Accepted paper:

Making a new home: dwelling in the Local Culture & Diversity on the Prairies project


Maryna Chernyavska (University of Alberta)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation will examine home as reflected in the archival collection of interviews conducted with Canadian immigrants of British, French, German and Ukrainian ancestry in 2003-2004, which documented everyday life on the Canadian prairies until 1939.

Paper long abstract:

Many Europeans came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century to settle the vast prairies, to make a new home and build a new life. A hundred years later, the Local Culture & Diversity on the Prairies project aimed to document everyday life on the prairies until 1939, as early immigrants remembered it from first hand experiences. In 2003-2004, a team of folklorists and historians conducted interviews with immigrants of British, French, German and Ukrainian ancestry, which resulted in hundreds of hours of audio recordings that are now housed at the Ukrainian Folklore Archives at the University of Alberta. This presentation will examine how and what information about dwelling was collected during this project. I will look at training and instructional materials for fieldworkers, different methods used for interviewing, questionnaires, as well as processing instructions and, finally, at the actual interviews, and try to understand: on one hand, what information about dwellings the research team was interested to collect, and on the other, what was remembered by early immigrants. How respondents remembered a house where they grew up, how it looked and felt to them, types of dwellings first settlers lived in, resemblance to houses in the Old Country, how and when the house would become a home - these are questions that will be explored. I will try to identify patterns and see the narrative about pioneers' home on the Canadian prairies as it is formed by this archival material.

panel Arch03
Dwelling in the cultural archives II: policies and archive practices