The Third Thirty: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Community Oral Historian Training

Community Oral History Training 

Facilitated by Elaine Vradenburgh

Window Seat Media Oral Historian and Community Educator 

Thank you for your interest in joining our cohort of community oral historians for our latest project! We believe in the power of the interview process – both for the person being interviewed and the listener. We want to share this experience with our community, so we’ve set up a model where community members receive training so they can gather stories for the project.

Participants enroll in a 4-hour workshop to learn the art and practice of oral history, build their listening and interviewing skills, and consider the ethical issues of gathering and sharing other peoples’ stories. At the end of the workshop, participants have the skills and tools they need to invite someone to participate (often someone with whom they have a personal relationship), conduct a recorded interview, and finalize the interview transcript for inclusion in the project.

Note: Participants interested in editing their interviews into a short audio story may take the audio editing training offered in early 2021. 

About the Third Thirty

How can looking back help us move forward, today? 

The Third Thirty is a community oral history project that invites South Sound elders to share their stories and memories about a moment in time or to explore a question or theme in relation to their own experience.

Our 2020/21 project, facilitated in partnership with the Looking Back, Moving Forward project, invites Thurston County residents who were living here in the late 1960s/1970s to share their memories and stories of those times. This was a period of sustained unrest – the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the anti-war movement, tribal fishing rights….And it was a time of possibility, as many worked together to collectively revise the story about who we are, what we value, and how we want to live together. We’re curious how people experienced, understood, and created (community, art, legislation…) during this moment in this place.

We are living through another period of social unrest and possibility – in the midst of a pandemic, when there are urgent calls for truth and justice for Black Americans, and when the foundation of our democratic ideals are in question. We offer this mosaic of voices, not as a way to compare these times or offer solutions, but in the hopes that these stories from our community’s elders may provide an opportunity for deep reflection and connection as we do the hard work of reimagining a future together as a community, and nation, today.

The stories we gather will be shared (with permission) through a podcast and zoom conversation series throughout 2021, an outdoor community exhibit in late 2021, and will be archived in Window Seat Media's Community Archive.

Learn more about our work and this project on our website!

About Elaine

Elaine is an oral historian and educator. She loves working with communites to gather and share stories to spark conversation and deepen our understanding about ourselves and others. She has a BA from the Evergreen State College in Cultural and Community Studies and a Master's in Interdiscplinary Studies: Jouralism, Folklore, and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. Elaine is the founder of Window Seat Media and has taught oral history, ethnography, and nonprofit storytelling and development at The Evergreen State College.