Oral history is a process that helps reconstruct the past by preserving and documenting culture, whether that culture has developed from nations, tribes, families or organizations of many kinds. It is an extension of the art of storytelling, of utilizing the power of narrative to paint a picture of individual and community lives and experiences lived. In this sense, each of us has an oral history - an account of where we come from and how we got to be who we are.

Oral history can help us to create a rich repository of experience and history through the engagement of many people telling their stories from multiple perspectives. This can then provide us with a colorful and real sense of how it was, how it is, and how it can be in the future.

Oral History:

  • Is a link between the present and the immediate past

  • Provides knowledge and information when little is known about a particular event, era or location

  • Provides local history with a place of value within a national perspective

  • Chronicles the evolutionary path of a specific group through exploring the development and application of traditional skills as well as gaining further understanding of foundational values

  • Engenders a potential source of pride and the reaffirmation of identity

  • Creates a context of shared understanding over time The modern approach to that which has been done since the beginning of time.

This website can provide all of us, as members of the occupational therapy profession (and others with stories to enrich us), the opportunity to tell our stories. We encourage stories to come from all corners of Canada and also accept reflective experiences of colleagues from other countries and continents.

We invite experiences told from the perspectives of practitioners in many diverse roles, and value greatly the notion of hearing from our colleagues about whom the national arena knows little but whose work and leadership the local community values and celebrates. It is from such stories that all of us can reflect and consider our next steps.

Sue Baptiste

The value of oral histories to the occupational therapy profession

Barry Trentham

Occupational Therapy Now 13.1


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