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Recording Our History: Banff Centre's Oral History Project

By Abigail Sebaly & John Yolkowski Posted on September 25, 2018

In the early 1980s, Peggy Leighton conducted an extensive series of audio interviews for Artists, Builders and Dreamers: 50 Years at the Banff School (1983), a history of the Banff Centre she co-authored with then Banff Centre President David Leighton. In late 2017 and early 2018 we digitized Peggy's historic interviews and made them available online through Alberta on Record.

Expanding upon this idea, the Archives recently decided to conduct a series of new interviews and document the experiences of a new generation of students, faculty, staff, and others who have been part of Banff Centre's rich history. Over the course of 2018, we have recorded an initial dozen interviews, which cover experiences at the Centre from 1962 to today.

These interviews touch on topics such as the formation of the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI), the development of the Mountain Culture department and the Banff  Mountain Film Festival, the history of dance at the Centre, and what it was like to study here.

As this project is ongoing, if you would like to contribute (or just learn more), please email the Archives at 

Below we have two interviews (one with student Marilyn Engle and one with the former head of Inter-Arts Michael Century), which you can view to get a taste of this project.