Participate in Fish Soup

What's involved?

We are seeking students interested in beginning to record the culture of Mount Holyoke College through oral history interviews. In the Fish Soup project, participating students will interview each other about their lives at and/or before MHC. Each student will experience both sides of the microphone, acting as interviewer and interviewee.

"The interview process is an art, not a science. The oral history interview is an attempt to provide a place for the interviewee to tell his or her story as he or she remembers it, and for the interviewer to ask questions that stimulate memory." (Fall 2009 Fish Soup Participant)

Prior to the interviews, you'll attend an orientation to prepare you for these roles and to begin reflecting on the stories from your life you'd like to share, and the stories you would like to elicit from your interview partner. All of the interviews will be recorded; you'll receive a copy of your recording, and you'll have the option to choose whether or not to contribute your recording to the project archive. Following the interviews, you'll process what you've learned--about yourself and the MHC community. Finally, you'll also have an optional opportunity to participate in creating and updating the digital archive of the project data and in planning for future extensions of the project.

"It was a really fun experience ... because I learned a lot about myself and how I see myself here and about my interviewer... I really enjoyed that my interviewer and I are from completely different backgrounds because it made my experience more enjoyable and I learned a lot more about other cultures and other lifestyles." (Fall 2009 Fish Soup Participant)

The Process:

  • Sign up to participate
  • Attend an orientation session to learn more, prepare for the experience, and get matched with a partner
  • Schedule your interview: You and your partner will sign up for a time slot that fits your schedules
  • Conduct and record your interview with help from LRC staff in the LRC Multimedia Studios
  • Meet again with the whole group for a post-interview reflection and celebration
  • Update the website/archive: Optionally, participate in maintaining and improving the project website and digital archive during the subsequent semester

"Being able to keep your recording sounded cool, so I signed up... It was lots of fun; who doesn't enjoy telling stories, especially about themselves! ... I’m very glad I decided to take time out and do it." (Fall 2009 Fish Soup Participant)

Why Participate?

A successful intercultural dialogue is "productive and mutually invigorating..., with neither side dominating or winning out." (Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, p. 37)

We hope that through participating in the "Fish Soup" project, you will come to a better understanding of yourself and your fellow students at MHC. Although this project seeks to begin recording the culture of MHC, we recognize that cultures are dynamically created by the groups of people involved. Through closer examination and reflection on the culture that we (and those who came before us) have developed here at MHC, we can purposefully move forward shaping that culture in positive ways. In addition, perhaps you will enjoy recording this snapshot of your current and previous self, to share with friends and family and as a memento for the future.

"The feeling of the culture gap [my partner] encountered between life here and India reminds me to be more brave when I meet something challenging here." (Fall 2009 Fish Soup Participant)

For more information and to find out about planned future project dates, contact:

  • Jean Janecki, Director of the Language Resource Center (x2408) (use links to our contact forms)
  • Leigh Mantle, Research and Instructional Support (x2795)