Objectives of the Project

The approach of the centenary of UBC’s opening in 1915 has stimulated a group of professors emeriti, current faculty, and staff to explore the University’s rich history primarily from the perspective of those who were part of that history, and to make their stories accessible to the widest possible audience both inside and outside the University.

Unlike earlier histories of UBC, the Legacy Project won’t attempt to provide an overview of the University’s growth and development; instead, its goal is to create an archive of information gleaned largely from the autobiographical memoirs and reminiscences of past and present members of the UBC community, particularly the professors emeriti and the growing number of UBC alumni and long-serving staff members.



Project Elements

The Project comprises four interrelated elements: a collection of oral histories; a collection of written autobiographical narratives; a website to make these (and related) materials easily accessible; and a physical space to facilitate research, displays, and workshops.

.Oral histories: Selected individuals are invited to talk about their experiences as members of the University. The interviewees are chosen by the Legacy Project working group to represent different facets of life at UBC as experienced by alumni, faculty, and staff. The selection also takes account of the importance of gender balance and cultural difference. The interviews are recorded and made available via the Project’s website (see below).

Written autobiographies: Past and present members of the University are invited to share their reminiscences and experiences of life at UBC in written form. The ensuing narratives will be made accessible to all via the Legacies website. Guidelines will be provided with respect to length, format, and content to ensure that these accounts meet the Project’s goal of obtaining first-hand accounts of people and events at UBC. Occasional workshops and other resources on the principles and practice of various forms of life-writing are offered to potential contributors by the UBC Writing Centre.

A website: To bring these materials together and make them easily available, the Project has created an interactive website (http://legacies.alumni.ubc.ca/) that will allow users to comment or add their own reminiscences to the Legacy collection. The website, hosted by alumni UBC, also provides links to useful educational resources on different forms of personal narrative (autobiography, memoir, oral history, reminiscence, etc.), and to the wealth of textual and visual material about UBC that is already online, much of it in the University Archives. Users are invited to contribute by sending us their own reminiscences. More information about submitting materials can be found here.

A physical space: The Legacy Project is now housed in the Old Administration Building; this space will enable us to gather and store the physical materials that will undoubtedly accrue as the Project gathers steam. Once we are well established in our new home, we hope to use the space for displays and for research by historians of UBC and higher education in British Columbia.

Inquiries: hjr@exchange.ubc.ca