We envision a project tentatively dubbed The Grandmother Project (TGP). Our idea is to create a digitally mapped, searchable collection of grandmother’s stories – as recorded by their grandchildren. It’s about connecting generations and communities through Canadian stories, and preserving women’s voices in high quality audio. We envision a website full of stories that might otherwise never be told, let alone heard.Stories would be searchable online by region, topic, and storyteller. Imagine hunting for stories from Saskatoon on first love, Vancouver on immigration, Iqaluit on winter, or Thunder Bay on failure.
Storytellers would use their preferred language and stories would be made accessible through English and French translations and transcripts (when necessary). In this way, TGP aims not only to preserve, but also to revitalize Canada’s less widely spoken languages. Designated grandmothers are also welcomed.
Users will determine the website’s content, from story contributors to listeners: well ‘liked’ stories will get the most prominence on the site. Particularly compelling stories will be selected for animation, creating possibilities for community screening events.
Following the implementation of a pilot project within the Surrey School District
(currently being negotiated), TGP will push nationwide. We’ll collaborate with community organizations to host a series of free workshops across Canada, whereby producers will teach basic recording and interviewing skills. These training sessions will help lend the project publicity, promote access, and ensure quality audio and editorial consistency. We’ll collect stories as we go, and establish a network of local TGP facilitators who can help people record stories later via permanent story booths.
Ultimately, we envision The Grandmother Project as an inquiry-based learning tool for innovative educators, a model for inclusive media, and a vibrant historical archive for story-lovers.
Funded by Vancouver, BC (May 2014)