FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please feel free to explore our FAQ section or contact us if you have further questions.
I. About The Family Camera Network project
1.1 What is The Family Camera Network?
The Family Camera Network is a three-year project (2016-2019) that brings together over 25 researchers and 6 cultural and educational institutions to conduct a multi-partner scholarly study of family photographs. We will study them as a vital building block for understanding self, family, community, and nation. An important part of this project is creating a public archive that will collect and preserve family photographs and their stories for future generations at several established Canadian cultural institutions. This archive will provide source material for communities, teachers, historians, and scholars to write new histories of Canada. The Family Camera Network will also work with a number of partners to produce scholarly initiatives and public programs that explore family photographs.
1.2 Who is involved in The Family Camera Network?
The project has a Steering Committee and three teams: a Collecting Team, a Digital Archive Team, and an Exhibition and Outreach Team. The Family Camera Network also brings together six Partners, including: Western University, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Ryerson University, and Yale University. For more information about each partner institution and its role in The Family Camera Network, please visit our Partners page.
1.3 What are The Family Camera Network archives?
The Family Camera Network is a research collaboration that will collect and preserve family photographs and their stories in the permanent collections of established Canadian cultural institutions. From Summer 2016 onwards, a family photography archive will be created at The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). From Summer 2017 onwards, we will also create an archive at The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), offering LGBTQ+ participants another venue to archive their family photographs and stories. These archives will preserve family history for future generations, as well as serve as source material for teachers, historians, and scholars to write new histories of photography, family, and Canada. The ROM and the CLGA will preserve two types of archives: (1) a material archive, consisting of original images and videotaped interviews; and (2) a digital archive (an online version that will be accessible to the public and to researchers). No images or stories will be posted online without consent. If you are not comfortable sharing your photographs and stories in a digital archive, you may still participate in this project. Please be sure to inform us of your wishes.
1.4 What do The Family Camera Network archives do?
The archives will also allow researchers participating in The Family Camera Network to explore the role of domestic photographs in shaping diverse concepts of family and representing different experiences of diaspora—that is, experiences of dislocation, migration, and settlement at different moments in Canadian history. For this project, we are inviting Canadians to participate in the project by donating family photographs and participating in interviews about the photographs. If participants agree, photographs and oral histories collected in the material archive may be used in an exhibition and/or in scholarly publications. The archives will also preserve family photos and their histories for future generations, hopefully providing source material for new histories of photography, family, and Canada.
1.5 How does this project define "family"?
You tell us! In Canada, the definition of family has changed substantially over the years. Canadian families are formed in diverse ways, which extend far beyond mainstream ideas of a nuclear family. Families are created through adoption, marriage (whether heterosexual or same-sex), friendship, or numerous other arrangements. Through this project, we hope to explore the many ways that Canadians experience “family” and the role that photographs may play.
1.6 What are family photographs?
Although we often assume that family photographs are posed portraits and casual snapshots, kept in albums within a home, any genre of image can be meaningful to a family and can be used in multiple ways. We’re interested in hearing what you consider to be a family photograph—and what is not. We developed this project because we’re interested in the rich relationships that individuals, families, and communities have with photography, and how they define “family photographs” in different ways. In short, we invite you to share any significant photographs, images, or ephemera that occupy your domestic space and to tell us what role these objects play in your family.
1.7 Why are my family photographs important to the members of The Family Camera Network?
The researchers in the project are scholars of photography and diaspora studies. We believe that family photos—and the stories about them—offer important insights to our understandings of self, family, community, and nation. By developing this project, members of The Family Camera Network hope to write new histories of Canada and to make important contributions to the study of photographic theory, oral history, and diaspora studies. We also hope that this project will help us to better understand the genre of family photography.
1.8 Where will my stories and photographs be preserved and archived?
From Summer 2016 onwards, we are collecting stories and family photographs for preservation in The Royal Ontario Museum’s (ROM’s) collection, Canada’s museum of world culture and natural history. From Summer 2017 onwards, we will also collect stories and family photographs for preservation in The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA). The CLGA’s mandate is to acquire, preserve, organize, and give public access to information and materials in any medium, by and about LGBTQ+ people, primarily produced in or concerning Canada. Please let us know which institution you would like your materials to be preserved and archived.
1.9 Why is The Family Camera Network project important?
We believe that this project is important for several reasons. First, even though family photography is one of the most popular genres of photography, it is also one of the least understood. This project will help us to broaden our understanding of the term, “family,” and to discover what constitutes “family photography.” Second, many of the family photographs that exist in mainstream archives are preserved in the form of “orphaned images” – images that lack any contextualizing information. Our project is unique because it will connect images with oral histories. Together, they will provide source material for new kinds of photo history. Finally, they will also be preserved for future generations of teachers, historians, and scholars who are interested in writing new histories of Canada.
1.10 What is the duration of The Family Camera Network project?
The Family Camera Network is a three-year research project, culminating in 2019. During this time, we are collecting stories and photographs into the collections of two establish Canadian cultural institutions: The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), from summer 2016 onwards, and The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), from summer 2017 onwards. While the collecting project is three years long, the photographs and oral histories will be preserved in the permanent collections of these institutions, with the permission of our participants, for the long term and made accessible for generations to come.
1.11 How is The Family Camera Network funded?
This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) through a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. This project also receives co-sponsorship, in the form of in-kind contribution, through our partners at Western University, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), Ryerson University, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and Yale University.
II. Participating in The Family Camera Network project
2.1 Who can participate in The Family Camera Network project?
To participate in this project, you must be 18 years of age or older and a permanent resident of Canada. You must also be willing to participate in a video-taped interview and to donate, or loan for the duration of the project (preferably donate), at least one photograph (preferably more) to accompany your oral history. At this stage of the project, our capacity to interview participants outside of Ontario is limited. But please do contact us if you are interested (email@example.com), and we will do our best!
2.2 Who cannot participate in The Family Camera Network project?
You are ineligible to participate in this study if you are: 1) younger than 18; 2) not a permanent resident or citizen of Canada; and/or 3) unable to donate (or loan for the duration of the project) at least one photograph to accompany your oral history in the collection.
2.3 Why should I participate in The Family Camera Network project?
We believe that your stories and your family photos are an important part of Canada’s cultural heritage and our hope is that this project will collect and preserve both for your family and future generations. There are a lot of reasons why you might choose to join The Family Camera Network by donating your family photographs and contributing your oral history. You might believe in the importance of having your family photographs represented in the permanent collection of a leading Canadian cultural organization (The Royal Ontario Museum or The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives). You might want to preserve your family photographs so that future generations will be able to access them. You may want your family or community represented in a mainstream cultural institution. You may feel that by donating your family photographs and by sharing your oral history, you will be able to share your family’s stories of migration with broader audiences. You may have very different reasons for wanting to participate, and if so, we are eager to learn them! We hope that you choose to participate in The Family Camera Network project because the concept of preserving your family photographs and stories is personally meaningful.
2.4 How much time should I expect to commit to The Family Camera Network project?
If you are interested in participating in this project, please be prepared to participate in at least 2-3 meetings, one of which will be an interview that would last up to 2 hours. You will be in contact with a member of the research team several times. We believe that it is important to take this time to go over the framework of the project and the information on the consent forms with you. We also want to make sure that you will have time to get to know and be comfortable with your interviewer, and that you will be able to ask all questions you may have. The first meeting will be a pre-interview during which you meet your interviewer, who will explain the scope of the project and answer any questions you may have. This will be followed by an on-camera interview with the researcher. Interviews will be 1-2 hours long. There is also the possibility of a brief follow-up session (about 30 minutes) over the telephone or by Skype, which would be conducted several months after the initial interview. The entire process could take up to 1 year. The researcher will remain your main contact and may be in touch with you from time to time during the project. If you agree, you may also receive email updates in the form of a newsletter about the project.
2.5 Do I have pay anything to participate in this project?
No. You will not be asked to pay anything to anyone at any point throughout this process.
2.6 Will I be paid for my participation in the oral history component of the project?
No. Your participation is completely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time without negative consequences. If you do choose to withdraw, we hope you will feel comfortable explaining why. Your feedback is important to us. If you choose to have the interview conducted at The Royal Ontario Museum, The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, or Western University, a parking voucher or subway tokens can be provided toward your travel costs.
2.7 Will I be paid for my donation of family photographs or receive a charitable tax receipt for these donated items?
No. You will not be financially compensated for your donation of family photographs, nor will you receive a charitable tax receipt. Our hope is to provide a permanent home for photographs that you wish to donate freely, and our goal is to preserve your photographs as a vital part of Canada’s cultural heritage.
2.8 What are the benefits of participating in The Family Camera Network project?
We hope that you will enjoy the experience of participating in this project. By participating, you might feel more connected with your own family history or you might experience new self-realizations as you go through the process of looking through and talking about your photographs. You might feel excited that you will be contributing to the writing of new histories of Canada, which will be informed by your oral history and family photographs. You might enjoy meeting new people who are keen to learn more about your family history or you might be interested to learn first-hand how leading cultural institutions collect and preserve photographs and oral histories. Finally, you may feel reassured by the knowledge that your family photographs will be preserved in the permanent collection of an established Canadian cultural institution (either The Royal Ontario Museum or The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives). No matter what the reason, we hope that this experience is personally meaningful to you. You will receive a copy of your interview and a digitized copy of the photographs that you choose to donate or loan. You may also choose to receive a hard copy of the photos. You will receive these items within six months of your donation.
2.9 What are the risks of participating in this project?
There are no known risks associated with participating in this project. However, talking about personal photographs can sometimes spark unexpected emotions. Discussing family photos may provoke unsettling memories. If you feel uncomfortable with any of the questions during the interview, you do not have to answer them. Please don’t hesitate to ask us to pause or stop the interview at any time. It is okay to start answering a question and to stop answering half-way through your answer. If needed, you may choose to stop the interview entirely. We hope that we can work together to create a safe space for conducting your interview. If you feel emotionally overwhelmed or uncomfortable during the interview, please let us know. We will provide information about where to find support; however, please note that we cannot officially endorse these programs and institutions. It is also important for you to know that your photos and stories will be used toward new research on family photos and that a researcher’s interpretation might be different from your own. Every effort will be made to retain accuracy and reflect multiple voices.
2.10 I want to participate in this project, but I don’t want to donate my family photographs. Can I still participate?
Yes. If you want to participate in the project but don’t want to donate your family photographs you can still participate. An alternative to donating your photographs is to loan them instead. We will ask you to loan at least one photograph for the 3-year duration of the project (until March 30th, 2019).
2.11 I want to participate in this project, but I don’t have any family photographs. Can I still participate?
If you don’t have any family photographs because they were lost or destroyed due to circumstances beyond your control, such as violence or forced migration, we still want to hear from you! We’d like to ask you about your memories of your family photos, what role they played in your life, under what circumstances you lost them or perhaps never had them, and what role their memory continues to play for you.
2.12 I am not comfortable conducting the interview in English. Can I still participate?
Let us know. Although we are not able to provide a translator, we may be able to pair you with interviewers who will be able to understand and conduct at least part of the interview in Amharic, French, German, Hindi/Urdu, Italian, Spanish, or Vietnamese.
2.13 I do not self-identify as a member of a diasporic community (i.e. one with ties to a homeland outside Canada). Can I still participate?
Talk to us. At this stage in the project, our scope is limited to exploration of the role of family photography in mediating experiences of Canadian diasporic communities. However, if you are truly keen to participate, we would love to hear from you. There is always the potential that this project can grow in the future. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.14 My family has been in Canada for multiple generations. Can I still participate?
Yes. You may participate in this project if your family has been in Canada for multiple generations. You can participate if you are related to someone born outside of Canada, no matter how many generations removed.
2.15 I don’t know much about my family or my family photographs. Can I still participate?
Absolutely! Tell us what you do know and we can go from there. Even if you cannot tell us much about your family or family photographs, we can learn a lot from hearing you talk about what the photographs mean to you.
2.16 I want to participate, but I want to remain anonymous and/or I want my oral history to remain confidential. Is this possible?
While your name must be preserved in confidential institutional records, you may choose to have names redacted, voices distorted, and/or faces blurred, to preserve confidentiality and assure anonymity in the video recording of the interview, in captions to photographs, and in any quotes or anecdotes used in study reports and publications. However, faces cannot be blurred in the original family photos that you donate. If you wish, your responses during the interview will be kept confidential. We will discuss your wishes for anonymity and confidentiality with you prior to signing the consent forms. It is important that you consider what information needs to be kept private prior to signing the consent forms. Please note that there are limits to confidentiality. If we learn of any criminal activity (e.g. abuse of minors, etc.), we are obliged to report this information to the appropriate authorities.
2.17 Can my family members or friends share their oral histories about the family photographs that I donate?
We would love to know as much about your family photographs as possible! Every photograph represents more than one story. If you have family or friends that want to participate, please let us know. If we can interview them, we will certainly do it. If we cannot interview them right away, we will collect their contact information so that we can reach them at a later date.
2.18 How will I be thanked and acknowledged throughout the duration of The Family Camera Network project?
As a thank you for your participation, you will receive a copy of your interview and a digitized copy of the photographs that you choose to donate or loan for the collection. You may also choose to receive a hard copy of the photos as well. You will receive these items within six months of your donation. We will also ask you to identify how you would like us to acknowledge your gift (i.e. “Gift of [insert family name]”). With your permission, we will use this credit when using any of the material in exhibitions, publications, etc.
III. The Interview and The Oral History
3.1 What is an "oral history"?
Oral histories are sound and/or film recordings that enable researchers to collect and study historical information. Oral histories are important because they allow us to learn from people who have intimate and/or personal knowledge about the past. Oral histories give us insight into the personal impact of historical events, and in this study, they will also help us better understand the personal meanings of family photographs. For this project, we would like to collect oral histories from people to obtain their personal insight into their own family photographs. Our goal is to create a public archive, in which oral histories contextualize family photographs.
3.2 Why do you want to interview participants about their family photographs?
Often, family photographs that exist in archives and collections are “orphaned” images – we do not know who took the images, or what or who is represented in them. With this collection, we will be able to retain this rich personal and historical context. By asking participants to share their oral histories with us, we hope that we can create a public archive that will be useful to community members, scholars, historians, teachers, and students for generations to come.
3.3 Have the interviewers received any training on how to conduct interviews?
Many members of the Collecting Team have conducted interviews previously, and have participated in intensive training. As part of their training for The Family Camera Network, moreover, members of the Collecting Team recently participated in a day-long Oral History Workshop, which was conducted by experts in this field, Dr. Luis van Isschot (Department of History, the University of Toronto) and Gracia Dyer Jalea (co- founder, Toronto Ward Museum).
3.4 Where will the interview take place?
The location of the interview is up to you. For example, you can choose to be interviewed in your own home, or at The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), or Western University. The only requirement is that the location that you choose is quiet so as to avoid background noise when we record the oral history. We’d also like the location to be well lit so that we can clearly see and film the photographs that you choose to discuss. If necessary, we can provide lighting. If you choose to be interviewed at your home, we will work with you to set up a quiet and well-lit location for the interview. We might need to rearrange a table or a light, but will only move your belongings with your permission, and will return everything to its rightful place before we leave.
3.5 How will the interview be set up?
The interview will involve a researcher, yourself, and your family photographs. Ideally, you will be seated across the table from each other with the photographs on the table. There will be two cameras present and a table audio recorder. These will be managed by a technical assistant who will also be present. We will ask you to wear a small mic pinned to your clothing. We are happy to discuss the set-up with you at any time.
3.6 What kinds of questions will I be asked?
We will primarily ask you about your family photo archive, select images, parts of your life history, and in general, what meanings family photos hold for you. Some questions could be:
* What is your family's migration history?
* Which photos did you take on your journeys to Canada and which images did you leave behind?
* Why are the images you've selected compelling to you?
* Can you remember a time when your relationship to these photographs was different?
* Who or what is absent in this group of photos?
* Are there any photos you’ve made copies of and given out? Which ones, why, and to whom?
It is important that you feel comfortable during your interview and it is entirely up to you what information you share. You can skip questions if you like or you can take the conversation in other directions that are important to you. Your interviewer will not be following a script, but she or he will be asking questions that focus on your history of migration and your relationship to your photos; on the photos themselves; and on the role of these photos in connecting you to your community. If you have any questions about the interview before, during, and after the point at which you participate in this process, please don't hesitate to ask us (email@example.com).
3.7 Do I have to answer every question that I am asked?
No. You do not have to answer every question and you are welcome to skip questions.
3.8 May I ask questions during the interview?
Yes. You may ask questions at any point leading up to, during, and after the interview. The interview can be more of a conversation.
3.9 May I stop the interview at any point?
Yes. Your participation is completely voluntary. You can stop the interview and/or withdraw at any time without negative consequences.
3.10 Can my family members/friends/pets be present during the interview?
We want you to feel comfortable. If it is important to you that a family member or friend be present during the interview, we are happy to accommodate. However, because we are recording the interview for research purposes, if someone else is in the room and wants to contribute to the interview, they will also need to sign the consent forms and wear a small microphone. Please let us know your preferences in advance. Please note that to properly record the interview, the space needs to be quiet. Please try to speak to your family in advance if the interview is going to take place at your home so that there are few interruptions or try to arrange a quiet time to conduct the interview. Also, though we love pets, they can sometimes be distracting during an interview process or can create noise that will make it difficult to properly record the session. If we conduct the interview at your home, please try to keep any pets in a different space in the house while the interview is being recorded.
3.11 What do I do if I discuss images or information that need to be kept private?
It is possible, within reason, to restrict public access to some of the images that you donate or some of the information that you share. As much as possible, try to identify such images or information to us in advance so that we can work with you on the best way to protect this material. Please note that the limit to this confidentiality concerns information relating to criminal activity, (e.g. abuse of minors, etc.). In such cases, interviewers/researchers have an obligation to report this information to the appropriate authorities.
3.12 Why do I need to sign a Western University Letter of Information and Consent to participate in this interview?
This project is based at Western University. For this reason, Western University’s Non-Medical Research Ethics Board (REB) will oversee the ethical conduct of the interviews. To ensure that our interviews are conducted ethically we need to clearly explain to you the parameters of the project and your rights as a participant. To demonstrate that we have obtained your informed consent, we need to go over the Western University Letter of Information and Consent with you and have you sign it prior to conducting the interview. If you have any questions or concerns about the form or the project, please ask us prior to signing the Western University Letter of Information and Consent. You can talk to your interviewer, or you can contact the Principal Investigator, Dr. Thy Phu at 519. 661.2111 ext. 86806 (firstname.lastname@example.org), or co-applicants Dr. Deepali Dewan (416.586.5698; email@example.com), Dr. Elspeth Brown (905.569.4455; firstname.lastname@example.org); or Dr. Sarah Bassnett (519.661.2111 ext. 86189); email@example.com).
3.13 What are my rights as an interviewee?
These are your rights as an interviewee. These rights are also listed on the Western University Letter of Information and Consent form.
1. Your participation is completely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time without negative consequences.
2. You do not have to answer every question, and are welcome to skip questions.
3. You may ask questions at any point leading up to, during, and after the interview.
4. Your decision to participate or not to participate will be kept confidential. 5. You may choose not to have your face recorded.
6. Videotapes of the interview will be kept under lock and key. They will be kept there at least until March 2019, the duration of this project, and with your consent, as a permanent part of the archive where you have donated your photographs.
7. While your name must be preserved in confidential institutional records, you may choose to have names redacted, voices distorted, and faces blurred, to preserve confidentiality and assure anonymity in the video recording of the interview, in captions to photographs, and in any quotes or anecdotes used in study reports and publications. Faces cannot be blurred in your family photos. If you wish, your responses during the interview will be kept confidential. Please note that the limit to this confidentiality, concerns information relating to criminal activity, (e.g. abuse of minors, etc.). In such cases, interviewers/researchers have an obligation to report this information to the appropriate authorities.
8. The results of this study may be published in an exhibition, on a digital archive, in the form of articles, and as a book. Your name (and those of your family members) will not be used unless explicit permission is given.
9. You do not waive any legal rights by participating in this research.
3.14 I still have questions about my rights as an interviewee. What should I do?
If you are unsure about your rights as an interviewee, please do not sign the Western University Letter of Information and Consent. We want to make sure that you are providing us with your informed consent. We will answer any questions that you may have. Alternatively, you may ask any questions that you have about your rights as a research participant or the conduct of this project to representatives of Western University’s Non-Medical Research Ethics Board. These representatives are not directly involved with the project. Their role is to ensure that research projects, like The Family Camera Network, proceed ethically. You may reach them at: The Office of Research Ethics at Western University at 519.661.3036 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
IV. Donating Your Photographs
4.1 Why should I donate my family photographs?
We believe that your stories and your family photos are an important part of Canada’s cultural heritage and our hope is that this project will collect and preserve both for your family and future generations. There are a lot of reasons that you might choose to donate your family photographs. You might believe in the importance of having your family photographs represented in the permanent collection of a leading cultural organization. You might want to preserve your family photographs so that future generations will be able to access them. You may feel that by donating your family photographs, you will be able to share your family’s stories of migration with broader audiences. We hope that you choose to participate because it is personally meaningful to you.
4.2 Do I have to be the owner of the photographs that I donate?
Yes. If you are not the owner or inheritor of the donated items, you cannot donate them.
4.3 Are there limitations on how many photographs I can donate?
Possibly. Our decisions about how many photographs and albums we can accept will be based on the amount of available space to properly store the objects. If you have a lot to donate, please tell us. If we do not have the capacity to collect everything now, we will make note of the remaining objects that you wish to donate and we might follow up with you later if our project and our storage capacity grow.
4.4 Do I need to be the photographer of all of the photographs that I donate?
No. You do not need to be the photographer of every photograph in your collection to donate the items. However, we will ask for your help to understand who the various photographers are/were. This is important because:
1. It will help us to determine how to credit certain images.
2. It might help you to determine if there is someone in your family you should speak to about making this donation (if possible). Of course, we understand that you may not be able to contact every photographer whose images are represented in the album. In these cases, we would simply ask you to do your best to inform us of the various photographers and to help us to make the best possible decisions about dealing with these objects moving forward.
3. Assigning copyright can be a complex process. Through this process, we will work with you to clarify issues of copyright ownership. If possible, please try to make a note of images that you did not photograph or items that you did not produce in advance, so that we can proceed appropriately.
4.5 Do I need to speak to my extended family, friends, or others who are represented in my photographs, or who have contributed to the albums, before I donate my photographs?
If possible, yes, please try to talk to family and friends who are represented in, or who have contributed to your family albums about your wish to donate your images. This is important for a number of reasons:
1. Some conversations could help you to learn more about your family history and may help you to provide us with vital contextual information about the photographs.
2. As much as possible, we want to avoid situations where extended family and friends are surprised or upset to see their images in an archive. The photographs you donate could expose intimate details about the lives and experiences of others and some people might not be comfortable sharing these details with the greater public. We will look to you to help us to determine if there should be any restrictions on if, how, when, and where specific photographs are shared with the public (i.e. in exhibitions, scholarly journals, online communications, etc.).
3. By talking with family and friends, you will help us to navigate the sometimes complex issues of copyright. If you cannot speak to your family or friends in advance due to someone’s passing or due to estrangement or concern for personal safety, you can still donate items without speaking to these individuals. We just ask that you be open with us so that we can make some careful decisions about what to do with certain donated items and whether restrictions should be placed on them.
4.6 Can I donate more than photographs?
Yes. We welcome donations of all kinds. This includes photographs in any number of formats (i.e. negatives, prints, photobooks, digital files, etc.) as well as objects that have been inspired by or that use family photographs in some way (i.e. paintings, drawings, scrapbooks, lockets, etc.). We also welcome any objects that might be an important part of the collection or that could improve our understanding of the donated photographs or of your family history (i.e. family trees, letters, wedding licenses, birth announcements, death notices, etc.).
4.7 Can I donate studio portraits, tickets stubs, newspaper clippings, marketing materials, or other ephemera?
Yes. Scrapbooks often include other objects, which tell the stories about our experiences. Family albums can include studio portraits, ticket stubs, postcards, marketing materials, and newspaper clippings. These objects can add to the richness of our scrapbooks and albums; however, they will present us with some questions about copyright in the context of this project. You do not need to remove these items from your scrapbooks before making a donation. We just ask that you help us to the best of your ability to identify these kinds of objects so that we can follow the appropriate Canadian Copyright Laws.
4.8 Do all the photographs and objects that I donate need to be very “old”?
No. We are interested in all family photographs, past and present.
4.9 Can I donate digital photographs?
Yes. In cases where the photograph was “born digital” (i.e. digital image is the original photograph), the project will accept digital photographs. You may submit them, in their original format, on a flash drive, CD-ROM, or via some online file transfer method.
4.10 Do I need to go through all the materials that I want to donate and reorganize them in a special way before I donate them?
No. You are welcome to go through your photographic albums and remove any images that you do not wish to donate. You are free to rearrange the photographs, if you so choose. However, we do not expect you to do any work on the albums or reorganize the materials prior to making a donation.Depending on the size of your donation and the amount of space that we have to properly store objects, we may need to restrict the size of your donation. However, we will have conversations with you about this if this issue arises.
4.11 What do I do if some of the photographs in this collection need to be kept private?
Perhaps you want to donate an album, but there are some photographs that you do not want to share with the general public. Or perhaps one of your family members does not want to be represented in the archive, exhibition, or related publications. It is possible, within reason, to restrict public access to some of the images that you donate or some of the information that you share. As much as possible, try to identify such images or information to us in advance so that we can work with you on the best way to protect this material. We cannot blur the faces of subjects on the original photographs, but we can restrict public access if that is important to you or your family and friends.
4.12 Can I determine how, when, and what objects are made public?
Our goal for this project is to collect photographs that can be shared with the public in a variety of forms. We would like to use the photographs (or other donated objects) to tell new histories of Canada. We will ask for your consent to share your photographs (and other objects) in exhibitions, publications, and/or online. We will allow you to note any exclusions, if you know of images that must not be made public, and to put restrictions on their public access. All of these decisions will be up to you. Please take some time to consider this question and try to speak to your family and friends in advance (if possible/if necessary).
4.13 Can I make an anonymous donation of family photographs?
You may choose to have your gift acknowledged as an anonymous gift. We will discuss your wishes for anonymity and confidentiality with you prior to signing the consent forms.
4.14 What forms do I need to sign to donate my family photographs to an archive?
For every item that is donated, there must be a legally binding, signed agreement between the donor and the collecting institution. You will need to sign an agreement with the institution that is collecting your items. For The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), you will review and sign a Copyright Assignment & Consent Agreement that is specific to this project. For The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), you will review and sign a Deed of Gift form. If you have any questions about either of these forms, please ask your interviewer prior to signing these forms. Please note that any assignment of copyright is subject to reversion to the author’s heirs 25 years after the author’s death.
4.15 After I donate my photographs, who will own my photographs?
After you donate your photographs, the institution that collected them will be the owner of the images. If you donated your photographs to The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), the last form you sign is the Gift Form. After signing this form, the ROM will own the photographs you donated and they will be assigned an accession number, making them part of the ROM’s collection. That said, the ROM, as an agency of the Government of Ontario, holds its collections and other assets “in trust for the people of Ontario.” In other words, the ROM’s collections are owned by the people of Ontario. Similarly, after you sign The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives’ (CLGA) Deed of Gift form, the CLGA will own the photographs that you donated. The CLGA holds their collections and other assets in trust for LGBTQ+ people of Canada.
V. Post-Interview, Post-Donation and Follow-Up Questions
5.1 What will happen to my photographs after they are collected?
When we collect your photographs/albums, we will follow standard museum practices for collecting objects. We will seal all objects in plastic bags when we collect them from you. Photo materials will be inventoried in detail and a Temporary Receipt will be prepared. You will receive a copy of this Receipt. You will also go over and sign the Copyright Assignment and Consent Agreement (The Royal Ontario Museum /ROM) or a Deed of Gift form (The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives/CLGA) in relation to your donated materials. Materials donated to ROM will be treated in accordance with its preventative pest control policies. Photo materials will be transferred to archival-quality storage, catalogued, assigned accession numbers, and stored in a secure collection area. You will then receive a Gift Form to sign that transfers ownership.
5.2 What will happen to the videotape of my oral history?
Videotapes of the interview will be kept under lock and key until at least March 2019, the duration of this project, and with your consent, as a permanent part of the archive where your family photographs were donated.
5.3 How can my family access the photographs after I donate them?
Once your photographs have been donated, your family will have the same access to the original objects as the general public. However, you will receive a digitized version of the photographs and albums that you donate. These digital images are for personal use only and cannot be sold or donated to another archive or third party. You may also request hard copies of the donated items. These items will have a small label attached that tells future generations the institution at which your photographs are preserved and their unique accession numbers.
5.4 Will the photographers of the donated photographs lose the image rights to the photograph that they produced?
No. The photographers of the donated photographs will not lose the image rights to the photographs that they produced. We only ask for the rights to reproduce images of the objects that you have donated. We will also follow Canadian Copyright Law to the best of our abilities, based on the information that we have about the photographs. Please note that assignment of copyright is subject to reversion to the author’s heirs 25 years after the author’s death.
5.5 Will you ask me/let me know before you publish/exhibit/post images of the items that I donate?
Yes. When you donate, we will try to get as much information about your wishes regarding publication and exhibition as possible.
5.6 Who can access my photographs and stories?
You will get to decide if, how, and when your photographs and stories are made available to the public. For example, you may grant unrestricted access, which will allow researchers and the general public to access your photos and stories. Alternatively, you may restrict access to researchers only. We will discuss all of the choices that are available to you with regard to access and confidentiality. Options include, but are not limited to: distorting your voice, blurring your face, or not recording your face in the video-recording of the interview; restricting access to certain items; and restricting public access to your materials.
5.7 Will you keep me informed about the progress of this project or any special events related to this project?
Over the next three years, we will keep you posted about project developments via a newsletter. You can unsubscribe to the newsletter at any time by emailing: email@example.com. We will also post updates on the project blog, Visual Stories.
VI. Additional Support and Project Contacts
6.1 I am nervous about speaking to my friends and family about my wish to donate photographs or participate in this project. Can you help me negotiate with my family members and/or friends?
We will provide you with all the information that you need about the project so that you can discuss it with your family and friends, but we cannot get involved in personal discussions about the donation of photographs or your participation in the project because this would violate research ethics. Please do not do anything that could put you in risk of personal harm or anything that makes you uncomfortable in any way. If you cannot speak to your family or friends about your donation, please let us know. You do not need to reveal any private details, but simply help us identify if there may be any issues. That way, we can work together to determine if there is any information or if there are any images that need to have restricted access or remain private.
6.2 Can anyone involved in the project offer me legal advice regarding the donation of my family photographs?
No. If you have any specific legal concerns and require legal advice, you must speak to your own lawyer. The members of our team are not lawyers and even if we were, it would be unethical to advise you on legal matters related to this project because it would be a conflict of interest.
6.3 Can anyone involved in the project offer me legal advice regarding Canadian Immigration Laws or provide support of any kind to newcomer Canadians?
No. We cannot provide you with legal advice or support for newcomer Canadians. There are a number of organizations that specialize in supporting newcomer Canadians. We can help provide information about the different kinds of resources that are available, but we cannot officially endorse them. Please note: some of the information may not be up to date. We’ve done our best, but information and contacts can change.
6.4 After my interview, I felt emotionally overwhelmed. Where can I go to get mental health support?
We recognize that the process of looking at family photographs can bring up a lot of emotions. However, none of the researchers in The Family Camera Network are trained counselors, which is why we are unable to counsel you. There are a number of organizations that specialize in offering mental health support. We are happy to share this information, though we cannot officially endorse any of the groups or institutions listed. Please note: some of the information may not be up to date. We’ve done our best, but information and contacts can change.
In case of emergency, dial 911.
6.5 I changed my mind! Who can I contact?
If you have any questions or concerns throughout this project, please contact the member of the Collecting Team who interviewed you. You can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org. By raising your concerns you will help us to make sure that we are considering all issues that arise.
6.6 One of my family members/friends is upset about their image being displayed (i.e. online, in an exhibition). What can we do?
Here are the contacts that you need to have an image removed from display:
Royal Ontario Museum - ROM (online and onsite): Tricia Walker, email@example.com
The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives - CLGA (online and onsite): firstname.lastname@example.org
Familycamera.org: Thy Phu, email@example.com
We will deal with the issue quickly and to the best of our ability.
6.7 I have a complaint about the project, who can I contact?
If you have an issue or a complaint that you would like to discuss or any concerns about the conduct of this project, please contact Western University’s Non-Medical Research Ethics Board. These representatives are not directly involved with the project. Their role is to ensure that research projects, like The Family Camera Network, proceed ethically. You may reach them at: The Office of Research Ethics at Western University at 519.661.3036 (firstname.lastname@example.org).