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Jan. 18: OHMA Spring Open House

  • knox hall, room 509 606 West 122nd Street New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)
Show Me Your Hands Photo.jpg

Please join us for an Oral History M.A. program open house on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in Knox Hall 509. Refreshments will be served.


  • Information session

  • Learn about our new Future Voices Fellowship

  • Meet OHMA students and alums

  • Presentation by OHMA Alumnus Fanny Julissa García

  • Mini-interviewing workshop, taught by OHMA Co-Directors Mary Marshall Clark & Amy Starecheski

OHMA is the first program of its kind: a one-year interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree training students in oral history method and theory. Our graduates work in museums, historical societies, advocacy organizations, media, the arts, education, human rights, and development. OHMA is also excellent preparation for doctoral work in fields like anthropology, history, journalism, and American studies or professional degrees in law, education, or social work. 

Jointly run by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research, one of the preeminent oral history centers in the world, and INCITE, a lively hub for interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences, OHMA connects students with the intellectual resources of a major research university, and with the intimate society of a small cohort of talented students.

During a year at OHMA, students learn the skills of digital audio and video production and editing, digital archiving, oral history project design and interviewing, and both historical and social science analysis. Working with an OHMA faculty member, each student is guided through the process of creating a thesis or capstone project. Past projects have taken the form of academic and creative essays, film and audio documentaries, performances, exhibits, and multimedia websites. OHMA students also have access to elective courses taught anywhere within the University and exclusive oral history internship opportunities.

In this open house, OHMA alumna Fanny Julissa García will present her thesis work on the narratives of Central American refugee women. Tentatively titled, “Show Me Your Hands,” the work is derived from the oral history project she conducted in collaboration with the CARA Pro Bono Project as a student at OHMA. In this presentation, Fanny will inform the audience about the challenges she encountered during the process of writing this work, including the request for anonymity from her narrators, and how this prompted the use of literary art as a response. Specifically, she will discuss when and why considering alternative outcomes for oral history becomes a necessity, and how this opens opportunities for interpretation and documentation. To conclude, she will speak about the authors – Claudia Rankine and Tómas Rivera, who influenced her work, and read some of the pieces from “Show Me Your Hands,” a multi-genre oral history and literary narrative project.

Fanny Julissa García is an oral historian contributing work to Central American Studies. She is currently writing a literary oral history manuscript using the interviews of Central American refugee women jailed in detention centers at the U.S./Mexico border. She has worked for more than 15 years as a social justice advocate to combat the public health and socioeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS on low income communities, worked closely with organizations fighting for the end of family detention, and supported survivors of sexual violence. She has written plays about the impact of HIV on Latinas and their families, plus short stories and essays about the Central American diaspora. She serves as the Communications Coordinator for Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change, a network of oral historians, activists, cultural workers, community organizers and documentary artists that use oral history to further movement building and transformative social change. She is also co-founder of Social Exchange Institute, a company that uses multi-media tools to produce work that promotes social justice and equity. Recently, she joined administrative support staff at the New-York Historical Society. Fanny graduated from the Oral History Master of Arts program from Columbia University where she received the Judge Jack B. Weinstein Scholarship Award for Oral History.

Prospective students are also welcome to meet with the OHMA directors or sit in on our classes leading up to the open house. Please send us an email ( to connect and plan your visit!

A brief reminder that all attendees of our One-Day Oral History Training Workshops on Saturday, January 20, 2018 receive an application fee waiver to OHMA. Let us know once you've submitted your application so that we can send the waiver to Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Please review our admissions page for further information leading up to our priority deadline on Wednesday, March 1 and RSVP to our Eventbrite and Facebook event pages (links forthcoming) if you are able to join our open house.

We are looking forward to reviewing your applications and meeting you in person on the 18th!