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The Scarborough Oral History Project (SOHP) builds on and expands existing university-community collaborations among UTSC faculty across disciplines and community organizations in Scarborough and gives researchers at all levels the opportunity to engage directly retelling stories of and from Scarborough. 

The SOHP initiative began in the fall of 2013 with the first offering of a successful interdisciplinary course in community-based research and Oral History – involving faculty and students from City Studies, History and Womens’ and Gender Studies.  A partial description of the pedagogical approaches taken in this course work is available in Quick Hits for teaching with digital humanities. 

In 2014, the UTSC 50th Anniversary Legacy Fund awarded a grant to Stories of UTSC 1964-2014 - a joint collaboration of faculty members in the Departments of Human Geography, Historical and Cultural Studies, and the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Toronto Scarborough. The digital exhibit portion of this project can be visited online. The project intentionally blurred the boundaries and connected different scholarly traditions, and is concerned with questions of memory, identity, and politics, as they relate to UTSC as a place.

The collections in the Scarborough Oral History Project continue to grow with subsequent offerings of the interdisciplinary course-based research, incorporating stories from Scarborough and Stories about UTSC, as well as specialty collections such as the 
Oral History Collection of Ethiopian and Eritrean Migration (OHC-EMM) which honors the founders of this community in the GTA and their stories. 

Supporting Technology

The Oral Histories in these collections are stewarded by the UTSC Library in an Islandora-backed repository powered by the Oral History Solution Pack, which is described in additional detail in a Code4Lib article from 2017. The software allows for the editing and display of timed transcripts for media. The Oral Histories Solution Pack serves the needs of the Scarborough Oral History Project, but also provides a generalized solution to the rest of the scholarly community. By leveraging and participating in Open Source communities, this development effort promises to provide software with greater longevity and continual support than other efforts in this sphere.The next generation of the Oral History Solution Pack will be built on the AblePlayer, and will come with refined support for transcribed audio and video files.


The Scarborough Oral Histories project has hosted, and continues to host, multiple students, who have received co-curricular training in research skills, digital collections development, and the transcription process. In addition to the student researchers represented in the collection, the following team has worked on transcription, description, and coordination of content for the collections:

  • Nancy Lee, (UTSC History Project Technical Coordinator), 2019-2022
  • Edward Dunsworth (UTSC History Project Coordinator), 2018-2019 
  • Evelyn Feldman (DSU Emerging Professional), 2019/20
  • Maherah Sadaf, Summer 2020; fall/winter 2020/21; Summer 2021
  • Irish Bonon, Summer 2021
  • Maria Bacchus, Fall/Winter 2020/21
  • Issra Marie Martin, Summer 2020
  • Naailah Patel, Fall/Winter 2019/20
  • Hsin Yu (Madgen) Liao, Fall/Winter 2019/20
  • Danielle Milankov, Fall/Winter 2019/20
  • Sasha Dhesi (DSU Emerging Professional), Fall/Winter 2021/22
  • Sukhvir Khera (DSU Emerging Professional), Fall/Winter 2021/22
  • Sarah Sooknanan (DSU Emerging Professional), Fall/Winter 2021/22
  • Olivia White (DSU Emerging Professional), Fall/Winter 2021/22

Get Involved

If you are telling, capturing, or stewarding stories with a Scarborough connection, and are interested in having them added to the Scarborough Oral History platform, please contact Christine Berkowitz or

Get Support

The UTSC Library and the Scarborough Oral History Project respect the intellectual property and consent of others. If you are concerned that you have found material in this collection, for which you have not given permission or if you wish to withdraw permission, please contact us at the UTSC Library using the email address or the address on the bottom of our website homepage,  stating the following:

  1. Your contact information (including email address and phone)
  2. Exact URL where you found the material
  3. Details that describe the material (name, specifications, characteristics, etc.)
  4. The reason why you would like content removed or altered, with any pertinent documentation

Upon receipt of your objection, the UTSC Library and the Scarborough Oral History Project  will:

  1. Promptly acknowledge receipt of your statement via email (or other means of communication if you do not have an email account)
  2. We may temporarily remove the material from public view while we assess the validity of your information

Upon completion of our assessment, the UTSC Library and the Scarborough Oral History Project  will take appropriate action and communicate that action to you.