The life story interview is a practice within oral history and is an interview with someone about key moments in their life. It can be conducted in one session or over several days. Often interviews are conducted only for information and very little space is given to how one narrates important events in their lives. Video interviews are a great way to capture both what is shared and how it is conveyed. Download chapter 4 for a more in-depth discussion on conducting oral histories in the classroom and see below for tips on video interviews.

Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling has a great online toolbox, (

Digital storytelling is usually associated with short autobiographical narratives that combine photographs and short written narratives. Combining photography and writing is effective because the technology is quick to grasp and permits a group to emphasize message over technological know-how. Find handouts on writing, photography, and working with sensitive stories or find our more by downloading chapter 3, 4 or 5.

Issue composition –

SOUND/ Music

Here are some places where you can download free sound effects and music that is in the public domain. Make sure to thoroughly read the terms of use of each site.


Throughout the project we used the term “map” to describe the process of connecting personal experiences to places of significance (place-based stories). For example we led activities where we asked participants to draw an image of home and tell us about a story, we called these personal maps. We worked with participants to map their stories using geographical coordinates online or in a community. ‘Going Places’ was our story bus on wheels where we created soundscapes and toured passengers around the city of Montreal. ‘Queer is in the Eye of the Newcomers’ was a walking tour that we then turned into a non-linear web documentary using the open-source program, Korsakow. Mapping helped individuals locate the relationship between the past and the present, the personal and the collective, story and place. Download chapters 3 and 5 to find resources and how we organized the walks.

Going Public

Inviting participants of collaborative projects to share their work and experiences with a broader public can be not only individually empowering, but can also contribute to far-reaching social change that influences social opinion and affects entire communities. The resources below help you think through what to consider when dealing with the press or planning a public event.


Many of our stories are the perfect length to use with newcomer students who are learning English. Our collaborator, Kevin Stanley has used Mapping Memories examples to get his own students telling their stories. He developed viewing guides for two Mapping Memories projects that he felt worked especially well in an introductory or intermediate ESL class. Discover the resources he developed.

Download his guides and try it out in your classrooms.

Working with Refugees

The Canadian Council for Refugees has developed a wealth of resources. One of their most popular is an immigration history timeline as well as a helpful timeline on refugee rights. On their public education page find a glossary, myths and facts sheets as well as many other resources.