Partner: Canadian Language Museum
Venue: Starting at New College’s Wilson Hall – map
Project Members: Nikita Johnston, Olivia Smith, and Veronica Stoneman
Canada is home to many languages, with indigenous, immigrant, English, and French voices weaving together to create a uniquely Canadian experience. A Tapestry of Voices: Celebrating Canada’s Languages invites you to explore Canada’s rich linguistic heritage and some of the issues that impact language use, retention, and revitalization.
The intended audience for this informative exhibition is anyone high-school-aged or older, as it is expected to travel primarily to university campuses, community centres, and libraries. That being said, the interactive technology engagement station can be used by children and adults alike.
This exhibition has been designed as a travelling exhibition, meaning that it will be on display in various locations across Canada. The first location will be the University of Calgary, where the exhibition will be shown as part of Congress 2016 of the Humanities and Social Sciences in May/June of 2016. Subsequent venues have yet to be determined. The exhibition will also eventually be on display at the Canadian Language Museum’s new permanent gallery space at Glendon College (York University, Toronto).
The Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto contributed to this exhibition by awarding money from its Exhibition Project Class Fund. Additional support was also provided by: Canada Research Chair in Language Interactions; Department of Language and Cultures, Kwantlen Polytechnic University; Department of Linguistics, University of Toronto; Department of Linguistics, University of Ottawa; CRLCC, Glendon, York University. Special thanks to New College, University of Toronto, for donating their Wilson Lounge for the opening reception space.
Development of the exhibition began in October 2015 after the selection of the curatorial team members. Research on the topic of language in Canada began almost immediately, with Elaine Gold, Chair of the Board of the Canadian Language Museum providing guidance and lists of resources to the curatorial team. In the months that followed, research continued as the general layout of the exhibition was decided upon and the panel text was written and edited. January 2016 marked the beginning of work on the preliminary design and layout of the panels, which were finalized and sent to the printer in March. March 31, 2016 was the opening reception and official unveiling of the completed exhibition. It will be on display at New College, University of Toronto until April 7, 2016 and at the University of Calgary for Congress 2016 of the Humanities and Social Sciences from May 28th to June 3rd.
A Tapestry of Voices: Celebrating Canada’s Languages is presented using seven banner stands with English text on one side and French on the other. A technology station with two Lenovo tablets is also part of the exhibition. Banner stands are the ideal medium for this exhibition due to the fact that it must travel across the country and therefore be light, compact, and easy to setup and takedown. The addition of a technology station to the exhibition adds an interactive element, whereby visitors can actually hear some of the languages which are mentioned in the exhibition text and even begin to learn some words and phrases using language-learning applications.
Marketing was achieved primarily through word-of-mouth and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The opening reception was also marketed to the University of Toronto iSchool faculty, staff, and students using the Master of Museum Studies (MMSt) Exhibition Class poster. The guest speaker for the opening reception event was Gina Valle, an author and diversity trainer who speaks several languages and has received the Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Office of the Governor General for her significant work in promoting diversity in Canada.
The exact number of people who visit A Tapestry of Voices is difficult to quantify since the exhibition will be travelling and set up primarily in locations with unrestricted traffic flow, such as in university lounges and halls. Positive outcomes will be measured instead based on whether there is an increased traffic flow to the Canadian Language Museum website and if personal feedback from visitors is positive. The overall success of the exhibition can also be determined based on how many prospective venues contact the museum regarding hosting the exhibition.
We, the curatorial team, wish to thank everyone who helped make this exhibition come to life. We especially wish to thank Elaine Gold for all her hard work and input throughout the project as well as Matthew Brower and Carmen Victor for supporting us through the Exhibition Project class. Thank you to Caylie Gnyra for her work with graphic design and to Floriane Letourneaux for translating the entire exhibition into French. Thank you also to all of the exhibition sponsors, supporters and consultants. Finally, thank you to all the visitors, past, present, and future, who will go and see the exhibition and experience A Tapestry of Voices: Celebrating Canada’s Languages.