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Laboratory for Oral History and Experimental Media


Oral history and ethnography are powerful, multimodal research methods for recovering perspectives, experiences, and voices absent from the textual records more typically consulted by historians. At this critical juncture, when scholars are rethinking their community relations and ethical commitments and when access to conventional archives is no longer assured, these tools are more indispensable than ever. Audiovisual sources, including interview recordings and ethnographic films, constitute material evidence of knowledge production and lend themselves to highly innovative and effective forms of communication within and beyond professional communities. The Laboratory for Oral History and Experimental Media in Department II integrates historical and ethnographic techniques with community-based collaborations. Working closely with the library, digital humanities, and communications teams of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Laboratory seeks to nurture an inclusive, collaborative, and experimental approach to audiovisual research and communication—an approach that gives people with first-hand experience of the histories in question opportunities to participate in research as active partners, from project design to publication. The Laboratory will provide researchers and other stakeholders with the equipment, expertise, and the physical and ethical space needed to substantively engage with diverse sources and methods, from planning and recording to archival storage and diffusion.

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