Standing on Their Shoulders: A Black Community Heritage Project


Sheron Edey (Project Director) in action.

Standing on their Shoulders is a community-based project designed to preserve the heritage of Black English-speakers in Little Burgundy and to create a new generation of griots or cultural interpreters.  The project aims to:

  • Capture the rich Black history of Little Burgundy from community residents and elders.
  • Share and teach Little Burgundy’s Black History so that everyone can celebrate its contributions
  • Identify and interpret the stories, landscape, and heritage of the district
  • Retell the Black history of Little Burgundy

Over the course of the project, 20 youth participants will create inspiring short films of Little Burgundy’s history.  This project cannot succeed without a host of partners and supporters.  CEREV is one of our supporters and we recently took up their offer to run two workshops for our budding griots.

Our first training workshop, facilitated by CEREV’s Director of Technology Lex Milton, was a wonderful experience.  From the beginning he gave the youth opportunity to introduce themselves, to learn about their backgrounds, and to share topic ideas.  He created an environment that allowed them to feel comfortable expressing themselves.  His teaching style was clear and worked well despite the vast age range (14-35) of our participants.


Participants gathered together to brainstorm project ideas.

After introductions, Lex explained the steps of ‘Digital Story-telling’: how to define a subject or theme; research and exploration techniques; and organizing ideas. In terms of technical skills, he explained different types of lighting, how to set up for interviewing, and how to ask good questions. This was more than we could have asked for.

The session ended with each participant having the opportunity to conduct an interview and to work behind and in front of the camera.

Overall, this was a wonderful learning experience. Lex provided the participants with information and techniques that will allow them to feel confident in expressing themselves through film and to continue the journey with us in this historical project. He gave careful, individual attention to all our participants and respected their creativity.  His expertise was invaluable and is greatly appreciated.

Thank you Lex for your time and we look forward to the fall workshop. – Sheron Edey, Project Director


Conducting a practice interview.






Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence