Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft is pursuing an MA in History at Concordia University under the supervision of Dr. Steven High (History) and Dr. Martha Langford (Art History). Prior to starting his MA, Gabriel was a internationally published journalist, photographer and radio producer in the US and Canada. Gabriel is pursuing a Masters to explore questions of ethics in interviewing, to deepen and expand his understanding of different research practices, to study the ways in which Oral History and Photography practices coalesce, and to produce an Oral History project in collaboration with a community in northern New Mexico.

Project Statement

“Language policy, deindustrialization and Anglophone resilience in Quebec’s Eastern Townships” is an interdisciplinary research study of a rural Anglophone community. Through oral history, archival research and photography, this study seeks to document the experiences and memories of Anglophones who lived through the near-simultaneous effects of Bill 101 and deindustrialization. The Memphrémagog Regional County Municipality, in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec, was once a thriving industrial and Anglophone hub in the province. But since the introduction of Quebec’s landmark language legislation in 1977, Anglophones in the region have become increasingly marginalized by poor access to health services, education and employment. The Stanstead community also suffered the loss of a key factory, Butterfields, just after Bill 101 became law – a closure whose ramifications are still felt almost forty years later. This study seeks to contribute to the global study of deindustrialization by examining a community doubly-impacted by the loss of industry and a decline in community vitality, in part because of language policy. The interdisciplinary approach combining oral history, photography and archival research will record how this Anglophone community understands these dramatic changes, and more generally provide insight into the contemporary experiences of linguistic minority groups. Recent political upheavals in post-industrial societies around the world have demonstrated the importance of understanding communities who feel left behind, and this research aims to do just that.