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The Little Prize Recipient 2019


Concordia University’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and Office of Community Engagement are pleased to announce that Joyce Pillarella is the recipient of the 2019 Little Prize.


The Little Prize is an annual award of $500 presented to a COHDS community affiliate. The award acknowledges significant oral history-based research, activism, research-creation, arts-based storytelling, and/or creative, place-based work.


The award is named for Dr Ted Little (Theatre), a longstanding core COHDS affiliate, who through his teaching and work in theatre championed community-based theatre, storytelling, and the capacity of artists to make change in and with non-profit organizations. The Little Prize recognizes exceptional oral history research and research-creation work outside the university's walls, and is the first COHDS prize to honour our extended community.


Joyce Pillarella is a Montréal-based educator, oral historian, and core affiliate of COHDS. Much of Joyce’s work has been inspired by the memories of the Italian-Canadian community. Her oral history exhibition, "Les Italiens de Montréal”, shown in 2013 at Montréal's Hôtel de ville, recounts the internment of Italian immigrants in Canada starting in 1940. Following the enactment of the War Measures Act, about 600 Italian-Canadians were sent to internment camps. After years of lobbying, in June 2019 Joyce succeeded in persuading the Canadian government to issue a formal apology to the Italian-Canadian community for their treatment during WWII. This apology is a historic moment for both this community and for oral history. As Joyce puts it, “oral history turned me into an activist.”


The Little Prize was awarded to Joyce Pillarella at the COHDS Annual General Assembly on Thursday, September 19th, 2019. 


Congratulations Joyce, from all of us at COHDS!


Concordia University