“in SANITY”, The Story Behind the Wall @ Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

Workman Arts Presents:
“in SANITY”, The Story Behind the Wall
@ Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Saturday, October 3rd 2009 from 7pm – 7am
@ the Workman Theatre, CAMH, 1001 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON M6J 1H4

The Story Behind the Wall is a mixed-media and cross-disciplinary art-making project taken on by artists of the Workman Arts Project of Ontario.  Six artists chose six former patients from the Toronto Hospital for the Insane as depicted in the book Remembrance of Patients Past – Patient life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940 by Geoffrey Reaume. Their goal was to create figurative sculptures to creatively and expressively tell the stories of these individual patients.

Geoffrey Reaume’s careful research though the Archives of Ontario was an attempt to understand the patients as people first rather than a diagnostic label.  Working from Geoffrey’s place of respect, the six artists from the Workman Arts Project chose six patients from his book and further investigated these individuals by relating to them as people, artists, and, as people who have experience with mental health as well as the confines of the Psychiatric System and the prejudice of society.

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Graduate Student Workshop: Publishing for a Wide Audience (and Making some Extra Cash)

Monday October 19, 2009
London, ON
Email: acrymbl@uwo.ca

Fifty thousand screaming readers rush the newsstand to get a copy of your latest
research.  Okay, maybe they’re not screaming, but the numbers probably aren’t
that far off.  While peer reviewed journals may make the academic world go
round, it’s through magazines and newspapers that your work can make its way
into homes across the country – and you might be surprised to find out how
interested Canadians are in what you do.  Did we mention that you also get
paid, and the amount of work is probably less than you spent on your first
undergrad paper?
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History on the Grand

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The City of Cambridge Archives Board invites you to join them on October 17, 2009 for History on the Grand. The one-day local history symposium will take place from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, 7 Melville Street South in Downtown Cambridge Ontario.We invite members of the academic community, historical and heritage groups and the general public who are interested in the history and heritage of the city and the surrounding area to explore some of the many issues arising from the study of local history and from efforts on behalf of historical preservation and the conservation of our built and natural heritage.
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Understanding New Brunswick’s present by knowing about its past is the theme of a two-day bilingual conference on public policy and labour history to be held 1-2 September 2009 at the Wu Centre on UNB’s Fredericton campus.

The conference, Informing Public Policy:  Socio-economic and Historical Perspectives on Labour in New Brunswick, brings together researchers and community leaders from all parts of the province and also features keynote speakers from Laval, Harvard and Concordia universities.
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Humphries on the Lessons of the 1918 Pandemic

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In today’s Globe and Mail, an insightful article from Mark Humphries that draws on the lessons of the 1918 Influenza to provide advice on how to deal with the contemporary H1N1 (‘swine flu’) pandemic fear. The link is here. It’s certainly worth reading and thinking about, both as a great way to see active history in motion but also because it deals with a very pressing issue.

In my opinion, this is a wonderful example of history being marshaled to provide policy prescriptions.

Database Form

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I’ve added a database form for people to fill out if they would like to support this project. If you were at our lunch meeting at the CHA you filled out a paper copy of this form already.

We are in the process of creating a database of Active Historians. When completed members of the media and public policy researchers will be able to contact us to find experts on a particular field of history. If you are a historian who is interested in joining this network please fill out the form below or contact info@activehistory.ca


CHA Annual Meeting – Presentation

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The first annual meeting of the Active History committee was held at Carleton University on 27 May 2009, part of the Canadian Historical Association annual meeting. A fruitful discussion was had, revolving around our constitution (which was passed and is available upon request) as well about the general mandate of both the committee and the website. It has helped us refine our thinking – some of which has been incorporated in our recent CFP posted below.

For those of you who could not attend the presentation, the PowerPoint presentation is attached to this post. If you have any questions, as always, please contact us: info (at) activehistory.ca

activehistory-presentation (file is 2.1MB)


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The ActiveHistory.ca committee is pleased to announce that we are actively soliciting papers in all areas of historical inquiry, including but not limited to several specific targeted areas. We are looking for short papers on important historical topics that might be of interest to policy makers, the media or the general public. Papers (approximately 2,000 – 4,000 words in length) should engage critical issues facing Canadian society, and must be written for a general audience.

Several issues have emerged in the public eye that may benefit from historical analysis; additionally, we have raised some specific questions. Here are some suggestions, although we welcome papers on any time period or topic:

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First Paper

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We have posted our first paper in the Education sub-section of the Papers page.  Paul Axelrod and Academic Matters: The Journal of Higher Education were kind enough to allow us to link a paper on this site.  Axelrod’s short essay is a clear demonstration of the contribution historians can make to current issues.

Paul Axelrod, Universities and the Great Depression: Then and Now?

If you would like to submit a paper of your own please take a look at our editorial guidelines and contact jimclifford (at) yorku.ca.

Active History Lunch at the Canadian Historical Association Meeting

We are happy to announce that we will be hosting a Business lunch meeting at the CHA meeting this May in Ottawa. During this meeting we will be promoting Activehistory.ca and founding an Active History committee affiliated with the CHA. If you are interested in this project please attend our meeting and our Round Table discussion the following morning.

We define active history variously as history that listens and is responsive; history that will make a tangible difference in people’s lives; history that makes an intervention and is transformative to both practitioners and communities. We seek a practice of history that emphasizes collegiality, builds community among active historians and other members of communities, and recognizes the public responsibilities of the historian.

Please contact Thomas Peace for more information: tpeace@yorku.ca