On the Road with the Speakers Bureau
This exhibit charts the work of a Bureau that traveled across Canada to speak out against institutionalization.
The Huronia Survivors Speakers Bureau was the outcome of the SSHRC-funded research project Recounting Huronia. Once established, the Bureau received funding to continue its work from a Strategic Program Investment Fund, created through the class action lawsuit survivors settled with the Ontario provincial government.
In keynote addresses, conference panels, and class lectures across four provinces, the Bureau presented to audiences of 20 to 200. Audience members included students, scholars, service providers, community activists, and self-advocates. Speakers described their time as residents of the Huronia Regional Centre, and their work and lives since.
Posters and photography from the Bureau's tour are featured below.
As Carrieanne Ford articulates in the video excerpt, speakers used Bureau events to challenge institutionalization. They declared that what had they experienced was an injustice that must not happen again to vulnerable populations.
Bureau events enabled speakers to share their truths, to connect with community, and to assert their human worth.
Events were booked in two possible ways. First, the Bureau organized its own events and covered all costs. Second, potential hosts found the Bureau and made booking inquiries through a website. Hosts negotiated costs with Bureau organizers, and covered travel, food, and speaker payment.
Bureau speakers and organizers traveled to events in Ontario, specifically Toronto, Oshawa, and St. Catharines. Teams also traveled out of province, to Winnipeg Manitoba and Montreal Quebec. A speaker delivered a virtual talk to Sackville New Brunswick.
Building the Bureau
Speakers prepared biographies in Recounting Huronia workshops, in collaboration with Bureau organizers. The biographies were edited and uploaded onto the Bureau website. These first drafts (featured below) reflect what speakers think of themselves: what they consider their accomplishments and their strengths. They reflected on what makes their experiences and skills unique, and why sharing their stories was important to them.