The Oral History Research Methodology Worksops / Seminar Series “The Cyprus Oral History Project: The First Draft of History” were held March 8-19, 2011 at Frederick University, Nicosia, Cyprus. This activity was part of a research-funded project entitled “The Cyprus Oral History Project” hosted by Frederick Research Center and funded by the Research Promotion Foundation, Nicosia, Cyprus. Part of the seminars-workshops was devoted in teaching the importance and merits of oral history and part of them intended to make participants acquainted with oral history research methodology. The intensive 30-hour seminar series on oral history research and methodology included 18 hours in-class sessions, including lectures, exercises, group-work and group-discussions, and 12 hours of fieldwork, including interview data collection. The aim was to promote both theory and practice. These 30 hours were allocated into four 3-hour classes on March 8, 9, 10 and 12, 2011 followed by 12 hours of fieldwork and then resumed in the classroom for two 3-hour sessions on March 19, 2011.

The seminar series was exciting. A group of twenty selected students and scholars from various disciplines participated. Participants were focused and devoted, and they kept coming back, despite the fact that the seminars were intensive, they were held on weekends and late afternoons, sometimes in a row, ending at 9pm and that there was no credit except from the certificates of attendance, self-interest and own motivation. Participants were selected based on their interest to conduct oral history research and their relevance to prior research work. There were researchers, researchers to be, undergraduate and graduate students, PhD candidates and applicants, teachers, academics, other professionals, non-professionals and in general people who had a general interest in oral history and in research, in talking with people and learning about them, and in documenting conversations methodologically and grounding them in research. Generally, folks were interested in learning to conduct oral history research and in general in advancing their research skills.

Among other benefits, the seminars assisted participants in forming questions purposefully for personal and professional purposes and they contributed toward their personal and professional growth. Some of the outcomes include a published booklet based on work conducted and knowledge generated at the seminars; the eagerness of the group to contribute voluntarily with their newly acquired expertise in the Cyprus Oral History and Living Memory Project to help enrich the narrative archive by interviewing people all around Cyprus; and the formation of a committee for the conference in October, 2011.

The seminar series were conducted under the leadership of the expert researcher, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar Professor William Ayers, University of Illinois at Chicago, the project coordinator Dr. Nikoletta Christodoulou, Frederick Research Center and Dr. Lucy Avraamidou alongside a number of other academics-researchers and partnering institutions who are involved in the project.  Professor Ayers is an inspiring and enthusiastic academic, researcher, teacher and writer who ensured that all participants got the most out of their experience.