Preserved Stories Blog


Story of M: Updates to an inspiring Mississauga-based storytelling, story making project

The image is from the metro news.ca article highlighted at the post you are now reading. The captions reads: Stuart Keeler, The Story of M's project manager and chief curator. Credit: EDUARDO LIMA / METRO

The image is from the metro news.ca article highlighted at the post you are now reading. The captions reads: Stuart Keeler, The Story of M’s project manager and chief curator. Credit: EDUARDO LIMA / METRO

A previous post is entitled:

190-page Mississauga Heritage Management Strategy outlines framework for Story of Mississauga project

You can read updates regarding this project at #StoryofM on Twitter.

A June 26, 2017 Metronews.ca article is entitled: “‘Mississauga is a Canadian story’: Project aims to capture city’s growing diversity: The city is launching Story of M, a project aimed at collecting personal stories of Mississauga residents, from early Indigenous residents to the latest newcomers.”

A City of Mississauga web page, devoted to the theme at hand, is entitled:

Story of M: Your story can shape our city

Commentary

I have been following the Story of M story for some time. To successfully launch such a project, at a city-wide level, you need to have a strong conceptual infrastructure in place. The 190-page document, referred to above, provides such an infrastructure. I’ve been reading one of the books that the document refers to; among other things, the latter book explores approaches to the branding of Canadian cities, and one chapter addresses the concept of development of a Story of O, namely the Story of Ottawa, in its post-amalgamation days.

I can’t quite imagine the launch of a Story of T, namely a Story of Toronto, within the same conceptual parameters as is evident with regard to Mississauga. That’s because, along with a conceptual infrastructure, such a project requires a requisite culture of civic engagement. As I have outlined in a previous commentary, civic engagement appears alive and well in Mississauga, and appears missing in action in Toronto:

Check out the Lakeshore Connecting Communities upcoming meetings in Mississauga on Sept. 26 and 27, 2017

At a conceptual level, many attempts are made to brand and rebrand cities. Mississauga among other cities has gone through the exercise:

Mississauga: Shaping Our Brand

Cities occasionally put together coffee-table books, extolling the charms of their respective city, and sharing a top-down “story” of the city. Such coffee-table books serve a purpose, whatever it may be, but they do not appear to give rise to a lot of excitement, among everyday residents.

What I like about the Story of M is that this story making project is driven by everyday Mississauga citizens, assuming they are among the category of residents who choose to participate.

For me, as a Toronto resident, it’s very exciting to be keeping in touch, in bits and pieces, with the progress of the Mississauga storytelling project, that is in place. Many theoretical themes, related to the role that storytelling can play, at the municipal level, are at play.

The theoretical aspects – questions such as the launch of such projects, and the presence or absence of genuine civic engagement in a given municipality – are of tremendous interest for me. I have already learned so much, just by observing the steps leading to the launch of this impressive Mississauga project.

In the event you live in Mississauga, and have the opportunity to contribute to the project, whether at face-to-face meetings, and/or online, this is an opportunity well worth pursuing!

 

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