Archival Appraisal: Partnering with the Community

Two new partnerships aim to capture, preserve, and disseminate the histories of visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, and Toronto's immigrant construction workers: Home Made Visible (the Regent Park Festival) and the City Builders: An Oral History of Immigrant Construction Workers in Postwar Toronto (Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies).

In these projects, the communities self-select records to represent their histories and CTASC provides archival knowledge and expertise on preservation and access. These records from the community bring a social history approach that democratizes and balances the representation of societal leaders and experts in our repository with the perspective of everyday life.


Home Made Visible

home Made Visible, run by the Regent Park Film Festival, invites the community to donate their home movies. Artworks by Indigenous and Visible minority filmmakers, alongside digitized clips, will tour across Canada to start conversations on how our diverse histories converge on this land and reimagine the terms in which we shape our shared future.

These home movies will also be made available for future research by housing the analogue footage at the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections and uploading the digitized clips to the York Digital Library.

“Our involvement with Home Made Visible aligns with our strategic objectives at York University, especially collaborative community engagement that result in societal benefit. - Joy Kirchner, Dean of Libraries, York University Libraries

Home Made Visible is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded by the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

City Builders: An Oral History of Immigrant Construction Workers in Postwar Toronto

City Builders, launched by the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and principal investigator Gilberto Fernandes, aims to educate the general public about the difficult realities experienced by immigrant labourers in the past and improve our understanding about the lives of construction workers, on whose hands and backs Toronto was built.

The project will film oral history interviews, photograph personal records and articles, and conduct research in Toronto's archives (including CTASC!) to produce digital and public history outputs including forty short videos, a 15-minute documentary, a multimedia exhibition, and a website dedicated to Toronto's construction history.

Few studies have looked at the builders (most of which are from the Italian- and Portuguese-Canadian communities) even though Toronto's urban sprawl and planning has been the focus of many research topics. Future researchers can build upon the project's investigation and collection of history as the forty oral history interviews with will be housed at the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections.

Read more about Home Made Visible in yFile (27 October 2017) and the project's press release, and City Builders in yFile (23 October 2017) and Excalibur (1 November 2017).


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