the StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Imagine the story of your family intertwined with other American voices building upon a historical record of their time.
In his April TED talk, Isay described the power of “…everyday people talking about lives lived with kindness, courage, decency and dignity…it sometimes feels like you are walking on holy ground…”
If you believe that you learn from the wisdom of others, this holiday offers an opportunity to join “…a global movement to record and preserve meaningful conversations with one another that results in an ever growing digital archive of the collective wisdom of humanity.”