Arts and Culture

Historian in Residence 2024

Call for 2024 Historian in Residence

Heritage Calgary and Calgary Public Library invite applications for the paid position of Historian in Residence at Central Library in downtown Calgary, Alberta for 2024.  The 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 the 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 Calgary’s Story 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 between Heritage Calgary and Calgary Public Library, and is one of six residencies at the Library: Author, Historian, Artist (Newcomer, Indigenous, and Children’s Illustrator), Storyteller, Creative, and Musical Artist.  

About the Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources 

The Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources (The Inventory) is a database of sites that have been evaluated by Heritage Calgary according to the Council-approved policy. Any property listed on the Inventory could merit 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).  

All sites on the Inventory can be found on the Inventory 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 Williams & Harris Shared History Centre) is housed on Level 4 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 Languages Resource Centre and the Children’s Lodge, 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.

Description of the Position 

A Historian is defined by 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 Calgary Public Library’s 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. 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. Experience working with communities, large groups, especially school and post-secondary groups, and older adults is an asset.  

At the close of the residency, the Historian will curate a final program or exhibition for Calgary’s Story, that can be comprised of two- and / or three-dimensional pieces and digital, film, and / or audio components. The residency runs for six months, April – September, with a final program / exhibition in September.  

At the close of the residency, the Historian will curate a final program or exhibition for Calgary’s Story, that can be comprised of two and/or three-dimensional pieces and digital, film and/or audio components. The residency runs for six months, April-September, with a final program/exhibition in September.  

Historians who work in areas not currently represented well in the Calgary’s Story collection are encouraged, such as Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, feminist history etc. The work must be consistent with the principle of respect for the dignity and worth of all people. Because of the public nature of the studio space and the diversity of patrons of all ages and cultures at the Library, the work must be respectful and suitable for family audiences.  


The Historian in Residence honorarium is $50.00 per hour to a maximum of 120 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).


Applicants must have a body of work that reflects the life of the citizens of Calgary and/or Treaty 7 Nations and respects diversity. Applicants must not have already been in residence at the Library, in any residency program, for two years. Historians may not apply as both 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: 

  • Must not be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program. 
  • Must be 18 years of age or older. 

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

  • A collective is defined as two or more historians working together under a group name, either on a single project (ad hoc) or on an ongoing basis. For collectives of two historians, both must not be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and be 18 years of age or older. For collectives of more than two historians, most members must not be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and be 18 years of age or older. 

Additionally, the successful applicant must be willing to: 

  • Work collaboratively with Heritage Calgary staff, Library staff, and other residents (author and/or artist), if applicable. 
  • In every case, Heritage Calgary, Calgary Public Library, and the Historian or a Historian group's representative will sign a contract which will detail the rights and responsibilities of each party.  
  • Successfully meet the criteria of their residency under the budget, residency schedule (co-developed with Library and Heritage Calgary) and timelines set out in their contract. 
  • The Historian should feel comfortable creating programming to contextualize their work and ideas for the public, with a minimum 6 community engagement events over the duration of the residency (these can be virtual). At least one engagement event must occur during Historic Calgary Week. Examples include a virtual lecture or workshop, a walking tour, a film screening and talk, a performance, a demonstration, a conversation circle, hosting a book/article club etc. 
  • Open office hours where the public are invited to drop-in and ask questions or observe. 
  • Individual consultations regarding research, writing, and manuscript review in 60-minute time slots pre-booked by the Library, based on patron requests. 
  • Daytime, weekday availability is preferred to engage with school groups. 
  • Be available for press events / media interviews and open to discussing their work with Library patrons when engaged (within reason). 
  • Participate in projects such as interviews or photo stories 
  • Historians are encouraged to make their creative/research process visible in the studio space (if applicable), so that patrons can look in through the windows when the studio doors are closed. 
  • Document and share their residency with the Library, Heritage Calgary and the public via social media. Active use of their own professional social media channels is preferable, but not required (ie: written accounts, photographs, blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Provide a copy of their publication for the Library’s collection, if applicable.  
  • Provide a short bio (50 words or less), a photograph of themselves or organization logo in high resolution .jpg or .png format, suitable for print reproduction and a short description of the historian’s work (150 words or less). This information will also be used to create signage, web page updates, and to introduce the historian at community engagement events, as well as for additional publicity opportunities.  
  • Provide a booklist for the Library’s website on a topic related to their practice and research. 
  • Write at least three guest blog posts for Heritage Calgary and/or Calgary Public Library (at the start of the residency by way of public introduction, mid-way / in progress, and / or concluding). 
  • Showcase their work at the close of their residency. Visual or sound exhibitions may be displayed for a one- to three-month period. 
  • Sit on the Selection Committee to choose the next year’s Historian in Residence. 

Evaluation of Applications 

Applicants will be evaluated based on inclusion of the following: 

1. Historian Practice narrative (500 words or fewer): 

  • Describe your anticipated research, documentary and / or interpretive focus for the position’s term and a description of the form/s the work might take in the context of a final exhibition. Exhibitions may be 2D or 3D and can include digital components. Sound is limited. 
  • Describe possible public programming, collaborations with the public and / or other methods of engaging the public. Ideally this can be executed with low budget, limited materials, and minimal staff support. 
  • Describe how your practice is particularly suited to the values of inclusion, curiosity, and / or collaboration, and is respectful and suitable for family audiences. 

2. Historian statement/bio (250 words or fewer) 

  • Resume or CV (PDF) with demonstrated experience in public engagement, ideally with children, and examples of collaborations, awards, publications, scholarships, education, work experience, exhibitions, or grants. 

3. List of possible technical needs (PDF) during the residency i.e.: projector and screen.

4. Support materials (optional). Attach any combination of work samples to sufficiently support your proposal. If uploading files, please include historians last name in the file name. 

5. Up to 5 jpeg images (no larger than 2MB each)

6. Documents in .pdf format 

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. The successful candidate will be notified, but their name will not be announced until the residency has been secured. Please note that we will not accept physical applications or visits. We accept digital applications only. 

Please attach your documents and submit your application via email to  

Application deadline: Tuesday, February 27, 2024