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Story Curators

Research assistants from the University of Guelph helped to collect the initial stories for this archive. Below are some insights and perspectives from their own experiences documenting stories across rural Ontario.

Whether you are a student, a community member, or PARO is always open to collaborating with Click the button below if you are interested in becoming a story collector!

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Lauren Chang

Story Curator

I'm Lauren Chang, a proud graduate of the anthropology program at the University of Guelph, currently studying towards my MPhil in Anthropocene Studies at the University of Cambridge. Growing up, I spent summers visiting my aunt's farm in Aylmer, and it exposed me to a way of life far different from my suburban upbringing. I am excited to share stories about diverse perspectives in rural Ontario that surprise, delight, and touch your heart.

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Philip Rich

Story Curator

I am a Researcher and Training Manager for The/La Collaborative’s Inquiry Learning Program; Research Assistant for the Deindustrialization and the Politics of Our Time research project. My research interests are related to the history of work and leisure in Canada, heritage, and public history. Originally from Montreal, I have really enjoyed exploring rural Ontario since moving to Guelph. I worked on dairy, beef, and sheep farms in Quebec and Ontario when I was younger, and I’ve spent even more time biking, hiking, and camping in rural areas of Quebec and Ontario. Rural has a fascinating history and it has been a terrific experience to be able to document some of the stories that I’ve come across in my work and travel experiences for PARO.   

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Vanessa Cunningham 

Story Curator

I am a Master of Arts student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics at the University of Guelph. My Master’s research focuses on postsecondary student food insecurity in Canada. More broadly, I am interested in topics related to food, community, health and wellbeing, and human-nature relationships. I come from an urban life in Calgary, Alberta. However, over the years, I have lived in rural communities in British Columbia, Yukon Territory, and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories). Now I live in Guelph, Ontario. Since moving here I have come to deeply appreciate the rural landscape and communities outside of the city. Being a part of the PARO project has expanded my understanding of rural Ontario and been a wonderful opportunity to learn from diverse storytellers; I am grateful to all of them! 

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Barry Marshall

Story Curator

I am a second-year graduate student in the Tri-University History Program. My research interests and focus are related to Rural Ontario history and agricultural history. I grew on a farm in rural Ontario. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from when I was growing up in rural Ontario. All my work experience has been directly involved with agriculture or focused on it in some peripheral capacity. 

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Jessica Lukawiecki

Story Curator

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics. I am also a storyteller with the People's Archive of Rural Ontario and a project manager at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute. My research focuses on culturally significant species and places in Indigenous-led conservation initiatives, with a strong focus on policy analysis and outcomes. In my spare time, I love to explore local farms and great hiking spots in rural Ontario with my partner and dog!

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Tasha Falconer

Story Curator

I am a 3rd year PhD Canidate in the Family Relations and Applied Nutrition department at the University of Guelph. I research and write stories related to sexual health. I am also a sex-positive sex educator and do sports photography.