L.M. Montgomery Institute looks to future after 25 years

The L.M. Montgomery Institute is marking 25 years of studying and promoting the work of the Canadian writer.

More technology will be used in years ahead, chair says

Kate Scarth and Philip Smith say community engagement is a key function of the L.M. Montgomery Institute. (Angela Walker/CBC)

The L.M. Montgomery Institute will be using more technology as it celebrates its 25th year and looks for new ways to teach and promote the work of the Canadian writer.

Which is appropriate, says Kate Scarth, chair of L.M. Montgomery studies at UPEI, considering Montgomery herself had a keen interest in technology.

"She had a camera early on, which would have been rare in rural P.E.I. So I feel like we're very much in Montgomery's spirit to be using technology," she said on Mainstreet P.E.I.

Free online course

Among the new initiatives are a free online course, a multimedia online journal based at UPEI where people are encouraged to submit videos, creative writing and images, as well as new digital displays to encourage people to visit the various sites around the Island.

This ability to straddle scholarship and enthusiast, local and global, has been a real strength of the institute.— Philip Smith

They're also building a crowdsourced map where people will submit pictures of themselves reading Montgomery all over the world.

"We think it'll be a really fun way to get people to participate, it raises awareness about P.E.I. and Montgomery," Scarth said.

Philip Smith, chair of the L.M. Montgomery Institute, said in the past 25 years there has been an "enormous shift" in the recognition of the importance of Montgomery, not only in popular culture but also in academia.

International conference on P.E.I.

"What was special about the institute then, and still is, was that the mission was not only about promoting scholarly work but also promoting what we call informed celebration of Montgomery, her life, her times, her culture and her influence."

A testament to that, he said, is the 13th biennial international conference on Montgomery studies at UPEI June 21-24, where people from 11 different countries gather to discuss the author's works.

"This ability to straddle scholarship and enthusiast, local and global, has been a real strength of the institute," Smith said.

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With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.