Hidden Histories: Labour to Lofts! First talk at MixtuRealities Conference!

Siobhan O'Flynn, Hidden Histories Labour to Lofts talk

I was delighted to kick-off MixtuRealities Conference at University of Toronto Mississauga, yesterday, sharing a short history of the Hidden Histories project and details of the just launched, Hidden Histories: Labour to Lofts, 2019.

Key points of insight moving forward are that the questions asked by those working cultural heritage are concerned with issues of access, audience, and sustainability. So questions of creating digital projects that are easily accessible via mobile platforms, that speak to a broader and younger audience of mobile users, and that can be supported by longer-term funding to update and renew, given rapid cycles of OS updates, and platform and device obsolescence.

The Hidden Histories uncovered in Labour to Lofts contribute to Toronto’s intangible cultural heritage by sharing short histories of the impact of key factories in the urban and community development of the city through the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of these buildings are now converted high-end condos, with listing prices far beyond the income of the employees who once worked in these buildings

Intangible cultural heritage, as UNESCO has defined it, is community-based, including living expressions of ” oral traditionsperforming artssocial practices, rituals, festive eventsknowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.”

Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage is distinct from ‘preservation’ as this practice is actively connected by UNESCO to sustainable development. Culture, thus looks forward, as a future-oriented domain of knowledge, to borrow from Arjun Appadurai’s “The Capacity to Aspire.” A cornerstone of this series of projects is to contribute to a more detailed understanding of both the individual histories of buildings and the historical forces that have shaped our city today.

Hidden Histories: #3 will examine a new set of topics via Esri Story Maps, including a look back via historical GIS to the Rivers and Routes that shaped Toronto, and the development of the East Harbour, now the site of Sidewalk Toronto’s Quayside development proposal.

Thank you Slavica Ceperkovic for the photo!

Superior Teaching Award from U of T!

On April 24th, 2019, I was honoured to receive a Sessional Instructor Superior Teaching Award from Dean David Cameron, University of Toronto!

Thank you, Emily Gilbert, Director Canadian Studies Program, and THANK YOU, to the 6 students who wrote letters of support. I am honoured, delighted and humbled!

 

The Space We Hold wins Peabody-Facebook Future of Media Award

The Space We Hold was awarded the Peabody Facebook Future of Media Award, 2017.  I was honoured to be invited to contribute to this project, as the subject of the imprisonment and sexual slavery of the three grandmothers was heartbreaking, challenging, and presciently timely in the release of the documentary and the interactive website, just before the watershed of #metoo .

The Space We Hold is an interactive meditation on and mediation of the NFB documentary, The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung.  The feature documentary and interactive website challenge viewers and visitors with the challenge of listening to the stories of three elderly women who were held by the Japanese as ‘comfort women’ during World War II.

David Oppenheim (NFB Ontario Studio) who co-produced the project with Patricia Lee (Cult Leader), spoke of the challenges of the digital project:

“Tiffany’s feature film followed the incredible personal journeys of these three women, whether they were seeking a formal apology from the Japanese government or summoning the courage to finally share their secret with their families. We wanted to create an interactive documentary experience that engaged people in an act of listening that was unique in online spaces, where the challenges of reconciliation are so visible. And where we can begin to know what it means to listen to testimonies of sexual violence in a digital age.”

You can read more about the project in a Bell Fund case study here.

I am so honoured to have contributed and to be mentioned in the NFB announcement:

“We are so honoured and thrilled to win The #CdnScreenAward for Best Original Interactive Production with our co-producers The National Film Board of Canada.

Congratulations and thank-you to our stellar production team: Spence SKirk Clyne at Art & Science Digital Experience DesignTiffany BMatt Nish-LapidusEvelyne Au-NaviozRoman LifshitzDafydd Hughes#StaceyMayFowlesMarjorie ChanSiobhan O’FlynnMilena Vujanovic, Priam Givord.”

The Space We Hold was also honoured with the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, Best Original Interactive Production 2017.

Text from the Peabody-Facebook Award website:

‘The Peabody Media Center at the University of Georgia has named six winners of this year’s Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Awards for outstanding digital storytelling released in 2017. This year’s winners mark innovative strides in VR storytelling, in mobile books, and in data-journalism, as well as an interactive documentary marked by technological innovation in “witnessing.”’

Heritage Award for Kensington Market: Hidden Histories Students!

Student researchers for Kensington Market: Hidden Histories augmented reality app recognized with Lieutenant Governer’s Youth Achievement Ontario Heritage Award

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Canadian Studies students received a Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Youth Achievement, presented by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (second from right) and Harvey McCue, Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust (far right).(Ian Crysler, courtesy of the Ontario Heritage Trust)

My UoT students received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Youth Achievement from the Ontario Heritage Trust 2017!

I was absolutely delighted & honoured to attend the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award Ceremony at Queen’s Park, Feb. 23, 2017, where students from my Canadian Studies course were given the award by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Ontario Heritage Trust chair Harvey McCue.

The story is now featured on the UoT Faculty of Arts & Science homepage. A few excerpts from Sean Bettam’s article:

“The Kensington Market: Hidden Histories app, which guides users through a dynamic tour of 12 locations in Toronto’s historic Kensington Market and brings to life the layers of stories embedded in the area, was made possible by students in University College’s Digital Tools in a Canadian Context course. A companion online interactive map archives histories of a total of 32 locations.”

“Receiving this award felt like it wasn’t just recognizing us students, but also the sites and locations in Kensington Market featured in our project,” said fourth-year student Arabhi Ratnajothy. “It is a reminder that so much of this city was built by immigrants who engrained themselves and their stories into the paths walked by today’s generations. We move towards the future by remembering the past.”

“Being selected for this award is such a terrific boost and affirmation for each of the students,” said course instructor Siobhan O’Flynn. “Having the opportunity to work on a project, be engaged in original research and contribute to the safeguarding of our city’s intangible cultural heritage as undergraduates is remarkable.”

“Throughout my years in the Canadian Studies program, I was always impressed by the fascinating research projects we were able to take part in with some amazing professors,” said recent graduate Nicole Paroyan. “I am so glad that a project spearheaded by Professor O’Flynn was recognized this way. None of this would have been possible without her.”

Simon Staffans’ Year in Review 2018 is up! Honoured to be included!

I’m honoured to be included again in Simon Staffan’s Year in Now Media 201. 2017 felt like a year of tectonic / techtonic shifts – the US election hack, #metoo, blockchain, and more. And it feels like it’s time for big thinks at a McLuhanesque scale. Glad to be a part of this & looking forward to reading my fellow contributors. You can also download the iBook on iTunes:

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Simon Staffans’ Year in Now Media 2018

 

TMC Resource Kit

I’m showcasing the TMC Resource Kit website, co-created with Anthea Foyer, which we developed to provide How-To design tips and case studies for traditional media producers wanting to jump into digital media, interactive storytelling and transmedia. The site has case studies on groundbreaking & award winning transmedia projects, interviews with leading transmedia and interactive media storytellers, and fantastic production ‘manuals’ shared key producers around the world. This site was a collaborative project with Anthea Foyer, synthesizing & capturing some of our experience and thinking over the past 14 years working in digital media.

Recently, in consulting, I’ve been referring quite a few people who are dipping their toes in the digital waters to TMCResourceKit.com & although it’s a few years old now, the content has absolutely held up. Nice to see our original goal still in play!