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Spoken Heritage

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In recent years, spoken heritage has grown in prominence as a medium within the wider field of heritage documentation. This is due in part to the explosion of new technologies, including sophisticated digital recording equipment and computer software, that have been developed and that are now both widely available and affordable to those documenting our heritage.
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VOICES FROM QUEBEC was an educational program undertaken in 2008-2009 in which English-speaking students from across Quebec worked hand in hand with writers and local historians to carry out research on their communities. The program, which entailed the recording of oral-history and the crafting of audio documentaries, was developed by Blue Metropolis Foundation in collaboration with QAHN.

The Team
Oral History Consultant: Reenie Marx
Authors: Louise Abbott, Phil Jenkins and Joseph Graham
Broadcast journalist: Mark D. Goldman
Sound editor: John Sellekaers
Project Coordination: Maïté de Hemptinne
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SPOKEN HERITAGE ON-LINE MULTIMEDIA INITIATIVE (SHOMI)
QAHN's "Spoken Heritage On-line Multimedia Initiative" will preserve and disseminate oral histories from Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

Existing oral history collections in English-speaking communities will be preserved through digitization and new oral histories will be collected. An on-line database of these collections will be launched in 2011.

Throughout the project's duration, participating museums and historical societies will incorporate their digitized oral history collections into multimedia heritage exhibits. Currently, exhibitions at Heritage New Carlisle and the Missisquoi Museum are open for visitation. Upcoming exhibitors include the Greenwood Centre for Living History and the Alfie Roberts Institute.

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PODCASTS (Voices from Quebec):

  • Naalak's Journey

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    Students at Arsaniq School in Kangiqsujuaq meet with Naalak, an Inuit elder. Together they explore Naalak’s early life, his birth in an igloo and his community's transition from a nomadic hunting-based existence to life in a permanent settlement. They also interview Naalak’s son Lukasie and one of their own classmates, Attasi, who is Naalak’s great-grandson. Their interviews touch on memories of ancient traditions, such as sled-dog travel and contrast them with aspects of contemporary Inuit community life, boasting most of the conveniences southerners take for granted. Author: Joseph Graham. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Music and Sound Effects: Arsaniq School students.

    Sayard Chartrand, teacher (Arsaniq School, Kangiqsujuaq)
  • Charlie Wilson's Secret

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    Do you really know your neighbours? The people of Hudson, a well-settled enclave and ferry point on the lower Ottawa River, thought they knew Charlie Wilson, the Englishman with the nice family who arrived in the mid-1960s. But the events of just one day changed all that. Two generations later, the students of Hudson’s Westwood Senior High, the same school the Wilson children attended, talked to their neighbours to learn the true story of the man who came from away, and then was taken away, and what he left behind. Author: Phil Jenkins. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Licensed Music: Southern Country, Street Patrol (4), Carter's Corner, Espionage (Audio Network).

    James Roy, teacher (Westwood Senior High School, Hudson)
  • Hard times

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    Today we are in the midst of the worst economic recession in many decades. Millions of people throughout the world have lost their jobs and their homes. Many are resorting to violence or mass protests. When hard times come, what skills, attitudes and values most enable a person to triumph over their difficulties? This was the question we posed to three Quebec seniors who had lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Their surprising and inspiring answers helped us understand how one can succeed regardless of the challenges one faces in life. Author: Phil Jenkins. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Licensed Music: City Drama, Night Streets, Misgivings, Walter's Theme (2) (Audio Network).

    Aurora D'Anna, teacher (Laurentian Regional High School)
  • Character influences

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    Students answer the question, "What life experiences make you who you are?" by reading the novels, "Cut" by Patricia McCormick, "Perfect" by Natasha Friend, "A Child Called It" by David Pelzer and "Touching Spirit Bear" by Ben Mikaelsen. The books tell of life experiences that influence fictional characters' choices and decisions. Afterward, students interview real people about their own experiences, such as war, divorce and illness, and reflect on how these experiences have made them who they are. Author: Joseph Graham. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Licensed Music: Justin Bianco - The Light (Part 1) (Magnatune).

    Shelley McDonagh, teacher (Howard S. Billings Regional High School)
  • Company Town

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    Students explore the historical origins of Baie Comeau and the role of the Ontario Paper Company in its development. They learn how a single company influenced every aspect of community life in ways that are unimaginable today. Interviews with people who lived through that long-gone era share funny anecdotes about the world of work and community life that people value and still look back upon with great fondness. Students learn that hundreds of stories from this unique town on Quebec's North Shore will soon disappear if youth and educators do not engage seniors in recording their oral history. Author: Louise Abbott. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Licensed Music: Endless Road, Seclusion, Uplift (Audio Network).

    Stephen Kohner, teacher (Baie Comeau High School)
  • School revisited

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    Something magical happens when people are asked to revisit their school days: Images weave a surrounding, voices create a mood, and nostalgia paints an untouched haven in a graduate’s mind. A collective consciousness binds graduates to their predecessors in solidarity. After all, each student goes through the drudging reality of classes seasoned by at least one remarkable teacher. Yet each decade provides its flavour and flare, and each gain in progress carries a loss, and each loss carries forth a new beginning. The woods surrounding the school give way to apartment buildings, and sounds of dead leaves under students’ footsteps give way to the sounds of vibrating phones in their pockets. And Laval Liberty is reborn and revisited. Author: Phil Jenkins. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Licensed Music: Remember, T-Bird Roller, Power Boat, Yuppie Groove (Audio Network); Jade Leary - Agnes and the Shadowlamb (Magnatune).

    Aline Gosdanian, teacher (Laval Liberty High School)
  • Sealing days

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    When Quebecers from the Lower North Shore think of their past, they think of the seal fishery. The town of La Tabatière, population 600, was built upon this industry. While the fishery is long gone, the fishermen remain and with them their stories of a special way of life. Students talk with three of them: Ivan Smith, Leonard Robertson and Russell Robertson. Ivy Robertson, the wife of a seal fisherman, also shares her memories of the past. Author: Louise Abbott. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Licensed Music: The Big Sky (3) (Audio Network). Students: Kyle Buffitt, Megan Robertson, Jake Green-Robertson, Tyler Jones, and Alex Bateman.

    Lana Rowsell, teacher (Mecatina School, La Tabatière)
  • Daniella's tale

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    Beurling Academy is named for Verdun native George Frederick "Buzz" Beurling who distinguished himself as a fighter pilot during World War II. The students of Beurling Academy interview Daniella, a Polish immigrant whose adolescent experiences include the terrors of the German invasion of Poland, work in a German factory and, finally, the Allied liberation. Meeting her Lithuanian husband after the war, they began their married life in Belgium, but, unhappy with her husband’s work options, she secretly signed them up to come to Canada. Author: Joseph Graham. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Licensed Music: Enchantment (2), Passage of Time, Arachnophobia, Cumulo-Nimbus, Reminiscence (Audio Network).

    Isabelle Alarie, teacher ((Beurling Academy, Verdun))
  • The Rescue Squad

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    Meet the firefighters of the Hudson Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and hear their tales of courage, bravery and brotherhood. Take a walk in their shoes as they explain how they recover from tragedies including the loss of a beloved comrade. Hear of their devastating memories as a few volunteers think back to their contribution during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Learn how these heroes put their personal lives on hold to better the community and create a safe living environment for all. Author: Phil Jenkins. Broadcast Journalist: Mark D. Goldman. Sound Editor: John Sellekaers. Licensed Music: Darkness, Rat Run, Lonely Missouri, Battle Lines (Audio Network).

    Linda Sanders, teacher (Westwood Senior High School, Hudson)