20 January 2023

Pandemic oral history project to share Bega's stories of grief, strength and resilience

| Katrina Condie
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Craig at microphone

Craig Garrett, in the studio here with Cayce Hill, is set to run workshops at the Bega Library that will focus on the pandemic. Photo: ESC.

Bega Valley residents will have an opportunity to share their personal stories in their own words as part of a new oral history project being run by Craig Garrett.

A writer, international podcaster, award-winning community radio journalist and trainer with the Community Media Training Organisation, Craig also works at the Bega Valley Shire Library and is looking forward to hosting the workshops which will encourage participants to express how they’ve navigated COVID-19.

“The ‘Talking Together’ project seeks to reconnect people by nurturing the Bega Valley’s collective memory and understanding of the pandemic,” Craig said.

Four free audio storytelling workshops will be held across the region in January and February, as part of a new oral histories project, ‘Talking Together: our stories, our history, our home’.

Library learning and engagement officer Vanita Wahl, said the introductory workshops would be held at all four shire libraries.

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She said oral histories allowed people to tell their own stories in their own words.

“The library is keen to collect stories of strength and generosity, grief, inspiration and resilience, to better understand the things that helped people get through their toughest days,” Vanita said.

“Shared storytelling has the power to change people’s lives and these workshops are another tool for building a stronger Bega Valley community.”

Craig said the project would “strengthen social connections, develop community skills and value every individual’s personal experience”.

“I’ll be sharing tips and tricks on crafting audio stories, including scripting and interviewing, microphone techniques and smartphone recording, and audio editing basics,” he added.

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These types of oral history projects create a historical archive that compiles the experiences of living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workshops will allow individuals to express their understandings, hopes, beliefs, and values about the COVID-19 pandemic and will leave a record for family members and community groups to look back on in the future.

The workshops will be held at Eden Library on Saturday 21 January from 10:30 am until noon; Tura Marrang on Monday 30 January from 5:30 pm until 7 pm; Bega on Saturday 11 February from 10:30 am until noon and Bermagui Library on Saturday 18 February from 10:30 am until noon.

Anyone interested in taking part can book online for the workshops or call the library on 6499 2127.

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