In Their Own Words: from Oral History to Visual Art, Media Art and Performance Art


Grace Yun, PhD, University of Connecticut


In Their Own Words: from Oral History to Visual Art, Media Art and Performance Art

Available Formats


9/11 Oral History Project

This presentation reports on the InterRelations Collaborative’s Post-9/11 PeaceMaking Initiative’s use of oral history facilitated by the visual, media and performance arts as community-building "educational tools" to engage multicultural audiences. Following tragic events on September 11, 2001, IRC brought together young New Yorkers from across the city to document their experiences on 9/11. Their oral history was published in the book, What Will You Do For Peace? Impact of 9/11 on New York City Youth. The "Peace Book" resides in more than 100 branches of the New York Public Library. In order to capture the power of oral history using the visual arts, the IRC commissioned New York City artist, Faith Ringgold, to design a 9/11 Peace Story Quilt inspired by the Peace Book. A Peace Video has also adapted the Peace Book to visual format to capture the attention of young audiences. The power of shared public history is also tapped through audience participation using extemporaneous performance as a "mobilizing tool" to facilitate cross-cultural exchange. Spontaneous, interactive performance is used to allow audience members to come together and discover the common ground that they share.

About the Author

Grace Yun teaches ethnic studies as Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut at Stamford. She also directs the InterRelations Collaborative, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization which uses the arts as educational vehicles to build cross-cultural understanding in rapidly diversifying communities across New York City.