New Directions in Active History: Institutions, Communication and Technologies

Huron University College

London, Ontario

October 2-4, 2015

Conference organizers encourage participants to use the digital program available online and in pdf formats to navigate the conference schedule. A limited number of printed programs will be available at the registration desk. All rooms have a schedule of sessions posted outside the door.

THURSDAY: 1 OCT: Huron History Day: An Active History Pre-Conference for High School and First Year Students

9:00: Welcome (Kingsmill Room)

9:30-10:30: HIST 1802 Public Lecture: A People’s History of Antislavery (Room: W12)

10:30-11:30: HIST 1801 Public Lecture: Who Killed Canadian History? (Room: W12)

11:30-1:00: Lunch with Undergraduate Society (Kingsmill Room)

1:00-2:00: Workshops

2:00-3:00: Keynote Lecture: Christopher Moore: Active History and Confederation (Kingsmill Room)

FRIDAY: 2 OCTOBER: New Directions in Active History: Institutions, Communication and Technologies

8:30-12:00: Rubinoff Room: Active History Editorial Board Meeting:

12:00 - 4:30: Registration

1:00 – 4:00: Concurrent Workshops

Space is limited pre-register at

  1. Introduction to Developing History Websites  (Facilitators: Jim Clifford and Rachel Pennington) (Computer Lab - W1)

Description: This workshop will introduce basic web development for historians interested in starting a blog, group blog or public history website. We will explore the major blogging platforms along with some history specific content management systems (Omeka) and then build custom Wordpress websites. We will also look at some tools to embed interactive history content into our websites, including Timeline.js, Google Charts and basic maps.

  1. Active History in the Popular Press (Facilitators: Alan MacEachern and Jessica Knapp) (Room W6)

Description: In this workshop, Alan MacEachern and Jessica Knapp will work with participants to both craft their writing towards a more public audience while also addressing strategies for submitting proposals or articles to the media. Using Canada’s History as an example, she will identify the different ways articles from Canada’s History magazine are presented on, what is changed from print to the web, and how this work is promoted on social media.

3.   Active History in the Archives (Facilitators: Krista McCracken/ Jay Young) (Room V210)

Description: This workshop will focus on getting history out of the archive and into the hands of the public and key stakeholders.  It will provide participants with information on how to identify outreach goals, develop educational programming, and practical approaches to developing outreach strategies that connect diverse communities to archives and other historical projects.

Participants will learn about engaging the public through diverse avenues, marketing exhibits, outreach and education, publicizing events, and social media.  The session will also include an introduction to establishing community based research projects and community based archival collection development strategies.  

If you have a research project that you want to involve the community in, an archival collection that isn't being accessed, or want to learn more about community based research this is a great place to start.

4.   Active History and the Art of Podcasts (Facilitator: Sean Graham) (Room W103)

Description: Podcasts present a unique opportunity to reach a diverse and engaged audience through an intimate medium. With the recent resurgence in podcasts, perhaps best exemplified by the popularity of Serial, historians can share their knowledge of the past with people who would otherwise not seek out historical material. This workshop will discuss the process of putting together a podcast and provide participants a glimpse into the challenges and benefits of podcasting. The tools of podcasting – from recording equipment to editing software – will be highlighted. The pros and cons of different podcast styles will be examined as well as various strategies to find and expand audiences. In addition, we will talk about some of the lesser known elements of production – research, booking guests, and audio mixing. The workshop will be led by Sean Graham of History Slam.

4:30-6:00: Kingsmill Room

New Directions in Active History: Opening Plenary Roundtable (Chair: Jim Clifford, University of Saskatchewan)

6:00: Dinner/ BBQ

7:30: London Walking Tours

Please note the extra cost of $15.00 for tour and a pint of draft at social event afterwards.

Description: A walking tour to view some of London’s oldest surviving taverns and heritage buildings now operating as bars. Learn about local brewing, bars and other interesting historic trivia. Enjoy a pleasant stroll and an enjoyable social evening.

Description: A walking tour to explore the history and architecture of the heart of downtown London. Hear stories about London’s storefront scandals, downtown mysteries and learn a little about our city’s unique architectural past.


9:00 - 10:30: Concurrent Panels

Room: W106: Engaging Popular Conceptions of History (Chair: Krista McCracken, Algoma University)


Room: W112: Memories of the First World War Roundtable (Chair: Jonathan Vance, University of Western Ontario)

Room: W116: The Future of Public History Programs in Canada (Chair: Dean Oliver, Canadian Museum of History)

10:30 - 11:00: Coffee Break (Hallway)

11:00 - 12:30: Concurrent Panels


Room W106: Government, Public Policy and Active History  (Chair: Hector Mackenzie, DFAIT)  

Room: W112: Collaborative Histories and the Politics of the Past (Chair: Keith Carlson)                 

Room: W116: Innovative Teaching in the High School Classroom (Chair: Jessica Knapp, Canada’s History Society)

12:30 - 2:00: Lunch and Poster Session (Kingsmill Room) - Sponsored by Western University’s Department of History, Public History and First Nations Studies Programs

1. Exhibit - “Drawn to Change: Comics as Active History” (Sean Carleton, Ph.D., Trent University / Graphic History Collective; Julia Smith, Graphic History Collective)


Description: This installation offers one-page poster previews of some of the comics that will be featured in the Graphic History Collective’s forthcoming collection, Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working Class Struggle (Between the Lines Press, 2016).


2. Exhibit - “History Project” (Matthew Hayes, Ph.D., Canadian Studies, Trent University


Description: History Project explores the concept of historical authority and objectivity by playing with the conventions of the presentation of facts. It addresses the questions of how historical facts are produced, by what forms of authority, and how they are spread among publics once they are established - through means traditional or otherwise - as true.


3. “Mapping the Identity of a City: Creating a Digital Map of Intangible Cultural Resources in a Historic City” (Roberta Cauchi-Santuro, Post-Doctoral Fellow, School of Languages and Literatures, University of Guelph)


4. “Archives Now: The Significance of Archives for Learning History in the 21st Century” (Emily Chicorli, M.A.S., University of British Columbia)


Description: With the recent shift in archives from guarded institutions to open and accessible resources, the education community stands to benefit by engaging students in active, critical learning activities. This poster will discuss how records and materials in an archive can be used to facilitate learning about the past in the twenty-first century.


5. “Fans Teaching Fans: Historians, History and North American Fandom” (Matthew Gayford, Ph.D., History, University of Waterloo)


Description: Interest in Japanese history is widespread in certain segments of anime fandom with various means facilitating dialogue between scholars and interested fans: books, lectures, social media, podcasts, etc. With the evolution of these avenues leading to significant changes in the anime fan community, historians can study this dialogue to better understand how to engage with niche community groups.


6. “Community Partnerships & War-Time Narratives: Six Nations and the GWCA”

(Evan Habkirk, Ph.D., History, Western University)


Description: With its establishment in November 2012, the Great War Centenary Association Brantford, Brant County, and Six Nations set its primary goal to educate the public about the role the three communities played during the First World War. This paper presents the group’s largest project: the creation of a multi-level website and the GWCA’s community partnerships in ensuring an ever-changing and dynamic resource.


7. “The Devils are Coming: Portrayals of Japanese Imperialism in East Asian Museums” (Katrina Hannah, M.A., Public History, Western University)


Description: This poster examines the ways in which past and current politics impact and influence the portrayal of history, using case studies from Japan, China, South Korea, and Taiwan as examples.


8. “The DHMaker Bus: Canada's first mobile makerspace and digital humanities classroom” (Ryan Hunt and Beth Compton, The DHMaker Bus)


9. “Lest We Forget: A Digital Spatialization of Great War Memorials in New Brunswick” (Thomas Littlewood, M.A., Public History, Western University)


Description: New Brunswick, as the only bilingual province and divided along religious lines, provides an interesting and telling perspective on the commemoration of war in both Anglo-Canadian and French-Canadian communities in a small geographic space. The goal of this project was to create a web-based map and digital spatialization of all of the war memorials in New Brunswick, providing an analysis on the way a memorial itself can change the way a community remembers the war dead.


10. The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum (Katrina Pasierbak, Public Programmer, The RCR Museum)


11. “What Makes a City Unique: London’s Architectural & Natural Heritage” (Genet Hodder and Sylvia Chodas, Architectural Conservancy Ontario - London Region Branch)


Description: Formed in 1966 in response to the threatened demolition of London’s original financial district on Ridout Street, the London Region Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario aims to promote, preserve and interpret the architectural heritage of London. This poster presents the volunteer-driven projects of the ACO in London and helps provide insight into how grassroots and volunteer organizations can effect change in their heritage communities.

1:30: Room W116: **Film Showing of Ronald Rudin’s “Thomas Widd's Lost Story.”** (22 min.)

2:00 - 3:30: Concurrent Panels

Room: W106: Histories, Memories and Museums (Chair: Amber Lloydlangston, Museum London)


Room: W112: Technology and Engagement (Chair: Devon Elliott, University of Western Ontario)

Room: W116: Storytelling through Film, Graphic Art & Performance (Chair: Alan MacEachern, Western)

3:30 – 4:00: Coffee Break (Hallway)

4:00 – 5:30: Concurrent Panels

Room: W106: Student Learning and Active History (Chair: Craig Heron, York University )


Room W112: History and Heritage in Urban Spaces (Chair: Jennifer Bonnell, York University)        

Grimsby Timescapes App and Digital Encounters with the Past on Main Street”

Room: W116: Counter Narratives of Place and Commemoration Roundtable (Chair: Kaitlin Wainwright, Heritage Toronto)

5:30 - 6:30:  Reception (Kingsmill Room) - Sponsored by The History Education Network

6:30- 9:00: Dinner (Kingsmill Room with dessert in V214)

David Dean, Host 

Arpita Bajpeyi, The Rani of Sirmur: An Encounter with the Colonial Archive

Kayla Carter, For Fried Plantains

Sinead Cox, The Farm Show Show

Allison Smith, Mary Anne Shadd Revisted: Echoes from An Old House

SUNDAY: 4 OCTOBER: All events to be held in the Kingsmill Room

9:00 - 10:30: New Directions for Active History Roundtable (Chair: Krista McCracken, Algoma University)

10:30 – 12:00: Breakout Discussion Groups (Facilitators: Kaleigh Bradley, Beth Robertson, & Daniel Ross)

12:00-12:30: Concluding Remarks and Lunch

The organizing committee and editorial collective would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support:

We would also like to acknowledge the time and energy that the following people have put into planning and organizing this event:

New Directions in Active History was organized by: