Call For Papers – New Zealand Oral History Conference

The Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies and the National Oral History Association of New Zealand (NOHANZ) Te Kete Kōrero-a-Waha o Te Motu have put out a call for papers for the New Zealand Oral History Conference.

Where: Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington

When: 18 – 20 November 2022.

About the conference:

Te Reo a Ngā Taputapu

Memory, Oral History and Material Culture

From taonga tūturu to inherited family possessions material culture plays a fundamental role in symbolizing our expressions of identity and transmitting memory across generations. The term material culture here is taken to include any objects made or modified by a human, from the smallest item of jewellery to large monuments or buildings, and the ways in which these objects are understood and/or given symbolic or other meanings. In this conference we hope to explore two major themes. The first concerns the different roles that objects play in the oral histories of iwi, hapu, whanau, and national, family or individual oral history narratives; and the second focuses upon oral histories and material culture in the context of institutions, such as galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (sometimes referred to as the GLAM sector).

We therefore invite papers that describe and discuss the significance and meaning of objects expressed through oral histories recorded in a wide range of cultural or social contexts. Secondly, we hope the conference will also explore the ways in which oral histories are used in museum or gallery exhibitions constructed around material objects. For example, papers might address any of the following questions or topics:

  • What roles do inherited family objects play in contemporary life narratives/identities?
  • How are photographic records of the past interpreted in oral histories?
  • Can inherited objects generate counterfactual family histories?
  • Are there gender differences in terms of objects and remembering the past?
  • Do culturally significant objects have agency, in terms of collective cultural practices?
  • Can the symbolic meaning of an object change over time?
  • The relationship between oral history and objects in galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
  • The conference will also include presentations, not necessarily connected to the conference theme, on recent oral history projects.

To submit a proposal

Please send a title, 250-word (maximum) abstract, and a brief (two sentence) biography, as a Word document, plus an indication of the focus of your paper within the broad themes of the conference, to:


By:         Monday 1st August 2022

You will be notified by mid-August whether your paper has been accepted. Please note: your abstract will be used for the conference programme.

Keynote speakers

Keynote speakers will be announced at a later date.


There will be workshops on Friday 18 November – venue and topics to be confirmed.

For further information please contact either:

Liz Ward: or Anna Green: