Stories of UTSC: 1964-2014 collects untold and unofficial stories of our campus, recognizing voices that have often been ignored. In the spring of 2015 we mounted a community consultation process to ‘listen’ to what was important.

 

Collecting the Stories

Students in Oral History and Urban Change and Telling Stories: Women’s Oral History were the principal collectors of the stories. There were 52 individuals interviewed, and over 40 hours of stories recorded. Together we observed how the identity of a place is very much bound up with the stories that are told about it. Any attempt to define or describe a place’s identity relies on particular ‘readings’ or interpretations of its history. What is being remembered? Which pasts are articulated in a place’s present?

In the words of one student: “When I looked through the UTSC [official] timeline, I felt like I was learning about a foreign place and I had to remind myself, that was, in fact, my university… I felt proud to be part of an institute that had accomplished so much. Yet I found myself looking for myself in the timeline and couldn’t find it… I realized there was a very specific narrative that was constructed…”

 

Impact

For many students, collecting the Stories of UTSC was a radical learning experience and altered their preconceptions of the issues and inspired an important re-examination of their own experiences. As one student reflected, listening to another student’s story “made me really realize that the spaces I celebrate as spaces of positivity could hold a completely different meaning to someone else. The only way we’d know this is by asking and listening, and to me that validated all the work in the course, because hearing those untold stories is exactly what we’ve done.”  

 

The Stories of UTSC collection

The full audio collection of the Stories of UTSC resides in the Scarborough Oral History Project, a searchable oral history digital archive providing new research and pedagogical opportunities is available to community members and researchers at all levels.

We want visitors to ‘hear’ the stories in the narrator’s own voice, not simply read the transcripts. To ensure that all the stories are fairly represented we designed the Stories collection in two parts: this online exhibit which hosts selected clips from all of the stories, and the full collection archived in the Scarborough Oral History Project.

 

We hope that our selections will inspire you to explore the full stories as told by their narrators.