News Archive

Robert Van Voren`s Public Talk on "Oral History as a Tool for Research and Museology"

Georgian National Museum, Center for Social Sciences, American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) and Ilia State University organized a public lecture

"Oral History as a Tool for Research and Museology"

by Robert van Voren, Human Rights in Mental Health - Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry

Date: November 8, at 7 pm
Venue: Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia Auditorium, 3 Purtseladze Str. Tbilisi, Georgia.

In his presentation, Robert van Voren will explain how oral history can help to fill in blank spaces in historiography and help provide a multi-dimensional and more honest picture of the past. He discusses not only the skills required to make good oral history interviews, but also gives examples from his own practice, e.g. the development of a Maidan Oral History Program in Ukraine which has resulted by now in more than 300 interviews with direct participants. He also discusses developments in the field of museology, where oral history is becoming an increasingly important part of portraying a more holistic image of the past, and how museology can be a tool to strengthen democracy and the establishment of civil society based on the rule of law.

Robert van Voren (1959) is Chief Executive of Human Rights in Mental Health - Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP) and a Sovietologist by education. Starting in 1977 he became active in the Soviet human rights movement. For many years he traveled to the USSR as a courier, delivering humanitarian aid and smuggling out information on the situation in camps, prisons and psychiatric hospitals.

Van Voren is a board member of several organizations in the field of human rights and mental health and has written extensively on Soviet issues and, in particular, issues related to mental health and human rights, and published a dozen books. His most recent ones are On Dissidents and Madness(2009), Cold War in Psychiatry (2010) and Undigested Past - the Holocaust in Lithuania (2011).

He is currently Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and the Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia, and visiting professor at Grinchenko University in Kyiv.