Stories from the Sea.

The Newport Beach Public Library Foundation in collaboration with UCI Humanities Center is pleased to virtually present a new experimental program called Stories from the Sea: An Oral History Project. We are teaming up with a small group of literary journalism, history, and humanities students and professors to create a multi-generational, multi-media oral history project/presentation documenting our community members’ stories.

Please join us for a program and multi-media exhibition that features moving and empowering stories from the sea. This project features UCI student-Newport Beach community collaborations and is co-sponsored by the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation, the UCI Humanities Center, the UCI Center for Storytelling, UCI Libraries, the UCI History Department, the California Humanities and Isidore & Penny Myers Foundation.

Stories from the Sea

Thursday, May 6, 7:00pm

Register here


  • Welcome by Kunga Wangmo-Upshaw, acting director, Newport Beach Public Library Foundation
  • Video montage of student projects, edited and introduced by Neo Patel (UCI student, drama) and Francisco Romero (UCI student, film and media studies)
  • Introduction to Stories from the Sea website by Melanie Huynh (UCI student, philosophy)
  • Student panel moderated by Prof. Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, director of the UCI Humanities Center, featuring
    • Yixuang (Camille) Chen (UCI student, European studies)
    • Chloe Low (UCI student, literary journalism and English)
    • Rehana Morita (UCI student, film and media studies)
    • Vian Nguyen (UCI student, comparative literature and Asian American Studies)
    • Christian Okubo (UCI student, history), and
    • Kaye Regalado (UCI student, literary journalism and English)
  • Q & A with all the student researchers moderated by Dr. Patricia Pierson, associate director of literary journalism, UC Irvine
  • Wrap-up and introduction to archival and storytelling resources with Dr. Krystal Tribbett, Curator for Orange County Regional History, UCI Libraries

If you have any questions, please contact NBPLF Acting Director Kunga Wangmo-Upshaw at or 949-717-3818.

More About Stories from the Sea: An Oral History Project

Oceans are rarely neutral places as they evoke the human imagination, arouse emotions of fear and nostalgia, and are sites of pleasure, contemplation, heroism, industry, and death. “Stories from the Sea” will be part of NBPLF and UCI Humanities Center’s 2020-21 exploration of how oceans and waterways have shaped humanities-based inquiry and cultural production. Now an affluent neighborhood and tourist destination, Newport Beach, possesses a layered and palimpsestic history—from the native lands populated by Acjachemen (Junaneño) and the Tongva (Gabrielino) peoples, being part of a Spanish land-grant, Japanese families participating in commercial farming and fishing industry prior to WWII, to contemporary conservation issues surrounding sand erosion, sea-level rise, and airport pollution.

The goal of “Stories from the Sea” is to create a multi-generational exchange between students and community elders to capture first-hand-accounts of the local coastal area. The student’s research will culminate in a final project (a public presentation either in person or online) that will become part of the Newport Beach Public Library’s (NBPL) local history collection, exist on the NBPLF website, and be made available to our partners’ archives. In addition to the one-on-one interviews, students will learn about the archives at Sherman Library & Gardens, Newport Beach Historical Society, Balboa Museum, Newport Beach Conservancy, Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous People and among others.

Project leaders/Instructors are Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Director of UCI Humanities Center; Meg Linton, CEO NBPLF/Writer/Curator; Kunga Wangmo-Upshaw, NBPLF Director of Programs; Dr. Patricia Pierson, UCI Associate Director of Literary Journalism; Krystal Tribbett, Curator OC Regional History, Research Librarian for OC, Vinayak Chaturvedi, Associate Professor of History and UCI History Department Internship Program, and many others.

This program is organized by UCI Humanities Center and the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation.

This program is funded by a generous grant from the Isidore and Penny Myers Foundation.

This project was made possible, in part, with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.