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. 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 Programming and Collections Specialist at the Oral History Centre. She completed her Honours BA at the University of Winnipeg and has a Master of Arts in Oral History from Concordia University, where she began her education in public history and in the preservation of oral history collections. In her current role she teaches workshops in oral history, assists in ongoing oral history projects, and co-manages the Oral History Centre’s archival collections. Kim’s areas of expertise are in the methodological, ethical, and technological challenges of doing oral history, and in the preservation and accessibility of oral history collections. She is a collaborator in the Manitoba Food History Project and co-author of the forthcoming Manitoba Food History Atlas.
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.
Janice Reyes Bain
Janice began working at the University of Winnipeg in 2008. In 2017, she joined the Library as an Operations Support Assistant and in 2022, 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. He is the co-founder with Nolan Reilly of the Oral History Centre and its former co-director and director (until 2018). His current research includes an oral history of refugees in Winnipeg since 1945; a history of father-son relations in Canada since 1900; Oral History and Power (Routledge, 2025); and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Oral History (with Alistair Thomson and Erin Jessee, Bloomsburg, 2025).
Dr. Freund is a member of the International Editorial Advisory Board of Oral History (since 2013), the editorial board of Oral History Australia (since 2020), and the European Science Foundation’s College of Expert Reviewers (since 2022). Previously, Dr. Freund served as a member of the Oral History Association’s Council (2018-2021); as a member of the Editorial Board of Palgrave Studies in Oral History (2010-2016); as a member of the International Advisory Group for the Australian Generations oral history project (2010-2015); 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); and as vice president of the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association (2005-2010).
Dr. Freund has published widely in oral history and migration history. He received the Oral History Association’s Best Article Award in 1996 and 2006. Recent publications include “Narrating Home: Oral Histories As Documents and Practices of Homing,” in Handbook on Home and Migration, ed. Paolo Boccagni (Edward Elgar forthcoming); Being German-Canadian: History, Memory, and Generations (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2021); “Introduction: Heavy Baggage: Memory and Generation in Ethnic History,” in: Being German-Canadian; “A Flying Piano and Then—Silence: German-Canadian Memories of the Great War,” in: Being German-Canadian; “Neuanfang unter Maos langem Schatten? Oral History im heutigen China,” BIOS: Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral History und Lebensverlaufsanalysen 33/1 (2020, publ. 2022); “Sexualizing Livelihood: Marriage and Migration in Postwar Germany,” in: Emotional Landscapes: Love, Gender, and Migration, ed. by Marcelo Borges, Sonia Cancian, and Linda Reeder (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2021); “Long Shadows Over New Beginnings? Oral History in Modern China,” Oral History Review 46/1 (Winter/Spring 2019); “Questioning Historians: Oral History as a Historiographic and Political Act,” Oral History Review 46/1 (Winter/Spring 2019); “GI Hans in Korea: Militär und Migration in der deutschen Nachkriegszeit”, BIOS: Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral History und Lebensverlaufsanalysen (Germany) 30/1-2 (2017): 181-212; with Guillermo Vodniza, “Oral History Pedagogy in Situations of Conflict,” Oral History and Education: Theories, Dilemmas, and Practices, eds. Kristina R. Llewellyn and Nicholas Ng-A-Fook (New York: Palgrave, 2017); “From .wav to .txt: why we still need transcripts in the digital age,” Oral History (Spring 2017): 33-42; with Benjamin Bryce, eds., Entangling Migration History: Borderlands and Transnationalism in the United States and Canada (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2015); with Kristina Llewellyn and Nolan Reilly, eds., The Canadian Oral History Reader (Montreal: McGill Queen’s University Press, 2015); “Under Storytelling’s Spell? Oral History in a Neo-liberal Age,” Oral History Review 42/1 (Winter/Spring 2015); “Transnationalizing Home in Winnipeg: Refugees’ Stories of the Places Between the “Here-and-There,” Canadian Ethnic Studies 47/1 (2015); “Toward an Ethics of Silence? Negotiating Off-the-record Events and Identity in Oral History,” Oral History Off the Record: Toward an Ethnography of Practice (New York: Palgrave, 2013); 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).
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.