At long last, the Stories of the Swamp Ward podcast series is almost ready to release. These half-hour windows into our oral history collections will be broadcasting Mondays 4-5 pm on CFRC radio, 101.9, in shows that will also include some chat, music, and background on other aspects of SWIHHP and local history. After each broadcast, that week’s podcast will be posted here and “wherever you get your podcasts” — you will be able to download it and listen at your convenience.
The episodes are:
1: What’s in a Name?
2: Keeping Shop
3: The Inner Harbour Then and Now
4: World War Two in the Swamp Ward
5: Bennett’s: Where Food Buying is Most Satisfactory
6: The Swamp Ward in the Sixties
It’s been quite a ride working on these. We had something like 200 hours of “tape” to work with from the interviews we’ve done. The process was baggy: I listened to all of it and started to tease out themes, and then snippets, and then ordered them and honed them and shaped them — a kind of collage or jigsaw process in which I tried to be both true to the complexity of the material, and also to make it make sense to outside listeners. I’d never made audio docs before. Frankly, I can’t believe how much time it took to make under 3 hours of material! Thanks to two City of Kingston Heritage Grants, I was able to hire Phil Lichti to do the technical end, including adding sound effects and otherwise micromanipulate the recordings. As the recordings were made “in the field,” and the interviews intentionally avoided steering people to particular answers, we encountered various challenges, but Phil has made everything sound intimate and beautiful. All sorts of other people have helped along the way. And just this week we’ve got Sam Allison in to write and perform a little music, the icing on the cake, and we’re taking them for final mixing tomorrow with a pro in Toronto.
As for me, I’m tired, but so gratified. My sincerest hope is that those whose voices appear will feel honoured and illuminated. I also hope that we’ve managed to make these docs so that a person in Sacramento or Prince George might come across them and, never having heard of the Swamp Ward, find something of interest. I kind of think they might!
— Laura Murray