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Istorima: A Unique Archive of Oral History & Heritage, ‘Listen to the Extraordinary’

24 Jun 2024 9:26 AM | Anonymous

After five years of systematic research, documenting and collecting stories from all over Greece, Istorima, the largest-scale collection of oral history in the country, continues its activity and is enriched with a renewed website with updated series and collections. Its more than 18,000 stories make up a unique archive of oral history and heritage, from every city, island, and village in Greece. is a blend of journalism and history, and functions as a modern cultural digital ‘library’ wherein thousands of oral accounts, which would otherwise be lost, are collected and presented.

Podcasts, collections, and tributes are the media through which people of all ages recount their personal stories from today and yesterday, detailing emotions, memories, culture, traditions, customs, historical moments and events of today. These profound experiences connect us to those around us and help us all understand our world.

Istorima is a non-profit organization created in 2019 by the journalist Sofia Papaioannou and the historian Katherine Fleming, with a founding donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), as part of its Recharging the Youth Initiative. Through the donation, which ends in June 2024, more than 700 young researchers working in their places of origin and residence, discovered storytellers, highlighting those stories that make each region, and each person, special. To date, more than 18,000 accounts from 7,000 parts of Greece have been collected and presented at and with the assistance of a large team of sound technicians, curators, and lawyers.

With the completion of five years, the wide-ranging archive of 18,000 stories hosted at will be transferred to the National Library of Greece (NLG), thus fulfilling the vision of the SNF which supported Istorima with its founding donation, from its creation and for the first five years.

The archive transferred to the NLG is essentially the online platform which hosts all the stories that have been collected, recorded, and reclaimed. The records consist of 49 thematic sections which include memories, traditions, legends, experiences but also achievements, expressions of human nature, and imprints of the collective memory of each place.

The entire record is open and accessible to all.

At the same time, is renewed with a friendly and easy-to-use layout, where oral stories evolve into podcasts using advanced media and technology. The user may listen to original podcast series and collections, or explore themes based on emotions, geographical region, historical periods, and subject categories of interest, and browse the Istorima archive. The user also is also able to create their own account to further personalize browsing experience and share their favorite podcasts easily and quickly across all social media and streaming platforms.

The map posted on Istorima’s website reflects the scope of the study that has been done in the last five years. Each narration becomes interactive, and every person is a protagonist. The storytellers take us on a journey throughout Greece, but also around the world from Vancouver to Japan, Iceland, Patagonia, where stories unfold, new and old, entwined with tales of courage, love, loss, and triumph.

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