Amanda Montague, PhD

Educational Developer, Community-Engaged Teaching and Learning

Amanda Montague is an Educational Developer for Community Engaged Teaching and Learning at McMaster University. Her dissertation, Mobile Memories: Canadian Cultural Memory in the Digital Age, considered the impact of mobile technologies and locative media narratives on everyday experiences of memory and place. In her current research and teaching she continues to experiment with digital storytelling tools and methods to facilitate engagement both within the classroom and with communities outside the university.

Her pedagogy employs a model of experiential project-based learning common to digital humanities praxis that looks to engage students with course material in new ways, using digital tools and methods to promote collaboration, creativity, and community building. Through this work she has developed a particular interest in digital archives and digital exhibit creation as pedagogy, as well as extensive experience in digital partnership projects involving archives and local communities.

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Critical Digital Pedagogy

Advancing Collaboration in Digital Project-Based Learning.

Advancing Collaboration in Digital Project-Based Learning. My current research project explores collaborative learning environments and classroom-based partnership projects in the digital humanities. While these partnerships can create productive spaces for developing more equitable practices of collaboration, they often involve a great deal of affective labour. And while affective labour can lead to challenging working conditions for project partners, it can also be a site of pleasure and a generative force for continued collaboration. Therefore, this project re-examines affective labour in digital project-based classroom collaborations through the lens of joy. In doing so, my research seeks to better understand how partnerships between instructors, librarians, information professionals and students can promote learning environments of co-creation, care, and collaboration that shift the traditional hierarchical classroom dynamics to more equitable distributions of power and increase the value of traditionally gendered forms labour, such as knowledge brokering and community building, in the academy.

Cultural Mapping

INSPIRE 1A03: Engaging Public Spaces Through Digital Storytelling during COIVD-19.

INSPIRE 1A03: Engaging Public Spaces Through Digital Storytelling. This undergraduate experiential learning course in Arts & Science ran in May 2020 and was originally designed to explore public spaces, their history, uses, and value, in the city of Hamilton through a combination of fieldwork, archival visits, and workshops. But as a result of the remote teaching requirements imposed by COVID-19, I moved this experiential learning course online and reframed the key questions about public space around the current context of restriction. Using a combination of Google maps, Google street view, and the web application ThingLink, students were tasked with creating an adapted design of a public space in their neighbourhood (parks, cemeteries, parking lots) for the future with the assumption that physical distancing protocols would continue. As a result, students were given an outlet to creatively approach problem solving a real-world issue during a time of great uncertainty and came to understand the responsibility we all share in helping to foster dynamic and diverse public spaces and communities.

Digital Archives and Exhibits

HUMAN 2DH3: Arts in Dundas.

Shakespeare in Canada: A Cultural Map.

HUMAN 2DH3: Arts in Dundas. This undergraduate digital humanities course explored a variety of digital storytelling tools and methods with a special interest in the arts and artistic communities in the Dundas Valley. For this course I partnered with several Hamilton-based cultural organizations including Building Cultural Legacies, the Dundas Valley School of Art, and the Dundas Museum and Archives. Students were tasked with creating an Omeka exhibit that explored the relationship between place and visual art production through a combination of archival research and personal interviews with local artists. The projects were created using a variety of digital storytelling tools, including Storymap JS, Timeline JS, Thinglink, and podcasts.

Shakespeare in Canada: A Cultural Map. This project was developed as part of an upper-year undergraduate, and first-year graduate level, Shakespeare seminar offered in the department of English. Working in small groups, students created digital exhibits that explored the cultural presence of Shakespeare in Canada using Omeka and a variety of digital exhibition tools. Archival items were collected from a several community partners in the city, including Library and Archives Canada and the National Arts Center. As the digital project consultant, I assisted students in navigating the process of digital exhibit creation including the collection, digitization, cataloguing, and curation of archival materials.

Locative Media

Mobile Memories: Canadian Cultural Memory in the Digital Age.

Maplibs: Past-forward Placemaking.

Mobile Memories: Canadian Cultural Memory in the Digital Age. My PhD dissertation examined the impact locative media technologies have on the experience of memory and place. This research paid specific attention to concepts of memory, heritage, and public history in its exploration of site-specific digital narratives, as well as to the relationship between mobile technology and place, and how the mobile phone in particular can foster both a sense of place and placelessness. Included in this framework were issues of co-presence, networked identity, play, affect, and the phenomenological relationship between the individual and the mobile device. This was then considered alongside memory narratives (both on the national and quotidian levels) at specifically sanctioned sites of national commemoration (monuments, historic sites) and in everyday urban spaces. To this end, my dissertation covered a wide range of augmented reality apps and forms of digital storytelling including locative media narratives, site-specific digital performances, social media and crowdsourced heritage archives, and urban mobile gaming and playful mapping. Ultimately, this research demonstrated how mobile technology contributes to a shift in the traditional mission of the archive to preserve and protect the past to something more playful, more affective, and more preoccupied with the circulation of the past and present in daily life.

Maplibs: Past-forward Placemaking. Maplibs is an experiment in playful placemaking that I developed with my two colleagues, Rebecca Dolgoy and Sarah Gelbard. From our combined research backgrounds in mobile narratives, memory studies, and urban planning, we created Maplibs, which draws from elements of location-based gaming, affective cartography, and principles of collective biography, in order to call attention to the ways in which the past shapes the affective and multisensorial encounters we have with the present. Since 2016 we have presented Maplibs at various workshops and community events in Ottawa including Jane’s Walks (2016), Carleton University’s Heritage Conservation Symposium (2017), and most recently (Un)school Ottawa (2018), focusing each time on a different site: the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, the Vanier-Richelieu Community Centre and Library, and the Rideau Centre.

My digital humanities work is deeply rooted in exploring the relationship between theory and praxis. This approach not only informs my research, but also my digital public memory projects, and my pedagogy.

Public History

Cultural Memory Workshops.

Cultural Memory Workshops. Much of my work explores experimental and innovative approaches to the mobilization of personal and national memory narratives through digital tools. As co-founder of the Ottawa-based Cultural Memory Workshops, I developed and facilitated workshop programming that aimed to cultivate the relationship between academic scholarship and the wider community. The Cultural Memory Workshop series was founded as a way to engage members of the academic community and the general public to explore the presence of the past at a local level in the city of Ottawa. Not only did these workshops provide an opportunity for individuals from within the university to share their research, they also aimed to open the terms of the discursive space of this research to participants outside the university and, in turn, foster involvement in our shared cultural spaces through digital interventions, physical explorations, and playful interactions.


Social, Equitable, Collaborative, 10 Years of Teaching and Learning at the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship

Where learning deeply matters: Reflections on the past, present, and future of teaching at McMaster University. Vol 1. No. 1. (2022).

In the 10 years since its founding in 2012, the Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship has become a hub through which expertise and resources are shared with the campus community and anyone seeking to do more with digital scholarship. In this chapter, we explore how the centre has leveraged its involvement in teaching and learning to build a community to support the needs of researchers, mentor and develop the talents of emerging scholars, and produce unique programming to make learning about digital scholarship accessible.

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But What About the Library?

Spacing, Volume 47, 2018

“But what about the library?” is an ongoing project of prompting memories and collecting stories about libraries. Through these reflections we hope to move beyond the public consultation narratives that privilege both a future orientation and particular architectural styles of libraries.

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Augmented Nationalism: Mobile Apps and National Narratives at Sites of Memory in Canada's Capital Region

Studies in Canadian Literature, Volume 42, Number 2, 2017

This paper considers the role locative media narratives play at official sites of memory in Canada’s Capital Region, from app-based historical tours to more playful narrative encounters. Here, locative media narratives are examined for how they shape the relationship between a material site of memory and a dynamic sense of the past.

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Recent Presentations.

    Affective and Embodied Memory in Pedagogical Practices of Digital Storytelling.

    Closing Plenary. First Student Conference of CRIHN. University of Montreal. April 4, 2023.

    Reimagining Data Analysis Support Services Virtually: Success and Surprises

    Access 2021. With C. Homuth and V. Jadon. October 19, 2021.

    Introduction to Digital History: Digital Memory Communities and Locative Media

    ASCI 4020: Humanities 2.0? Digital Humanities and Humanist Critique (P. Barrett). University of Guelph. October 6, 2021.

    Storytelling as Pedagogical Practice

    University of Waterloo Teaching and Learning Conference. With A. Siddiqui. April 29, 2021.

    Advancing Collaboration in Digital Project-Based Learning

    Digital Scholars Lecture Series. University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, McMaster University. November 5, 2020.

    Roundtable on Digital Scholarship

    Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship. McMaster University. October 30, 2020.

    Archives and Communities

    ENG 702: Doctoral Seminar in English and Cultural Studies. McMaster University. October 15, 2020.

    Engaging Students and Creating Online Community

    Teaching Remotely: Shared Experiences. MacPherson Institute. McMaster University. July 9, 2020.


    Amanda Montague, PhD
    • Office of Community Engagement
    • McMaster University
    • 1280 Main St. W.
    • Hamilton, Ontario
    • L8S 4L8