This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please inquire about permissions.
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This interview was conducted as part of the Oral History Summer School training programme in Hudson, New York. The interview took place in the dining room of the house Miriam Johnson was borrowing from a friend for the duration of the programme. Miriam and Sarah had only met for the first time a few days previously and were both participants in the OHSS 2019 programme. Miriam was born in America but when she was six years old she emigrated along with her immediate family (her parents and her older sister) to Tasmania, Australia. In this interview she speaks about how her father’s career choices, first in the Merchant Navy, and then as a chiropractor, resulted in her family’s move to Tasmania; she discusses her personal experience of this emigration and its long-term impact on her own sense of self and identity; she talks in detail about her feelings about the Tasmanian landscape and clouds. Miriam then describes her return to America as an adult and her time spent living in New Mexico and New York City, and the continuing importance of landscape and geography on who she is as a person and as an artist. Miriam describes herself as an artist, writer, photographer and filmmaker and during the conversation she cites Georgia O’Keeffe as an important figure of inspiration. The interview concludes with Miriam reflecting on her ongoing struggle with and interest in, ‘geography as destiny’ and the places that are important to her.
This interview would be of interest to those interested in stories of the immigrant experience in Tasmania, the city of Hobart, the impact of place upon personal identity and self-fashioning, and ideas of landscape and place in psychology and art.
Sarah Hesketh is a British poet and educator who had travelled to Hudson from the UK, specifically to participate in OHSS. Her recent creative writing practice has been focused on residency-based projects and working with individuals to explore life stories and individual experiences. At the time of the interview she was in the third year of a practice-based PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton, London, exploring making poetry from oral history.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”