In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect when I signed on to present my group’s poster at the synagogue recently.  I was delighted with the opportunity to re-visit my group’s work and be a part of the project again, but it’s a bit nerve wracking to present on a topic you haven’t been engaged with in a year (cue the morning re-read of your research paper!).  But, I was eager to keep in the loop with this ongoing project, and although I have since graduated from UVic, I went anyway.  And I’m glad I did.


Our group poster on marble monuments in the Emanu-el Cemetery from 2015

First, I had the opportunity to see what had changed in the course since its initial run last year.  I became immediately envious at the 2016 student’s opportunity to work in the UVic Archives as well as their exposure to some recently found maps and plans for the cemetery that were designed years ago (I’m a sucker for old maps).  Of course, there was a trade off as our group from 2015 had different opportunities like working with RTI imaging, which was equally awesome (I’m also a sucker for photography).  I was impressed with the current group’s posters that were brought to the synagogue and how some of the research focus has changed since last year.  Whilst many were focused on monument conservation similar to how my group’s was, others had gone into more detail about specific families.  It was neat to see the transition into more case studies within the cemetery.

What really made my participation worthwhile however, was seeing how interested some of the congregation was about the cemetery project.  The members that came to view our posters had some engaging (and sometimes tough!) questions.  It was great to see that the congregation is genuinely interested in the project and how students are helping them honour their heritage.  As someone that doesn’t have strong ties to their own heritage, I have found this to be the most rewarding part of working in the cemetery.  In a way, this project has now come full circle for me, from the field work and research to the presentation to the stakeholders.  Although there are many years and other groups yet to come, the project seems like it is really taking shape, and I look forward to seeing what each year’s class brings.

Special thanks to Erin for asking me to come back to present, as well as my former group members Meaghan and Brittany for letting my take our poster ‘on tour’.