I decided to purse History because of a long standing love for stories about the past, but I never thought my fondness for chatting with people about their lives would turn into a degree. Questions of how we remember, what stories we choose to tell, and how those stories shape our sense of self and the world around us have always fascinated me. I have chosen to explore these interests of mine through oral history.
My research centers on post-World War II Irish Canadian immigrants living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, drawing primarily on oral history interviews. In other words, a major part of my research is drinking tea with lovely people and chatting about their lives and thoughts. My thesis will examine the experience of migration and various ways this group has sought to “be Irish” within the context of a Prairie city (and my home town). I am particularly interested in relationships to space and landscape, as well as the ways in which people connect with and process the past. I also want to explore performance and the doors it opens for us to express emotional ties and transfer knowledge about our sense of history.
Each chapter of my thesis will be accompanied by an online exhibit in order to keep the aurality in oral history and to make my research easily accessible to the public. This will also provide me with the opportunity to be creative in how I present my interviewees’ stories and to build upon the storytelling skills I have learnt in my graduate studies. I am very excited to be working with Staging Our Histories and am looking forward to seeing the performances the participants create for this event!