2024 OHA Biennial Conference

The Power of Oral History—Risks, Rewards & Possibilities


A detailed conference program, outlining the conference presentations will be provided as soon as it is confirmed.


Thursday 21 November 2024

  • A dynamic program of pre-conference workshops delivered by a range of expert presenters.
  • Conference welcome drinks (including the OHA Hazel de Berg Award presentation).

Friday 22 November 2024

  • Welcome to Country.
  • Opening plenary address from world renown Italian pioneering oral historian Alessandro Portelli.
  • A varied program of presentations across four parallel strands of thematic sessions.
  • OHA Annual General Meeting (including the OHA Book and Media awards presentations).

Saturday 23 November 2024

  • A varied program of presentations across four parallel strands of thematic sessions.
  • Closing plenary – details to be confirmed.
  • Conference dinner at one of Melbourne’s premier music venues the Brunswick Ballroom featuring the Sharing Stories through Song concert presented by Melbourne’s iconic multicultural music organisation The Boîte and featuring ARIA award winning folkloric singer Kavisha Mazzella and acclaimed writer and spoken word performer Arnold Zable.

Sunday 24 November 2024

  • An exciting program of tours curated by Oral History Victoria, offering wonderful opportunities to delve into the diverse history of Naarm/Melbourne. Find out more on the post-conference tours page.

Conference dinner

The Conference Dinner features the Sharing stories through song concert brought to you by Melbourne’s iconic multicultural music organisation the boîte – Saturday 23 November from 6:30pm at the Brunswick Ballroom one of Melbourne’s premier live music venues. Tickets are $85 and can be booked when you book your conference ticket on Humanitix.


Kavisha Mazzella AM is an Australian singer-songwriter and composer whose music has Mediterranean, gypsy and Celtic influences. Influenced by her rich multicultural background (Italian and Celtic-Burmese ) she pays respect to folk traditions whilst creating new music . She first came to national attention in 1993 through the film The Joys Of The Women an award winning documentary by Franco Di Chiera about her founding an Italian diaspora community choir “The Joys Of The Women” choir in Fremantle WA and the search for her roots through tradional Italian Folk music .She also went on to form more choirs such as The Voice Of The Moon – La Voce Della Luna from 1996-2013 and their version of Va Pensiero is featured in the 2023 film Little Tornadoes . She is bilingual, with a passion for sharing traditional songs as well as composing her music which focuses on social justice, community building and the search for deeper meaning. Her performances are filled with humour, wit and warmth. She currently directs Lingua Madre Italian Folk Choir in Melbourne.

Arnold Zable is an acclaimed writer, novelist, storyteller and human rights activist, and the recipient of the 2021 Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. His books include Jewels and Ashes, Café Scheherazade, Scraps of Heaven, Sea of Many Returns, The Fig Tree, Violin Lessons, The FighterThe Watermill, and The Glass Horse of Venice, beautifully illustrated by Anita Lester.  He has published numerous features, essays, columns, poems and works for theatre, and has lectured widely on the art of story in Australia and internationally. Arnold is a compelling storyteller who has collaborated with musicians in shows including Anytime the Wind Can Change, with singer-songwriter Kavisha Mazzella, Wanderers and DreamersTales of Yiddish Theatre in AustraliaJourneys to IthacaThe Fig Tree, and Tales of Love and Resistance, which he performed in the Krakow Jewish Festival and Wroclaw White Stork Synagogue in July 2022. He has a doctorate from the School of Creative Arts, Melbourne University, where he served as a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow. He is a patron of Sanctuary, immediate past president and patron of PEN International Melbourne, an ambassador of Melbourne’s Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and life member of the Boite World Music Café.

Issued 16 June 2024


BOOK for the conference & social functions

Performer, Kavisha Mazzella, playing guitar
Kavisha Mazzella performing at the Boite 45th anniversary. Photographer: Paul McVitty.
Logo of the Boite organisation, celebrating 45 years.
Head shot of performer Arnold Zable
Arnold Zable, photographer: Simon Schluter.
Skip to content