Week 8: Oral History Interviews – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 8: Oral History Interviews

The Dream Storytelling Project has given me insight into the various forms of research. I used to always think of research as the type of thing that was conducted by scientists wearing lab coats and safety goggles. Being part of this project has taught me how to conduct oral history interviews. Notably, the Dream Storytelling Project is conducted by Black Muslim interns aged 15-21, many of whom attend the same mosque as the interviewees. Since the interns are part of the Black Muslim community, they are able to bring a sense of comfort and familiarity to the interviews, which helps the interviewees open up and tell their rich stories. I’ve learned that interviews and research don’t have to be perfect to be incredibly valuable. There are some things we don’t have control over, like whether or not a sports car loudly revs its engine right outside the building while we’re in the middle of filming an interview, but we do have the ability to ask genuine questions, build camaraderie, and do our best to help the interviewee share their authentic self.

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