Telling the stories of UTSC

text image reading Stories of UTSC

A special endeavor called the Scarborough Oral History Project shares stories of immigrant women, of community elders, of people who’ve led dramatic lives.

And now the project also shares stories—often colourful—of the last 50 years at U of T Scarborough through the eyes of students, faculty, staff and alumni.

These oral history initiatives began in 2013, after three academic colleagues talked about creating an interdisciplinary Nearby Studies program that would look at the community’s reality—not at media portrayals. “Retelling the stories of Scarborough from within,” is how Associate Professor Connie Guberman, Teaching Stream, Women’s and Gender Studies, describes the project.

Groups of students from different academic disciplines worked with community partners to make digital audio recordings and take still photos of participants from all walks of life.

Then, as part of UTSC’s 50th anniversary celebration, the project came to the campus itself. Students in two summer courses held conversations with an array of people. Professors talked about students and students about professors. Cleaners and administrative assistants and people of widely diverse backgrounds all shared their candid recollections.

The result is Stories of UTSC: 1964-2014, a curated online collection that is part of Scarborough Oral History Project’s newly launched digital archive. The summer courses and a related multimedia exhibit at the Meeting Place were supported by a grant from UTSC’s 50th Anniversary Legacy Fund.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can participate too. With a free app linked at, you can take a selfie, record your UTSC story and upload it to the collection.

The digital archive will soon encompass the broad collection of first-hand accounts that students have gathered, and will continue to gather next fall, of the lives of Scarborough people. Other oral history material, collected in many UTSC courses over the years, will also be eligible.

“These are the stories of our Scarborough neighbourhood community, and they shouldn’t be lost,” says Guberman. “That’s the ultimate goal of the project — the development of a searchable, community-accessible, oral history digital archive. Students, scholars, faculty and community members will be able to go in and access the material in many different ways.”