Resilient Houston: Documenting Hurricane Harvey

Resilient Houston: Documenting Hurricane Harvey

CPH moved quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey to develop an ambitious oral history project. “Resilient Houston: Documenting Hurricane Harvey” will create a substantial archive of oral histories, supporting materials, and short documentary films serving as the foundation for future research projects by our team of scholars across five thematic areas: Neighborhood Narratives, Flood Abatement and Control, The Energy Capital, Emergency Response, and Feeding a Flooded City.  The project is co-directed by Dr. Monica Perales and Dr. Todd Romero, and managed by Dr. Julie Cohn. The Resilient Houston team includes a number of CPH affiliates: Dr. Mark Goldberg, Dr. Rebecca Golden-Timsar, Dr. Debbie Harwell, Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn, Dr. Kairn Klieman, Dr. Richard Mizelle, Dr. Temple Northup, and Dr. Kristin Wintersteen. 

 The project will begin in earnest over the next year and last a total of three years. Important project outcomes include:

  • 300+ oral history interviews conducted through sustained interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and community collaboration and engagement. The project will create an important archive on Hurricane Harvey.
  • Multiple faculty and graduate student research projects and publications stemming from the archived materials and project development.
  • A website utilizing Digital Humanities methodologies with curated interviews, photographs, short documentary films, and GIS mapping of the oral history interviews and topics.
  • Local and, possibly, national museum exhibits.
  • An ongoing, public outreach program including film screenings and public talks, among other events to highlight in the media our important work in the diverse communities that comprise our city.
  • Community history harvests to collect Hurricane Harvey related materials to supplement the oral history project.
  • The development a free toolkit for oral history, documentary filmmaking, and preservation of documents entirely using smartphones and tablets, tentatively titled “The Documenting Disaster Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations.”

We are cultivating partnerships with scholars at Texas A&M University and Texas Southern University, as well as the Houston History Alliance. Additionally, students in three or more undergraduate and graduate classes, as well as student interns will work on the project over the next several semesters. Our goal is to build partnerships that will sustain the project and offer national and international exposure to our oral history research on Hurricane Harvey.

 If you have suggestions or would like to support our efforts, please contact the project team: