Documenting the History of Our Movement: Oral Histories

Moderator: Darby Penney, Historical Projects, New York State Office of Mental Health
Presenters: Oryx Cohen, Support Coalition International (SCI) Oral History Project;
Leah Harris, (SCI) Oral History Project;
Steven Periard, Consumer/Survivor/Ex-patient (C/S/X) Oral History Project;
Celia Brown, C/S/X Oral History Project - World Trade Center Survivors project

The available historical records concerning psychiatry are almost exclusively from the perspective of the system. This workshop will focus on the importance of documenting the stories of individuals who have experienced the system as well as the history of organizations working for the human and civil rights of these individuals, as a way to begin to balance the historical record. Oryx Cohen will discuss Support Coalition Internationals (SCI) Oral History Project, which has a web based component, and will present findings from a study he conducted using oral histories collected by the project. Leah Harris, an interviewee and volunteer with SCIs project, will discuss the profound impact the interview process had on her life, and her current work editing oral histories for the projects website. Steven Periard will discuss New Yorks C/S/X Oral History Project, which collects c/s/x oral histories and places copies in the State Archives for use by historians and social science researchers. Celia Brown will talk about a special project to collect the stories of c/s/x who survived the attack on the World Trade Center. The presenters will also show film clips from an Oral History Open Forum held at the 2001 NARPA Conference.

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