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Arts and Culture

2021 Historian in Residence

Call for Applications

Application deadline: February 8, 2021

Heritage Calgary and the Calgary Public Library invite applications for the paid position of Historian in Residence at the Central Library in downtown Calgary, Alberta for 2021. 

The Library’s Historian in Residence program is a six-month community engagement residency that supports historians and researchers working in any genre related to Calgary's (Moh'kins'tsis’) social, cultural, and built history. The resident is invited to work remotely, and/or in a designated office space on Level 4 of Central Library in our Calgary’s Story collection. They will engage with the public through programs such as open office hours, interactive/online workshops, school group tours, and lectures. They are encouraged to use the Library’s collection and Heritage Calgary’s Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources during the residency and are invited to curate an exhibit, performance, or screening at the close of their residency.

The Historian in Residence is selected in partnership with Calgary Public Library, and is one of six residencies at the Library that include Author, Historian, Artist, Storyteller, Songwriter, and Composer.


The Library acknowledges there may be restrictions related to COVID-19 and is committed to ensuring a safe experience for all participants. This may require flexibility related to deadlines and timelines (to be decided in consultation between the Historian, Heritage Calgary and the Library) and the use of online tools for meetings, workshops, or programs.

Description of the Position

A Historian is defined by the Calgary Public Library and Heritage Calgary as someone who tells stories about the past, present, and future. A Historian is not defined by their job title or profession, but rather through their work. The idea of what a Historian is, how they work and in what format, has changed in the 21st century. The public is interested in learning and seeing the process of experts in various fields. The Historian in Residence is invited to actively use the Calgary Public Library Collection and the Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources to document, research, and interpret the people, places, and events that have created Calgary’s distinctive character.

The successful candidate has a demonstrated ability to catalyze people and places and an affinity for people. During the residency, they will encourage heritage activities through an active program of personal research and community engagement, in any field of study and any medium, that reveals more about the city’s rich and diverse past.

Should conditions permit, this residency program will be based in a glass-walled studio at Calgary Public Library, which means, while the historian’s practice and privacy is to be respected whether in the studio or in the public space of the library, we do expect the historian to be comfortable and open to engaging with patrons. The Historian is expected to hold office hours where patrons may book appointments to receive research and writing advice.

At the close of the residency, the Historian will curate an exhibition for Calgary’s Story, that can be comprised of two- and/or three-dimensional pieces and digital, film, and/or audio components. Experience working with communities, large groups, especially school and post-secondary groups, and older adults is an asset. Historians who work in areas not currently represented well in the Calgary’s Story collection are desired, such as Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, feminist history, etc. The residency runs for six months, March through August, with the exhibition in September.


The Historian in Residence honorarium is $50.00 per hour to a maximum of 100 hours per residency. This amount includes offsite preparation time and onsite program delivery time, CARFAC exhibition fees, and any other project expenses incurred by the applicant, except for materials specific to community engagement events (within reason).


Nominees must have a body of work that reflects the life of the citizens of Calgary and/or Treaty 7 Nations and respects diversity. Applicants may not have already been in residence at the Library, in any residency program, for two years. Historians may not apply as an individual and be part of an organization or collective applying in the same competition.

If the applicant is an individual historian, the following eligibility criteria apply:

If the applicant is an organization or a collective, the following eligibility criteria apply:

Additionally, the successful applicant must be willing to:

Evaluation of applications

Applicants will be evaluated based on inclusion of the following:

The successful candidate will be selected by a committee of Heritage Calgary and Calgary Public Library representatives, as well as the previous year’s resident. All applicants will be notified once the committee has made its selection, generally in late February. The successful candidate will be notified, but their name will not be announced until the residency has been secured. Please note that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be accepting physical applications or visits. Please submit a DIGITAL APPLICATION ONLY.

Please submit applications to:

Application deadline: February 8, 2021

About the Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources

The Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources (The Inventory) is a list of sites that have been evaluated by Heritage Calgary according to the Council-approved policy. Any property listed on the Inventory merits legal protection as a designated Municipal Historic Resource. Some of the sites on the Inventory are legally protected under the Historical Resources Act, either by The Province as designated Provincial Historic Resources or by The City as Municipal Historic Resource (approved by City Council by Bylaw).

The Historic Resource Evaluation System aligns with the Calgary Heritage Strategy and provincial and federal government initiatives.  According to Council-approved policy, a date of 25 years before the present date can be used to determine a site's eligibility for inclusion on The City of Calgary's Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources.

All sites on the Inventory can be found on the Discover Historic Calgary map and the printed background research files are also available in the Library’s Calgary’s Story collection.

About the Calgary’s Story Collection

Calgary’s Story (which includes the William and Harris Shared History Centre) is housed on the 4th floor of Central Library and encompasses several initiatives designed to make the collection accessible and connected to Calgarians. Calgary’s Story at Calgary Public Library is a historical collection containing materials from all subject areas, which relate to the history and development of Calgary (Moh'kins'tsis) and southern Alberta, including the region known as Rupert’s Land and the Northwest Territories prior to Alberta becoming a province in 1905. Calgary’s Story is not considered an archival or comprehensive local history collection. Although the physical collection is designed for in-library use, aspects of it have been digitized. Calgary’s Story is located next to the Indigenous Language Centre and the Elder’s Guidance Circle, where Elders and knowledge keepers from all Treaty 7 Nations make themselves available for questions and programming. Calgary’s Story is an interactive storytelling environment that highlights the stories, past and present, of our community and provides an opportunity to work with partner organizations to amplify the stories of our members through display, hands-on access to older forms of media, a self-directed digital storytelling environment, public programming, exhibitions and the Historian in Residence program.