Lisa Sherlock, Chief Librarian of Victoria University
Victoria University in the University of Toronto, is currently in the organizing stages of a photo exhibition to celebrate the lives of those who went as missionaries, educators and medical practitioners to Sichuan China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We are calling this exhibition, Vic in China.
We are inspired by the work of Xiang Suzhen and Zhang Yingming of the Old Photos project team who co-ordinated efforts to scan and exhibit so many photos for the exhibit in Chengdu and which also appear in the exhibition catalogue Chengdu My Home.
The exhibition at Vic University, however, will be a more modest one. Due to space concerns and in order to narrow our focus to a manageable one for us, we are limiting the photos we display to those who were graduates of Victoria College or who were affiliated with the college through marriage.
I have contacted a number of families who have provided me with photos. I have two librarians working with me to sort through about 500 photos that we have received so far. If you do have family photos to share that reflect the lives of those who went to China to do missionary work, or to work as medical practitioners or educators, please do contact me. What we are also interested in is the stories of those who went to China, what they experienced while they were there and the cultural implications of being in China during that time.
Our plan is to hold the exhibition in a year’s time, with an opening happening this same weekend. We also hope to have a permanent record in the form of an exhibition web page that will remain archived on the Victoria University Library web site. For that reason, if you are donating photos, we are asking that you sign a loan agreement with us, giving us permission to display your photos, both in the actual exhibit as well as the virtual one. We also want to be sure that we properly attribute photos that we display so the loan agreements assist us with that.
Most people are scanning their own photos and putting them in a Dropbox account and sending them to me via email. This is probably the ideal method to use to contribute your photos and eliminates the need to trust these valuable photos to the mail.
If you are sending photos, it would also be useful to have some biographical information, the stories behind those who went to China, if these narratives are known. We will be able to use this information in the exhibit.
I want to thank Phyllis Donaghy and David Walmsley for inviting me here today and asking me to speak to you about our exhibition. I also want to thank David and Yingming for all the information and support that has done so much to provide us with direction for this project.
I you do have photos that you would like to share in our exhibition please contact me:
October 18, 2014