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History Lives Here – Guelph Public Library

Written by: Kyra Bates

On 18 November 2021, researchers involved in the Italian-Canadian Narratives Showcase participated to History Lives Here: Italian Heritage Project, a presentation by the Guelph Public Library about the work displayed on the ICNS site. Sharon Findlay, Sandra Parmegiani, Teresa Russo and Kyra Bates introduced various heritage projects to the Guelph community, showcasing the importance of the research in preserving not only Guelph-Italian history, but that of the wider Italian-Canadian community as well.

Screenshot from the History Lives Here: Guelph Italian Heritage Project event page.

In an interview with Guelph Today, Sandra Parmegiani, head of the Italian Studies Program at the University of Guelph and the lead creator of this project, discusses its beginnings as a student led interview project and its development into the creation of this website. Now branching further than the Guelph Italian Heritage Project, the Italian-Canadian Narratives Showcase is working to create a collective of archival and historical information pertaining to the Italian-Canadian community. The project is ongoing and continues to expand with the addition of new narratives and artifacts to be preserved.

Slides from Sharon Findlay’s presentation. Click here to view the whole slideshow.

At the event, Sharon Findlay began the discussion by detailing the Italian Heritage Project and its beginning. In her presentation she gave insight into the process of interviewing Italian-Canadians and the road to creating the online exhibits. More information on the project as well as access to the Omeka site can be found under the Italian Heritage Project, Guelph page.

Slides from Sandra Parmegiani’s presentation. Click here to view the whole slideshow.

Following Sharon Findlay, in her presentation Sandra Parmegiani continued to discuss the development of the project. She explained how, after moving the platforms headquarters from Omeka to the current Campus Press website, researchers were able to expand on the project and the topics they put forth. Parmegiani said that while the main focus continues to be ongoing work on the Guelph-Italian community, support from community members like John Mason, from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Young Canada Works has allowed to greatly expand ICNS’ scope and to facilitate new contributions. The site offers access also to community projects developed outside Guelph, such as El Boletin, the newsletter of the Club Giuliano Dalmato of Toronto, the Archival Research of Italian-Canadian Immigration and Culture, the Angelo Principe’ Italian Canadian Newspaper Collection. These projects facilitate the implementation of best practices for researchers and students and create a network of Italian Heritage across Canadian institution and community hubs. Parmegiani mentioned also Kyra Bates’ ongoing European Studies Master Project at the University of Guelph, which examines the First World War Diary written by Gregorio Ceccato, an Italian Artillery Officer from Asolo, a town located just 60km north of Venice in Italy. The diary was kindly made available by the Ceccato family in Guelph.

Slides from Teresa Russo’s presentation. Click here to view the whole slideshow.

In her presentation, Teresa Russo provided additional insight into ARICIC, the Archival Research of Italian-Canadian Immigration and Culture, founded in 2019 and supported by student-led projects from University College at the University of Toronto, Brock University, and the University of Guelph. Her newest project, Italian Communities in Canada: Heritage, Cultural and Ethnographic Studies, kicked off this fall with students enrolled in her digital humanities course at the University of Guelph conducting ethnographic interviews of members from Italian-Canadian communities. These are now accessible on the site and more projects will be published in 2022.

For more information on the event, please see the Guelph Public Library Event Information Page.