Based on the experiences of the Montreal Life Stories Project (MLS), Professor Steven High from the Concordia Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) will lecture on what research collaboration means and how collaboration with civil society can be used to create new research on memory and migration, urban change, urban identity and social sustainability as well as the relationships between story and history.

More about the MLS

MLS was planned and implemented as a collaboration between COHDS and organizations for diasporic groups in Montreal. In the MLS, participants shared, analyzed and found ways to present their life stories. Each participant was trained to be an interviewer, and all participants were also interviewed. MLS was thus dedicated to history as an activity rather than an academic discipline, while at the same time exploring history as a social form of knowledge. MLS was governed by a democratically elected steering committee and organized by working groups (both those based on cultural or geographical origin and those working on specific themes). The activities focused on learning from each other and learning together. This led to new research on experiences of large-scale violence, personal and cultural significance of migration and communication of memories. At the same time, MLS generated dialogic work on memory and identity, not only at the individual level but also within and between the various participating groups. Together, this both highlighted and contributed to the development of Montreal as an identity and shared domicile.

More about Steven High

Steven High is a historian with a strong interest in cross-border working class studies, migration, community engaging research, and ethics and methodology for oral and public history. His research has touched on deindustrialization and the post-industrial transformation of North American cities. Within MLS, High was involved in producing 500 life stories translated as digital stories, radio programs, audio walks, art installations, a museum exhibition, educational material and a number of theatrical performances. He co-edited Remembering Mass-Violence (UTP, 2013), edited Beyond Testimony and Trauma (UBC, 2015) and authored Oral History at the Crossroads (UBC, 2014). He has also co-authored Going Public: The Art of Participatory Practice and is co-editor of an upcoming Routledge Handbook on Place and Memory.

The lecture is an open part of the Sharing Authority: Research as Sustained Dialogue workshop organized by the Institute for Studies in Malmö's History (IMH) and the Museum of Movements. With this workshop we will start to recreate and adapt MLS together with civil society organizations in Malmö.