Oral Memory Workshops


Tool No. 11: Oral Memory Workshops

Oral Memory Workshops

Usefulness of this tool

This tool can be used to

  • Contribute to the planning and management of the heritage resources of a community and a territory from a public perspective.
  • To help generate physical and digital educational and cultural materials on the rich heritage of the community’s territory.
  • To enrich the heritage discourse of a territory by exploring the sphere of unofficial discourses through the memory of citizens.
  • To recover knowledge about different types of heritage assets once existing in a territory and already lost in material terms but preserved in the memory of the citizens of that territory.
  • To investigate and value the spaces of cultural and heritage memory of the citizens of a territory.
  • Contribute to involving the citizens of a territory in the enhancement of its territory and heritage.
  • To enhance the value of particular narratives, discourses and memories, without excluding collective ones, about the territory and its heritage assets.

Description of the tool

Oral memory workshops are spaces for contrast and debate and they are also frameworks for the construction of collective identity through the exercise of oral memory, especially thanks to the senior members of the community.
Conceived as a space to share knowledge through the experience of the components of the community, these workshops will serve to recover and value, from a participatory perspective, the direct knowledge of the members of the community group.
This will have a positive impact on the task of revitalizing the ecomuseum, incorporating into its action dynamics the knowledge stored by the members of the community to which the ecomuseum belongs.


The workshops or seminars on oral memory have a multiple objective

  • Recover and enhance the memory of a specific group in relation to the history and heritage of its region as geographical and cultural space.
  • To value the identity of this group with respect to itself, contributing to improving the social and cultural self-esteem of the citizens by recognising the values of its memory and its heritage experience as a group.
  • Preserving the cultural and heritage memory of a community in order to preserve it for future generations.
  • In line with the above, to convert the experience and heritage memory of a collective into a social, cultural and educational value among the youngest, making this heritage memory and educational value likely to be enjoyed by the general public and especially by the school segment of the community.
  • To encourage curiosity and interest in the members of the community in their own history and in the values of their heritage.

Guidelines to apply the tool

To have human elements that know their territory, their present and past reality, focusing the action on people of a certain age who can be assumed or who are known to have this knowledge.

  • Meeting with local actors and scheduling of a preliminary investigation
  • Identification of potential stakeholders and interest groups
  • Fieldwork; conducting (if possible) individual interviews with potential workshop participants
  • Formation of the working groups in the workshops (minimum recommended: three community members per workshop, plus the external rapporteur).
  • Development of the workshops (they can be recorded with audio-visual means if the participants agree; it is preferable to carry them out in person, in order to encourage the interaction of the participants, but without excluding the use of a virtual or semi-virtual format).
  • Drafting of the specific reports and conclusions of the workshops
  • Elaboration of an overall concluding document of the workshops.

The preferred target is the one formed by the oldest members of the community, since it is especially about working with the treasure that constitutes the memory of the senior members of said human group. This tool can be applied at any level of the existence of the ecomuseum, either in its project phase or in an existing and consolidated ecomuseum, since the joint work with Memory and heritage is an always valid tool both in the conformation of the project of an ecomuseum as it is regarding an already existing ecomuseum.

Support materials

This methodology should be implemented through the development of workshops. These workshops should preferably be coordinated by a specialist in memory and orality, an expert in oral history, and should be adapted to the human resources who wish to take part in them, as they may involve older people to a large extent.
A flexible duration of the workshops is recommended, starting from a minimum of 2 hours for each workshop.
They can take place in person or virtually, the former being recommended. They can be collected using audiovisual media with the consent and permission of the participants.
The production of final audiovisual documents specific to each workshop and a similar general document is not excluded.


Oral memory workshops in La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz, Spain)
Oral memory workshops in Marinilla (Antioquia, Colombia)
Oral Memory Workshops, University of Las Palmas (Canary Islands, Spain)
Oral memory workshops at the Cervera Regional Museum (Catalonia, Spain)
Oral memory experience in Belalcázar (Córdoba, Spain)


Scientific Coordinators