The Westglen History Project connected to the Westmount community through its sister project, “Archiving the Present, Documenting the Past.” This project engaged Westmount community members in a collaborative project with both a professional artist (Erika Luckert) and local researcher (Tim Berrett) who worked together with local residents and others in order to build a sense of belonging and to identify the ‘place’ that the present and past has in the community’s history. This endeavour supported the Westglen History Project by contextualizing the school’s history in the larger histories of the Westmount community and the city as a whole. Furthermore, this project served to strengthen connections between the community league and the school and give Westmount community members a sense of shared history. The project involved two main components: Archiving the Present and Documenting the Past. It also included a series of events hosted by Westmount Community league, which shared the heritage and artistic outcomes with a broad cross-section of the community.
Archiving the Present, led by artist Erika Luckert, involved community members in the documentation of Westmount today. This work was developed through free, open workshops that encouraged Westmount community members to represent their neighbourhood through photography and short narrative. Through these artistic mediums, the workshops facilitated new perspectives on the Westmount community, and provided residents with an opportunity to situate their stories, photographs, and experiences within the context of the community as a whole.
Documenting the Past, led by researcher Tim Berrett, delved into Westmount’s long and storied history.The Westmount Community League was founded in 1919, and is one of the oldest in Edmonton. The district was developed originally in the 1910s as a professional neighbourhood catering to young people, and has undergone many changes over the years. This project built upon the existing written history contained Edmonton’s West Side Story: The History of the Original West End of Edmonton from 1870 (Yanish & Lowe, 1991), and provided an opportunity to record and chronicle the more recent history of the development of the Westmount neighbourhood, which has coincided with the re-emergence of Westglen School as a community hub. Westmount has a rich heritage with the city of Edmonton and there are many, many past and current residents who have made a significant difference in the community and the city at large. This project celebrates the contributions of these individuals and assists in their serving as role models for future generations of Westmount residents.
The research and creative work from both portions of this project were presented in archival frames to the Westmount Community League, and will be displayed at the community hall. They were also published on the Westglen History Project blog. The project was also covered by The Edmonton Examiner.