Investigating the New Approach of Isfahan Municipality Cultural Organization towards Oral History in an Online Meeting

Maryam Asadi Jafari
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


"The first meeting of the Advisory Council of the Oral History of the Social, Cultural and Sports Organization of Isfahan Municipality" was held online on October 7, 2020 by the Assarkhaneh Shahi Museum. The members of the council pointed to new approaches and strategies in the field of oral history activities in Isfahan.

According to the Oral History website, the first meeting of the Advisory Council of the Oral History of the Social, Cultural and Sports Organization of Isfahan Municipality was held online on Wednesday (October 7, 2020) by the Assarkhaneh Shahi Museum. At the beginning of the meeting, which was held on the subject of approaches of Isfahan Municipality Cultural Organization towards oral history and the objectives of forming this council, engineer Ali Atrian, artistic director of Isfahan Municipality Social Cultural Organization, introduced the measures taken in the field of oral history research by this organization and said, "The field of activities carried out in the scope of history of Isfahan, such as two major projects of the oral history of Isfahan Bazaar and the oral history of the religious boards, were among the actions whose positive feedback has paved the way for continuing."

Then, Dr. Morteza Nouraei, Dr. Abolfazl Hassan Abadi, Dr. Mohsen Kazemi, Dr. Moloud Sotoudeh, and Dr. Masoumeh Goudarzi, members of the Advisory Council of the Oral History of the Social, Cultural and Sports Organization of Isfahan Municipality, expressed their views on the importance of the existence of this council and its intended goals.


Industrialization of Oral History with the Approach of Government Organizations to Oral History

Stating that oral history is one of the means of urban historiography, Dr. Nouraei stressed the need for government institutions to support micro-oral history projects. He said that one of the problems with not completing or even starting some researches is the prolongation of these projects due to the wide scope of the chosen topic. The proposed solution to this dilemma was to consider topics on a large scale and to design small thematic subdivisions for each of them. According to him, the approach to micro-historiography, while being relevant to the macro-subject, will prevent the projects from lengthening, and by presenting the outputs, the work will gradually return to the correct and desired routine. Dr. Nouraie then examined the approach of government organizations to oral history from three perspectives: entrepreneurship, production, and industrialization of oral history.

In the following, Dr. Hassan Abadi, while listing the history of activities in Isfahan as one of the leading cities in oral history of Iran, pointed out that using the mutual experiences of Mashhad and Isfahan in the field of oral history research is one way to prevent duplication of mistakes and improve the path of oral historiography. He recommended that in the first step, archiving should be on the agenda and publishing should not be a priority. In addition, by proposing the development of a preliminary bylaw for this council, he considered the role of this bylaw to be significant in the continuation of the path and assessed it as a solution to follow the scientific and executive activities of the council. s

He also suggested that in the first step, the oral history of Isfahan Municipality be included in the agenda of the Cultural Organization of Isfahan Municipality. Dr. Mohsen Kazemi mentioned in his speech that city managers should accept that oral history is not a kind of cost, but is a kind of investment. Thus, the desire to start and support these projects will increase, and the result is the availability of a rich urban archive which can be used for generations. He emphasized that the interviews should be recorded visually as far as possible, because these images will be a rich source of studies after a while. Some oral history projects will inevitably take time despite numerous arrangements. Therefore, arrangements should be made for managerial changes during the project implementation period. Drafting, approving and notifying the bylaws is one of the best ways to prevent the damage of these changes to research. Then, Dr. Sotoudeh spoke about the possibility of using the capacities of cyberspace in the field of historical research and even interviews, and presented the use of the capacities of private institutions, which have more trust in government institutions for such projects, on council's agenda. While introducing some small and necessary researches of oral history in Isfahan, Dr. Masoumeh Goudarzi also spoke about her experiences in projects which have been done so far with organizations related to the municipality, and pressed on eliminating defects, facilitating and accelerating the implementation of projects, before the places or people in question disappear. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Maryam Qanuni, in charge of the Assarkhaneh Shahi Museum, while explaining in more detail about the projects carried out in the organization, emphasized the serious determination of the Isfahan Municipality Cultural Organization and the Assarkhane Shahi Museum in using and implementing the opinions of council members in projects based on oral history, in addition to expressing the need to raise the problems and appropriate solutions to improve urban studies in Isfahan by the council.

"The first meeting of the Advisory Council of the Oral History of the Social, Cultural and Sports Organization of Isfahan Municipality" was held online on October 7, 2020 by the Assarkhaneh Shahi Museum.

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