Life After IPinCH?

Sarah Carr-Locke

By Brian Egan, Kristen Dobbin, and George Nicholas

With seven years of funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, the IPinCH project has always had — at least in its formal incarnation — a limited lifespan. 


We are now halfway through our final year, and the end of the project is in sight. Although we have been granted a one-year extension by SSHRC, this is a wrap-up year only, to give us time to tie up any loose ends. At this stage, our thoughts have turned to assessing the project. What have we done well? What didn’t work so well? What are the lessons we’ve learned along the way? And, especially, how can we make a difference?

We have also been considering whether IPinCH will continue on in any fashion. What will life be like after IPinCH? What elements of IPinCH should live on? Will there be a sequel? An IPinCH 2? If not, what will be IPinCH’s legacy? These are important questions that we’ve been thinking about. 

One key IPinCH objective has been to nurture and inspire students and emerging scholars, particularly the next generation of community-based researchers, as well as heritage and museum professionals. IPinCH has provided over 15 students with fellowships to help them complete their graduate studies.

During IPinCH’s lifespan, many of these students, as well as our emerging scholar associates, have transitioned successfully into careers in academia, museums, or consulting. To highlight just three…In 2010, Kate Hennessy (IPinCH Associate and member of the A Case of Access CBI team) completed her doctoral research and joined the Simon Fraser University faculty as an Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology. In 2014, Solen Roth (past IPinCH Fellow and Working Group co-chair) completed her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia and joined a private consulting firm in Montreal as their in-house anthropologist. And this year, Sarah Carr-Locke (past IPinCH Fellow and Steering Committee Student Representative) relocated to Yellowknife to take up a position as the Assistant Director of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (an IPinCH partner). These are just a few examples of IPinCHers who, after completing their studies, have taken on new roles where their experiences with IPinCH will inform their work. One way that IPinCH will live on is thus through the future work of the students and emerging scholars affiliated with the project. 

Over the past seven years, the IPinCH “family” has grown considerably. We currently clock in at nearly 140 members, including the core research team, advisors, associates, fellows and staff. In addition to this are the many individuals involved in IPinCH through our partnering organizations and our community-based initiatives. The project has acted as a hub or network through which IPinCHers can connect and collaborate, creating new partnerships and initiatives that will live on beyond IPinCH. It is IPinCHers who bring IPinCH to life. In that sense, the project will live on in spirit as long as the issues continue to be relevant, and those involved consider these topics worthy of their time and energy.

Over the past few months, we’ve also considered how IPinCH’s work will live on after the official project end.  For one thing, we’re working with a team of librarians and digital archivists at Simon Fraser University to transition the IPinCH database, the Knowledge Base, into a new, secure and sustainable format. SFU has pledged its support for maintaining this archive of materials (more on this soon!). In addition, we hope that we will be able to keep the website online indefinitely to serve as the repository for IPinCH’s many great public resources (see resource glossary on page 14 for examples of our materials). 

At our 2011 Midterm Conference, Anishinabe Elder Sydney Martin spoke of the IPinCH project as being alive and of having its own spirit. Our own sense of the project is similar — of a constantly growing and changing creature, full of potential, rich in experience and creativity. If the past few years are any indication, there is strong interest in what we are trying to accomplish, and this bodes very well for the future.

We very much want to hear from all those in our wider community about what they view as the highs and lows of the project, how IPinCH—or aspects of it— should continue, and, if so, in what form. 

Photo: Sarah Carr-Locke, IPinCH Associate, and former IPinCH Fellow, is now the Assistant Director of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, NWT. One of the legacies of the IPinCH project, we hope, is that students and emerging scholars will carry IPinCH values into their careers (photo: courtesy SFU Graduate Studies, used with permission).


Brian Egan is the IPinCH Project Manager. Kristen Dobbin is the IPinCH Communication Specialist. George Nicholas is the IPinCH Project Director. 

This article first appeared in the IPinCH Newsletter, Vol. 6 (Fall 2014).