Groundswell_Sarah Loose

Oral History for Social Change, A Synthesis

By Sarah Loose, 2010
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In September 2011, Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change brought together a group of sixteen oral historians, community organizers, and cultural workers who are experimenting with oral history as a method for building movements and effecting change. Our hope was to contribute in some small way to the development of a community of praxis engaged in an ongoing dialogue about effective and creative ways to use oral history for community and movement building, advocacy, and transformative social change. Together, we explored the powerful role that oral history can play in not only documenting radical social change, but also actively contributing to it.

Sarah Loose

Sarah K. Loose is a popular educator, oral historian, and community organizer based in Portland, Oregon.  Currently, she directs the Rural Organizing Project’s Roots & Wings Oral History Project.  The project informs ROP’s ongoing work by collectively documenting, analyzing and sharing ROP’s history of grassroots, progressive organizing in Oregon’s rural, small town and frontier communities. Sarah is the founder and co-coordinator of Groundswell, a national network of practitioners experimenting with oral history as a method to build movements and support work for social justice. She also runs History From Below, a “traveling history workshop” that engages rural and small town Oregonians in an exploration of their own communities’ social movement history.  Sarah first fell in love with the power and practice of oral history when facilitating a two-year, community-based oral history project with popular educators in Santa Marta, El Salvador (2001-2003).  In the years since, she has organized for economic, racial and environmental justice alongside rural progressives, immigrants, people of faith, and low-income workers in Washington and Oregon. Sarah has a B.A. in History from Yale University (2001).

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