2021 Chinese Australian Whispers podcast

A podcast about Chinese Australian family stories, how we tell them and what we can know about them.

Watching festival from a window of the Chinese Mission Church in Little Bourke Street, 2000. Emmanuel Santos 1957-, photographer. Courtesy State Library of Victoria

This podcast series will highlight the contemporary relevance of recorded oral histories of Victoria’s Chinese Australians held at the Museum of Chinese Australian History in Melbourne. In each podcast episode, I will discuss the significance of one oral history with a family historian currently researching their Chinese ancestry bringing past and present together.

Through these conversations we will highlight little-heard Chinese Australian voices and lived experiences as well as the complex processes of researching and understanding them. Oral histories are designed to be listened to – for nuance, intonation, emotion, hesitation and silences. Podcasts provide an ideal format to not only make these voices heard but also to interpret them.

To create each podcast episode, historian Sophie Couchman and a member of the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria (CAFHOV) will carefully review one oral history. They will share the parts they find most interesting. Sophie will then lead a conversation with the family historian, mixed with oral history clips, that uncovers the historical lives featured in the oral history and the recent family experiences of the family historian.

Enhancing the discussion will be music composed by musician, composer and ethnomusicologist Dr Wang Zheng-Ting inspired by Australia’s Chinese musical history.

This project is being completed in partnership with the Museum of Chinese Australian History with the assistance of the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria. It is generously funded by a Victorian Government Local History Grant.

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