HIV Out Loud: The Storytelling Process

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about this project! This document explains step-by-step what storytellers can expect when they decide to share a story.


1.       A listener will contact you by phone or email. Listeners have been trained in oral history methods, recording, and Safe Space training. In your first conversations, the listener will answer any questions you have and try to get to know you a bit. They’ll ask you if you know what story (or stories) you want to share. They’ll work with you to make a safety plan (a way to signal if you need to take a break or stop while telling your story) and ask you about where and when you would like to meet to record your story.

2.       On the day of recording, the listener will meet you at a place and time that feels good to you. They’ll answer any questions, and walk you through the consent form and deed of gift form, which have to be signed in order to share your story. You will have a chance to say if you’d like the story to include your name, any photographs, or other materials. You can also say if you want to put any restrictions on sharing your story in the archive (for example, that it not be made public for 5 years). You’ll both sign the forms and get copies to keep. The listener will also give you a list of resources for support in the community.

3.       The listener will tell you when they start recording. They will start the recording with a standard intro that says the place and time of recording, their name, and your name (if you want to include your name). Then, they will either ask questions to help bring out your story or just listen as you tell. The time it takes to record just depends on how much you hope to share—it could be one short recording, or several recording sessions done on different days.

4.       After recording, the listener will send you a copy of your story to listen to yourself. You will have 3 months to think it over before the story goes into the library. If you decide you want to have any parts cut out, or you don’t want to share your story after all, you just reach out to the listener and let them know. It’s fine—this is YOUR STORY!

5.       Once the story goes into the library, you will get a link to find it on the internet.

6.       If the team hopes to share your story elsewhere (like at a listening booth, a public event, or an educational event) they will reach out to ask your permission.

7.       You can reach out to your listener (or to the library or project team) anytime if you have questions.

8.       If you want to become a storyteller or listener yourself, let us know! We would love to hear and honor the stories you could bring!