Columbia Center for Oral History

The Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH) is the oldest and largest organized oral history program in the world.  For over six years, Plowshares has been working closely with Mary Marshall Clark, Director of CCOH at Columbia University on the development and creation of several oral history video projects over the span of multiple year contracts.  These projects include: The Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts, The Rule of Law and Due Process Project, and our most recent work with the Center was the recording of over 80 hours of interviews and stories describing the Carnegie Corporation’s history of charitable giving.  The interviews have taken us into offices, artist studios, homes and farms, all across the country and even to London.

The Oral History Project on Due Process and the Rule of Law as related to the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center took Plowshares to London to interview and film for a week. The subject of much international criticism and controversy, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp was established in 2002 by George Bush to hold detainees and alleged terrorists during the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq. With the voices and experiences of those who lived through it, this fascinating 5-part oral history comprised of 13-hours of interview content tells the important stories of Muslim British citizens detained in Guantanamo Bay and Kandahar Prison, as well as those under state-issued control orders in the UK. The struggles and stories of the human rights attorneys that work with them are also brought to light, as are those of the administrators and case workers at the British organization Cage Prisoners who have made it their life’s work to give voice to the voiceless and bring justice to those who otherwise have been unable to find it in the face of the War on Terror. Plowshares is both proud and honored to be part of documenting such a fascinating and important piece of history.

The Columbia Center for Oral History staff continue to work closely with us because not only do the interviews look fantastic and capture the intimacy of the individual’s story, but we thoroughly understand the oral history process from preparation to shooting to editing and delivery.

We’ve recently begun a new project for the Center on artist Robert Rauschenberg’s life and career.