M.A. in Professional Practice in Oral History

The Professional Practice in Oral History (PPOH) is a Masters program. The program is tailored for working professionals in the area of history, ethnography, film, and teaching practices and disciplines and practices other than humanities. A genuine interest in the ‘past’, people, and memories, is a pre-requisite for this program. At Srishti, we believe that the practitioner of oral history works towards the production of knowledge, by working with a range of groups, and thus contributes, to the democratization of history. Oral history collects, archives, analyses and interprets the experiences of individuals, communities, and institutions concentrating on recording individuals who have so far been “hidden from history” in their own voice, and moves away from the conventional idea of history as only being the story of the nation and the process of its formation. The practice of oral history demonstrates the way in which multiple voices articulate and reconstruct the past. We envision the Professional Practice in Oral History program as a learning opportunity for professionals to:

  • Engage with oral history as a field that facilitates research on community histories, ethnicity, gender, politics, migration, social life as well as scientific practices, histories of technologies, business and management, performances, folk forms, artisanal work and other artistic practices.
  • Explore and navigate ways in which narratives of experience intersect with oral traditions and folk forms.
  • Articulate new theories of history, sometimes questioning the foundations of the discipline itself.
  • Create new historical records, which can be archived and preserved for the future, with the help of new digital tools.

This interdisciplinary program enables professionals to become practitioners of oral history and thus explore the deep connections between history, memory, and experience. Srishti will help you pursue a professional practice in Oral History that nurtures and extends a passion for people and their histories, creating new narratives and histories in the process.


The following constitute the core disciplines:

  • Aesthetics and Critical Studies
  • Digital Humanities
  • History
  • Public History

Research and Collaboration

The students under this program will have the opportunity to work with the following centers and labs at Srishti.

  • Bangalore Human Sciences Initiatives (BHSI)
  • Center for Education, Research, Training, and Development (CERTAD)
  • Center for Public History (CPH)
  • Design+Environment+Law Laboratory (DEL Laboratory)
  • The Kabir Project
  • Srishti Films
  • Writing Center

Course Structure/Components

Learning opportunities in the Professional Practice in Oral History program are embedded in the following structures:

Tutorials: Face to face and online master classes, seminars, workshops, online courses (MOOCs, ThinkQuests, Blogs, Discussion Forums, webinars etc)

Winter School in Oral History: The Winter School in Oral History is an advanced course that introduces participants to cutting-edge research in the field of Oral History. With a faculty drawn from across the world, the course involves discussions on methodology, archiving standards, ethical issues and forms of dissemination. More details on Winter School at https://cphwinterschool.wordpress.com/

Peer Circles: Participative opportunities for dialogue and reviews that can be both facilitated and independent, face-to-face or online (such as blogs, discussion board conversations, wiki creation).

Field Work as Practice: Experiential, embodied and physical engagement in Oral History, through extensive fieldwork. It includes self-study and reflective documentation through field notes and maintaining reflective blogs.

Webinars: Forums for receiving feedback on projects undertaken and for presenting and defending a written paper and dissertation in response to a given situation, context or proposition.

Electives: Engagement outside the workspace that allows for extension and building connections. This can include visits to exhibitions, places, talks, walks, participation in workshops and studios. It also includes the option to take another unit or course in a parallel course of professional practice (such as in heritage preservation, films, design thinking etc.).

Portfolio: Development of a reflective and curated body of work that represents professional practice over a time period.

Dissertation as Personal Mastery: Practice-based research and its documentation; dissertation and viva voce.

Learning Approach

Learning will involve a combination of the following skills:

  • Archival Research
  • Audio and Video Documentation
  • Interviewing, Transcribing and Editing
  • Audio recording and basic sound editing
  • Digital Archiving
  • Film
  • Writing

The approach to learning will be through guided courses and workshops that are interdisciplinary in nature.

  • Students will be trained to conduct research by studying archival material, as well as creating and interpreting interviews. This program encourages students to apply what they have learned within their projects.
  • Trained to conduct their projects in audio-visual media, students will also learn digital archiving, sound editing and the creation of audioscapes.
  • Students will work on supervised internships in order to focus on specific aspects of oral history.
  • Students will learn the importance of design concepts for presenting oral history in different venues – in books, exhibitions, heritage tours or museum and other heritage sites.
  • Students will develop a fieldwork-based project to undertake research into historical issues and analyze the relationship between the past and the present. Using the material from their project, students will complete a Masters dissertation under the guidance of their advisor.


Capabilities Sets

We are committed to supporting professionals who will develop a deep understanding of how to create and use non-traditional resources, in order to contribute to the production of knowledge, through interpreting oral history as a form of historical knowledge. As practitioners of Oral History, students will develop their capabilities to:

  • Explore and Expand Listening and Communication Skills: The students will design and conduct interviews for an oral history project of their own. They will gain insights into the oral history process; develop listening skills, communication skills and interviewing strategies
  • Understand and Implement Ethical Frameworks: The students will develop sensitivity to the ethics of carrying out an Oral History project. This programs aims to nurture and sustain empathy in the students for people, their memories, and ultimately, their histories.
  • Interpret Frameworks and Contexts: The students will learn transcription and editing skills in order to arrive at an interpretative framework that contextualizes their research.
  • Understand Archival Standards and Audio-Visual Documentation: The students will develop an expertise in audio-visual documentation and an understanding of archival standards for oral history.
  • Explore and Understand Design: The students will develop a conceptual grasp of design in order to present oral history in different forms.
  • Understand and Engage with Archive: The students will develop the skills to organize and manage an oral history archive.
  • Explore and Expand with Digital Tools and Visual Communication Design: The students will learn to build new presentation formats that are now made possible by digital tools and visual communication design.
  • Curate: The students will learn to curate oral history for museums, archives and other public spaces
  • Stretch and Expand to Collaborate: Students will develop the capacity of working collaboratively within cultural heritage projects, research projects, film and television projects and new media.


Students of the Professional Practice in Oral History (M.A.) will be equipped to work as:

  • Oral Historians
  • Archivists (Institutions+ Corporates)
  • Community Workers with NGOs
  • Heritage Consultants
  • Oral History Curators for Museums and Exhibitions

Students can also pursue Higher Education degrees like PhDs in History, Sociology, Communication and Journalism, Anthropology and any discipline that uses oral history.


This course is led by Siddhi Bhandari.
For further information, kindly email Siddhi Bhandari at siddhi.bhandari@srishti.ac.in

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated July 15, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
July 2020
2 years
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July 2020
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