Hard Histories: Approaching Difficult Topics in Canadian History

The 15th Canada's History Forum

Hosted by Canada’s History Society

Posted February 13, 2023

Four head shots of the guest speakers David A. Robertson, Afua Cooper, James Miles and Anne Marguet.

Thursday, March 2, 2023
2pm – 5pm Eastern time
Live via Zoom

Museums, educators, researchers, and heritage organizations are increasingly seeking ways to address difficult and sensitive historical topics in a respectful and inclusive manner. Topics such as colonialism, genocide, and other forms of injustice and violence can be contested or traumatic and it can be challenging to know how to approach this content appropriately.

How can we initiate respectful and productive conversations about hard histories? How can we acknowledge past injustices against traditionally marginalized communities, while also recognizing the agency and dignity of all individuals involved? How can we empower audiences to confront the ongoing legacies that have resulted from these histories?

The Canada’s History Forum featured presentations from experts in a range of fields that explore best practices for dealing with difficult history in museum exhibitions, public programming, teaching, and research. This event aimed to provide attendees with the knowledge, resources, and confidence needed to approach sensitive historical content in a responsible and effective manner.

This event featured presentations from:

Watch the Recording

Please note that this video is being made available in its raw format and that it captures the presentations in the original language of the speakers. Final versions of the presentations with translations and captions will be released later.

0:00 Welcoming remarks from Carla Peck
2:20 Welcoming remarks from Elder Claudette Commanda
28:50 James Miles, Columbia University
56:20 David Robertson, Author
1:33:50 Anne Marguet, Montreal Holocaust Museum
2:07:30 Afua Cooper, Dalhousie University
2:42:42 Closing remarks

Know a teacher who made a difference?

Nominate them today for the Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching!


But please note: the nomination is just a first step; once nominated, nominees usually finish the application themselves and require a reasonable amount of time to respond to questions and collect supporting documents.


The deadline for this year’s award is April 30, 2023.

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