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Collecting in Crisis: Oral History, Marginalised Voices and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Australia, 1983-1996 by Dr Shirleene Robinson - 8 December 2022

Please note that this event has passed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened fault lines, deepened existing inequalities and transformed the world. It has reinforced the importance of learning from previous pandemics and collecting ethically in times of crisis. This presentation will explore the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Australia in the 1980s and early 1990s to consider ways oral history might uniquely facilitate ethical collecting with marginalised people in intensely troubled times.

Australia’s response to HIV/AIDS is widely regarded as one of the world’s best. This presentation draws from two significant oral history collections that record this and those who felt the epidemic most fully. The first is the world-leading ‘Australian Responses to AIDS oral history collection’ conducted by the National Library of Australia in 1992. The second, conducted twenty-four years later, is the ‘HIV/AIDS Volunteers oral history collection’.

The presentation considers three key issues. First, when is the ‘right’ time to collect crisis oral histories? Secondly, how can we elevate perspectives of marginalised people? Finally, how might memories and emotions of trauma over time elicit deeper perspectives of the past? This presentation illuminates how individuals navigate and remember crises that are unevenly felt.

Reception before the lecture

A reception will take place from 6pm in the Terrace Cafe (Macadam). The lecture will begin at 7pm in the Nash Lecture Theatre.

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