Confluences: A Workshop on Rivers, History and Memory

Scroll this
Event Date: Nov 15 2007 – Nov 16 2007
Venue: Green College, UBC; St. John’s College, UBC
City: Vancouver, BC
Country: Canada
Primary Contact Name: Matthew Evenden
Contact Email:

confluences2Rivers cross and re-cross the boundaries between public history, conservation politics and historical scholarship. While a common subject joins these areas of interest, not enough has been done to foster conversation among different individuals, community groups and institutions. This workshop seeks to open that conversation, by bringing together individuals and groups with sometimes complementary, sometimes contrary interests in rivers and their history. An evening roundtable emphasizing the different ways museums, first nations and the federal government analyze and treat river history, or river heritage will begin the discussion.

The following day two sessions will be held on the connections and disconnections between the public and academic history of rivers in Canada, and rivers as sites of public memory. A final discussion will seek to tie the workshop together and outline directions for future conversations and research. Although most of the participants will be drawn from British Columbia, others will attend from eastern Canada and the United States. We hope to make our conversation relevant beyond the university and the local community. We also hope to engage a range of subject positions: from first nations to conservation groups, from museum curators to scholars.

Mansel, a Halifax-based artist, studied at Fraser Valley College and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. ‘Confluence’ is part of a 2007 exhibit at Ingram Gallery, Toronto, entitled Divining II. In this body of work, Mansel, in her own words, ‘explores the natural and artificial divisions of landscape. Forms such as rivers, fences, and overpasses figure prominently… These seemingly disparate forms share a congruent theme of passages within geography as they cut, weave, and wind across the terrain. ‘Confluence’ depicts a river ‘somewhere in France’; its overlapping colours suggest the mixture of flows, the meander of channels and the way separate streams merge.

View the “The Lost Rivers project”, presented at the conference.


  • Katy Barber, Portland State University
  • Stephen Bocking, Trent University
  • Jennifer Bonnell, University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
  • Stephane Castonguay, University of Quebec at Trois Rivieres
  • Laura Cameron, Queen’s University
  • Gerald Conaty, Glenbow Museum
  • Julie Cruikshank, University of British Columbia
  • Matthew Evenden, University of British Columbia
  • Donald Gibson, Parks Canada
  • Lorne F. Hammond, Royal British Columbia Museum
  • Douglas Harris, University of British Columbia
  • Matthew Hatvany, University of Laval
  • Charles J. Jago, McMaster University
  • William D. Layman, Independent Scholar
  • Albert (Sonny) McHalsie, Sto:lo Research and Resource Management Center

Organized by:

  • Stephane Castonguay, UQTR
  • Matthew Evenden, University of British Columbia
  • Eagle Glassheim

Generous Support Provided by:

  • The Canadian Water History Project/ Projet sur l’histoire de l’eau au Canada
  • the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • UBC’s Nature/History/Society speaker series based at Green College
  • the Departments of Geography, History and the Program in Canadian Studies at UBC
  • Parks Canada

Confluences: A Workshop on Rivers, History and Memory – Program
Confluences: A Workshop on Rivers, History and Memory – Final Report

NiCHE encourages comments and constructive discussion of our articles. We reserve the right to delete comments that fail to meet our guidelines including comments under aliases, or that contain spam, harassment, or attacks on an individual.