It’s been a wonderful, welcoming couple of months for me here at the Edmonton Heritage Council. Somewhere in the mix of work and personal interests is my passion for storytelling and a deep desire to support others as they explore their own stories. With my background in arts administration, community outreach, communications, ESL education, and hospitality, I’ve found it easy to fit into my role here at EHC as the new Administrative Coordinator.
Born and raised in Edmonton, I’ve been privileged to access many of the institutions, festivals, and parcels of nature that make Edmonton such a spectacular place to live, work, and play. Every time I step back into the river valley, I’m reminded of why, after many years of study in other Canadian cities, my husband and I chose to return to Edmonton to launch our careers. From our home on the south side of the river, we grow a bountiful garden, dip into the ravine on our bikes, plan great escapes to the mountains, and awkwardly mount our canoe onto the roof of the car for more great adventures. Edmonton is where frontier hospitality and tech-savvy artistic flair converge to spectacular effect. Edmonton is a city committed to bolstering entrepreneurship and creative collaboration; it’s a place that demonstrates tenacity and fortitude in the face of challenges that will define my generation. It’s through my own lived experiences in this city that I approach my role with EHC and my desire to help others share their perspectives through the work we do.
As I’ve become fond of telling anyone who will listen, the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre is not the first Edmonton “castle” I’ve worked in. Many years ago, I combined my passions for food and hospitality to work at the Hotel Macdonald. Around the same time, I began volunteering and working for the newly opened Art Gallery of Alberta, a castle of sorts – in this case housing creativity. Most recently, I spent the last three years working at the Winspear Centre in support of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – a palace of acoustic harmony, to be sure. And now I go to work each day in a monument to an imperial past, coming to terms with the tension and discomfort of confronting colonial attitudes and the legacy of residential schools. I am proud to support the Edmonton Heritage Council’s work as it addresses the TRC’s Calls to Action. There is still so much work to do. But I am buoyed knowing that this organization is committed to pursuing a more equitable and respectful way forward.
My favourite stories to discover and share are the ones from my grandparents’ time. Like many people my age, I’m somewhat fixated on the notion that if we could just return to the ways of our ancestors, we’d find a more harmonious equilibrium with the environment and the world around us. Through my education and background in the liberal arts, art history, and communications, I hope to learn from our members as they tell the stories of our city – of families and foes, familiar and unknown, and to share those stories in ways that bring greater understanding of ourselves: where we come from, and where we are going.
I hope that our paths will cross soon, through my work at the EHC and other work in the community. I look forward to helping you connect with the Edmonton Heritage Council through our membership program, our special events and gatherings throughout the year, or by stopping by to visit our office!