Brett was appointed Director of the Oral History Centre in March 2019. He is an archivist having received a Joint Master’s Degree in Arts (Archival Studies) from the University of Winnipeg/University of Manitoba in 2005. Following graduation he served as Digital Archivist at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections before becoming University Archivist and Digital Curator at the University of Winnipeg Archives in 2014. He currently serves as the Acting Associate Dean of the Library at the University of Winnipeg. His research interests include examining the intersections between reconciliation and digital archives, including web archives and online descriptions of records. He has published articles on his role in Indigenizing metadata at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and within the Association for Manitoba Archives’ Manitoba Archival Information Network and presented at conferences around the world on diverse topics such as social media in archives, digital infrastructure, and the development of the Two-Spirit Archives.
Kim is an Adjunct Professor and the Program Coordinator at the Oral History Centre. She completed her Honours BA at the University of Winnipeg and her MA in History at Concordia University (Montreal), focusing on oral history practice and methodology throughout. At the Oral History Centre she develops and coordinates the Centre’s oral history workshops, creates educational materials, provides consultation in oral history, and helps to maintain order in the OHC Archive. She is also a collaborator in the Manitoba Food History Project.
Kent is an Adjunct Professor and the Audio Technician at the Oral History Centre. He provides faculty, staff, students and affiliate OHC members with the equipment, technical support, learning tools and resources needed in order to complete Oral History research projects. He assists in the development and preservation of the OHC projects and digital archive. He has an extensive background in radio broadcasting and serves on the board of CKUW 95.9 FM. Kent has worked extensively on digitization projects and research involving the preservation of oral history interviews. Kent is also the primary researcher of the Harvest Moon Society Oral History Project and is a collaborator in the Manitoba Food History Project.
Paula graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts in 2010 and began working at the University later that same year. In 2019, she became a new addition to the Oral History Centre, providing administrative support.
Dr. Alexander Freund is professor of history and holds the Chair in German-Canadian Studies at the University of Winnipeg. Since 2010, he has been a member of the International Advisory Group for the Australian Generations oral history project and of the International Advisory Board of Palgrave Studies in Oral History (Palgrave Macmillan). In 2013, he joined the Oral History Journal International Editorial Advisory Board.
Previously, Dr. Freund served as co-president of the Canadian Oral History Association and co- editor of the Oral History Forum d’histoire orale (2006-14); as a member on the International Oral History Association Council (2006-10); on the Oral History Association’s International Committee (2006-8) and Book Award Committee (2012). Before coming to the University of Winnipeg in 2002, Dr. Freund was a post-doctoral fellow at the German Historical Institute/ American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (The Johns Hopkins University), Washington, DC and at Columbia University’s Oral History Research Office, where he later worked as program associate (2001). Dr. Freund studied at the University of Hamburg, Simon Fraser University (M.A. 1994) and the University of Bremen (Ph.D. 2000).
Dr. Freund has published widely in oral history and migration history. Recent publications include Oral History and Ethnic History / L’Histoire orale et l’histoire des groupes ethniques (Immigration and Ethnicity in Canada/L’immigration et l’ethnicité au Canada 32) (Ottawa: Canadian Historical Association, 2014); “’Confessing Animals’: Toward a Longue Durée History of the Oral History Interview,” Oral History Review (Spring 2014): 1-26; Beyond the Nation? Immigrants’ Local Lives in Transnational Cultures (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012); with Pablo Pozzi, eds., Oral History Forum d’histoire orale 32 (2012), Edición Especial/Special Issue “Historia Oral en América Latina/Oral History in Latin America”; with Alistair Thomson, eds., Oral History and Photography(New York: Palgrave, 2011). Dr. Freund recently completed a SSHRC-funded, four-year project on the history of refugees in Manitoba since 1945 (2011-14). He co-led a two-year project on the children of survivors of Indian Residential Schools, funded by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (2012-14).
Nolan Reilly is the Director Emeritus of the Oral History Centre and a Senior Scholar at the University of Winnipeg. He is the co-founder with Alexander Freund of the OHC and, until his retirement, was its co-director. Nolan did his first oral history interviews in 1974 in Amherst, Nova Scotia. This research was an integral part of his community study of Amherst that he undertook for his doctoral degree at Dalhousie University. These first interviews provided much fodder for his students over the years when identifying practices that are best to be avoided in interviewing. However, the interviews did demonstrate to Nolan the value of oral history and meshed well with his commitment to popular history or what is today called democratizing history.
Nolan joined the University of Winnipeg’s History Department in 1978 and over his long tenure here directed numerous oral and community history projects. Much of his energy was devoted to collaboration with university and secondary school instructors and community activists to develop pedagogies to engage students and members of the community in the discovery of their past. Oral history was a foundational methodology in this research. Ironically though, given his later involvement in the creation of the OHC, he defined himself in these years as a historian of work class history and community studies. However, all was revealed to him in 2004 when oral historian Alexander Freund joined the History Department. Alexander’s intense interest in and knowledge of the field of oral history drew Nolan into a more concentrated and focussed approach to the subject. Alexander and Nolan soon recognized the importance of creating an oral history centre to initiate research and to support others pursuing the democratising of history through the practice of oral history.
In his retirement, Nolan is continuing his involvement in the OHC and to offer encouragement and support to his friends and colleagues in the community and university.
Janis Thiessen was an Associate Director of the Oral History Centre from 2016–2019. She is a professor of history at the University of Winnipeg, where she teaches business, food, and Canadian history. Her research interests include food history and oral history, as well as the 20th century history of business, labour, and religion. She is the P.I for the Manitoba Food History Project.
Her book “Manufacturing Mennonites: Work and Religion in Post-War Manitoba” (University of Toronto Press, 2013) incorporates oral history interviews with workers, managers, and owners at three businesses founded, owned, and originally staffed by Mennonites: the printing firm Friesens Corporation, the window manufacturer Loewen, and the furniture manufacturer Palliser. The book pioneers two important new trajectories for scholarship – how religion can affect business history, and how class relations have influenced religious history.