A Greek not-for-profit organisation has been launched with the mission to create an archive of Greek oral histories that will give a fuller picture of the nation’s past.

The organisation, Istorima, will train 1,500 researchers who are below age 35 in oral history gathering methodologies. Once the training is complete, ekathemerini says they will travel across Greece to record the personal stories of up to 50,000 elderly people.

These will be curated and compiled into a large archive that will be available to researchers as well as the general public.

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Istorima estimates that the project, which is financed by a donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s Youth and Empowerment Initiative will take up to four years to complete and is currently looking for researchers who will be on temporary contracts.

The first wave of researchers will fan out across the Peloponnese. The next wave, in March will focus on the Attica region until every region in the country has been covered.

The methods used for the project have been formulated by the Simon Fraser University in Canada. But the project itself is the brainchild of Greek journalist Sofia Papaioannnou and history Katherine Fleming, author of Greece – A Jewish history who is also provost of New York University.

An inspiration for the project was the Australian initiative which has been in place since 1960 to record the stories of the Aboriginal people. To date over 200,000 audio files exist in the national archives.