Steven High

Recipient of the 2020 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media: The Pierre Berton Award

November 12, 2020

Montreal, Quebec

Steven High is a leading oral and public historian whose research empowers individuals and broadens understanding of Canada’s multi-faceted history.

As a co-founder of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University, Dr. High works collaboratively with the communities that he studies and is a pioneer in digitizing the life stories that he collects.

Much of his work is grounded in the everyday lives of Canadians, connecting individual experiences to bigger narratives in history. As a national leader in oral histories, he has published extensively on the methodology and ethics of this approach.

From 2006 to 2012, Dr. High led a project to collect the life stories and experiences of Montrealers displaced by war, genocide and other human rights violations.

Through radio programming, academic publications, theatrical performances, art installations, educational modules, and museum exhibitions, these stories were further publicised and shared with the public. His monograph, Oral History at the Crossroads: Sharing Life Stories of Survival and Displacement, explores the work of this project and challenges previously held conceptions about how oral histories should be recorded and shared.

Dr. High is committed to broadening our understanding of Canada’s history and to disseminating the voices of ordinary people in multiple formats. He regularly writes for the popular press and explores new digital tools and platforms to open up creative spaces for Canadians to engage with and listen to these histories.

His approach to collaborative research and sharing authority highlights his belief that history is a societal project rather than the job of a select few.