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Conception Harbour, pictured above, is known for producing skilled tradespeople.

 

Yaffle.ca is Memorial's online connecting tools. One of its most significant jobs is to provide a way for people from outside Memorial to ask for research help from the university. With hundreds of community-suggested opportunities to choose from, your next project is just a click away. Here's one...

The opportunity:

You've seen the iconic image: a group of iron workers eating lunch on scaffolding high above New York City. Greg Knott, of the Northeastern Avalon Regional Economic Development Board, had long heard rumours that the men were Newfoundlanders. When the town of Conception Harbour approached the board about help with their development plan, one project they suggested was looking into the area's ironwork history. That's when he found out that at least several of the men in the famous photo are actually from the region. In fact, playwright Mary Ellen Doyle wrote a play, Living the High Life, about local ironworkers. It makes sense. The area is known for the trades – skilled trades represent a higher percentage of the workforce in the region than in any other in the province. Once he dug a little deeper, Mr. Knott realized there is still plenty of local knowledge of both the men in the picture (one person even thought he could name them all) and of the rich history of the trades in the region.

The project:

Mr. Knott believes the history of the trades in the region has the potential to be developed into tourism opportunities, including tourist attractions and maybe a new production of Living the High Life. The basic story is there, he says.
"We're just trying to find those connections to build up the story."
He believes the project would be a perfect fit for a history buff with an interest in Newfoundland and Labrador. The project would involve interviewing people in the region (located within easy driving distance of St. John's) and would be a great chance to hear the sorts of personal stories that don't always get written down. And while the famous photo could be a launching point for the project, Mr. Knott believes there are plenty of other interesting angles to be examined.
"It's a unique part of the province and a unique part of history."
Interested in learning more about this project? Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre, would love to tell you more. Call him at 709-864-2120 or email him at bfurst@mun.ca.

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