Oral History

What's your family's story? What's your story? 

 Agada offers opportunities for individuals and groups to learn about their family history, document their stories and learn how to conduct oral history interviews. 

What is oral history?

For as long as humans have been around, they have passed on their stories orally. In that sense, oral history is the oldest type of historical inquiry and it is also a modern method of documenting history which initiated in the 1940s with tape recorders. Oral history is different than standard journalism in that it is a multi-step process that goes beyond just the interview.


Oral histories occur in an ethical, trustworthy environment free from an agenda about what content emerges. In this environment, the narrator and interviewer enter into a sacred relationship where the narrator is gifted with the feeling of someone offering them deep listening and profound presence. The interviewer in turn receives the nuggets of wisdom every person gains from living life. In this co-creative space, a mutual experience of healing can occur.


Agada's Project Scope

  • Family history projects

  • Personal oral histories

  • Oral histories as a first step for a book, biography or other project

  • Research and writing

  • Transcription

  • Grant-funded projects

  • Social Justice projects

  • Oral history workshops

  • Intimacy building workshops

Family Oral Histories

  • Allow us to learn more about our family and where we came from

  • Capture the stories of grandparents and ancestors before they pass on

  •  Honor elders for their wisdom and knowledge of lived history

Community Oral Histories

  • Capture marginalized voices
  • Document history as its happening​

  • Build community

  • Add to the historical record

  • Help us work toward a sustainable and just future

Personal Oral Histories

  • Allows us to uncover and preserve our own story

  • A great first step for a book, website, documentary or other project

Agada is guided by the understanding that a deficiency in empathy lies at the heart of our worlds problems, from the interpersonal to the international. When we hear someone else’s story, we have the opportunity to see the world from their eyes and empathy develops, our perspective widens, and our wisdom grows.

Shoshana's Story

For as long as Shoshana can remember, she has been fascinated by people’s stories. As a child, she always had her nose in a book or was making up stories of her own. In college, while researching the story of her grandmother and great-grandmother's political activism, Shoshana fell in love with oral history and has worked in the field ever since.


Since 2012, Shoshana have conducted over 200 hours of oral history interviews in Minnesota and around the country. She has transcribed a dozen of these interviews and she has edited dozens more. For virtually all of her interviews, Shoshana has created a corresponding chapter index to aid in accessibility and, for some of them, she  have produced narrative and historical pieces of writing. She has also developed an oral history specific website interface and has taught numerous oral history workshops in order to train other people how to conduct oral history interview themselves.


Each person Shoshana has interviewed has  touched her deeply and widened her perspective. She believes stories are incredibly valuable to our understanding of our world as we seek to create a sustainable and just future.

Site by Erica Shoshana Rivers ©2019


  • Facebook
  • Instagram