Joyful work ahead

Hello Edmonton / amiskwaciwâskahikan!

My name is Chris Chang-Yen Phillips, and I have the pleasure of being the new ECAMP Coordinator here at the Edmonton Heritage Council. In short, I’ll be leading the Edmonton City as Museum Project’s work to give you a platform to share stories about our city’s history and cultural heritage.

In a funny way, my life has run in parallel to ECAMP over the past decade. The ECAMP Podcast launched in 2016 — the same year that I started a different local history podcast called Let’s Find Out, when I was serving as Edmonton’s 4th historian laureate. As I waded through writing my master’s thesis in history at the University of Alberta, I leaned on ECAMP articles more than once to make sense of our city’s past. So it feels like a gift to get to build the next chapter of ECAMP with you and our talented team at the Edmonton Heritage Council.

Over the years, I’ve been fascinated to read ECAMP stories about things like the river lots’ legacies, Judi Singh’s swoony jazz music, and how much Chinatown was changed in just one lifetime. I love that ECAMP has made space for such a vast swirl of stories from so many perspectives. Two things I want to make sure we take forward: seeing our whole city as a place to bump into our heritage, and the joy of hearing many Edmontonians tell those stories and make meaning out of them.

In that spirit, I’m thrilled to announce ECAMP’s theme for the next year: work. The way we work is changing fast these days, and we know that lots of you are looking to the past to try to make sense of it all. What hidden labour has gone into building this place? Into holding on to traditions through centuries of colonialism here? How did previous generations of immigrants find good work when they first arrived? How have Edmontonians organized themselves on picket lines, in volunteer groups, and at home, to build a future?

We have really fun podcast and live event plans, and we’ll be announcing ways you can get involved soon. First up though, we’ll be inviting writers for the next round of articles on the ECAMP website. We want to feature your stories about work in the city, and we want to pay you to write them! Our call for stories will be open from June 13 – July 29, 2024. Please share it widely and consider submitting your own ideas.

History in this place is vast and deep. We’ve got lots of work ahead of us to understand and build on it, to make a place where we can all belong. Let’s get to work!

– Chris Chang-Yen Phillips, ECAMP Coordinator