This is a rough video sharing the final performance (mostly the music) by Theatre students in the Right to the City course, a tethered teaching initiative in Pointe Saint-Charles, a postindustrial neighbourhood in Montreal’s south-west.
By Linda Fitzgibbon
When I started my program at Concordia in January 2014, I thought that it would be easy to commute from Ottawa. On stormy winter days there was the added advantage of never even stepping outside into the cold. The hardest part of my commute was getting from my house to the express bus stop at the end of my driveway. One step from the bus to the Via Rail train station and I was able to take advantage of Montreal’s wonderful tunnel and Metro system. However, it was more time consuming and expensive than I had expected, so I began to investigate the possibilities of renting an apartment in Montreal.
By Rebecca De Sanctis
Prior to this class, I had never gone on an audio-walk tour before. As a public history student, this is a somewhat blasphemous statement to make (it’s almost as absurd as saying that you grew up in Montreal and never watched a Habs game). I don’t know why but I had always envisioned audio-walks as being the outside equivalent to walking around with one of those mp3 players that are offered at museums, in which a middle aged woman with a monotone voice lectures you for thirty seconds every time you enter the number of an exhibit. In was only when our class did the Lachine Canal audio-walk in September that I realized the true value of audio-walks.
By Shaghayegh Shirinbab
Among many other things what amazed me most about Point-Saint-Charles was the sense of community. This is something that you may not sense at a first glance, but as soon as you get involved with the community and spend some time in the neighborhood you will get it and you will appreciate it.
By Shaghayegh Shirinbab
I came to Montreal to study about a year ago. During this year I walked in most of the neighborhoods of Montreal, but I had never visited the other side of Cannel Lachine until I started the Working Class Public History workshop with Dr. Steven High in September 2014.
By Dany Guay-Belanger
Being part of the booklet team, and am francophone, I offered myself for translation duty. I had some experience as I had done some freelance translations for a friend. I knew that translation was a complex job, but I had not envisioned how hard this was going to be. My previous experiences had been with a small window installation company and a welding company. The greatest challenge, in these instances, was the jargon used by both professions, especially due to the particularity of French in Quebec — which uses many English words.
By: Ashlie Bienvenu
Something that always struck me about the Point was the abundance of train tracks. As we stood in front of the library on our November 29th launch day, the constant, overpowering sound of trains could be heard. There were even episodes during the class presentation, before the audio walk, where the train was so loud it was nearly impossible to hear them speak. I remember thinking that it was ironic since the trains were such an integral part of the Point St. Charles community. Perhaps they were saluting us for our job well done, since they have become a kind of symbol of the Point.
By Ashlie Bienvenu
I remember first looking at the title of the class after registration, “Working Class Public History,” and not knowing what to think. The title could encompass so many different subjects, time-periods, and places and this made me unsure of what I was getting myself into.
By Sara Breikeutz
Transdisciplinary striving … is a process of dialogue where truth and synthesis emerge out of dialogue, rather than begin with it.
Ananta Kumar Giri1
Giri, an anthropologist by training, proposes that in order to transcend interdisciplinary work as the negotiation of accepted boundaries between academic disciplines, transdisciplinary practice entails an abandonment, or at least a momentary suspension, of disciplinary identities and the adoption of the attitude of a pilgrim or seeker. If we can find the “courage to abandon our disciplines as part of our journey of life”2, he argues, we might be able to harness the transformative potential of academia and move beyond discourses of professionalization that keep disciplines neatly bounded, even in many interdisciplinary endeavours where work is done across disciplines rather than beyond them.
By Jennifer Wicks
In spite of the fact that I had never been a part of an oral history project prior to this one, I have had the chance to develop a few sound based collages and although working with audio files, editing and mixing were not new to me, working with some of the tools we used, was. Although it’s a bit of a side note, I was completely blown away by the fact that the oral history department had developed a software (Stories Matter) where we could upload sound or video recordings of interviews, and code them, the way that I am accustomed to color coding a transcript or text based data set. By tagging interviews with time codes and themes, we were able to really sort through the data as a team, and develop a way to analyze and represent the data in a system that made sense to us, collectively.
By Jennifer Wicks
One of my main reasons for taking this course was the complexity of the project… Including students from numerous departments, studying in a wide range of disciplines – history, geography, art education, art history, fine arts/studio, theatre… (I’m sure I’m missing some, but you get the picture), who are at different stages in their academic careers – Undergrads, Master’s and PhD and Post Doctoral… all working on the same project multi faceted project seemed like a close to impossible task.
By Ivana Mormina
Our final run to the finish line was a big blur of excitement and stress. It hit us all at varying points of time but no one was exempt. Speaking strictly for myself, in my translator shoes, both of my hands were very much on deck the two weeks preceding our launch.
By: Sara Breitkreutz
[C]onflicting interpretations of the past, serving to legitimate a particular understanding of the present, are put to use in a battle over what is to come. What are at issue are competing histories of the present, wielded as arguments over what should be the future.
Doreen Massey, Places and Their Pasts1
One afternoon in mid-October, as I crunched through leaves swept onto on the sidewalk on Charlevoix Street by a crisp autumn breeze, I ran into an old friend, a young man from Bangladesh whose family had moved to Montreal when he was an infant. “What are you doing here?” I asked cheerfully, after we had greeted each other. “I live here!” he replied, and it came back to me. He had mentioned years earlier that he lived somewhere in the southwest, but at the time I had not yet been to Point Saint Charles, and the neighbourhood was merely a fuzzy zone in my mental map of the city comprised of factories and condos and easily confused with Saint Henri and Verdun.
By Pharo Sok
After much debate, our class finally decided on the title of our audiowalk and booklet: “La Pointe: The Other Side of the Tracks.” While the discussions were intense at times (should we use “The City Below the Hill,” or not?), the majority of us agreed that a reference to the train tracks physically dividing Point St. Charles was effective and appropriate.
By Greg Coulter
My French, as an old roommate described hers, is “murde.”
To complicate things further, my “murde” French is Parisian. I can usually understand parts of what (Parisian) French people are saying, but I’m more or less entirely lost on anything Quebecois people say. To illustrate that, I’m less lost with “voulez-vous un sac?” while I’m much more lost with the French interviewees.
By Leah Girardo
Ever since I started visiting montreal well over a decade ago I have always been taken by the Southwest. For years most of my friends have lived in Saint-Henri, the Point and Verdun (and admittedly a few up in the Mile End), and I spent most of my visits in recent years staying in Point-Saint-Charles. Much of my time in Montreal was centred around attending punk and other DIY shows, getting in the street for demos and reconnecting with friends at the annual anarchist bookfair.
By Mitchell Edwards
The Deep Dark Secret of oral history is that nobody spends much time listening to or watching recorded and collected interview documents. There has simply been little serious interest in the primary audio or video interviews that literally define the field and that the method is organized to produce.1
As a recent convert to its practice, I find myself increasingly interested in the methodological processes, dilemmas and opportunities that not only define oral history, but also distinguish it from other forms of studying the past. While the privileging of orality within the field was what initially captured my interest, my attention has since been directed towards how the sensory nature of such sources might retain their important oral and aural dimensions when incorporated into other modalities— projects, publications and productions that employ different methods to present and analyze the past.
Français à suivre. Download as PDF.
Pointe Saint-Charles “Shares the Warmth” as Concordia Students partner with local organizations
On November 29th, three classes from Concordia University will be showcasing work done this semester in Pointe St-Charles. The event is open to the public and features an audio tour of the neighbourhood followed by an exhibition of projects and short performances. The audio walk departs from the Pointe-St-Charles Library (1050 Hibernia) at 1pm and the exhibition is at Share the Warmth (625 Fortune) from 2:30-5:30pm.