FAQs - About (Virtual) Heritage Fair Topics
Does the project have to be about family history, or specifically about Saskatchewan?
No, it can be about anything relating to Canada. Students are encouraged to choose a topic that they enjoy and want to learn more about. (Teachers do have the option to assign specific topics.)
Can the teacher assign specific topics?
Teachers can choose to assign specific topics if that works best for them or their class. For example, sometimes teachers have had their whole class study local treaties, explorers, famous Saskatchewan people, or their students' family histories.
How long ago did something have to happen, or how old does something have to be, before it is considered ‘heritage’?
Living Heritage is about the past, present, and future. It does not matter how old something is for it to be considered heritage.
Are science topics acceptable?
Absolutely. Science is a big part of our heritage.
What about sports? Artists? Movies? Does it matter how famous someone is?
Any of these could be potential topics, as long as they relate to Canada in some way. It does not matter how famous someone is or was. Someone who is very famous to a student might be someone that the judges have never heard about!
Can a student do a project about a fictional character or story?
Yes, as long as that character is connected to Canada. The character of Anne of Green Gables (as opposed to Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables) is a popular choice.
If a student wants to create a fictional character of their own, they can submit an entry in the Creative Presentation category.
What about something that did not happen in Canada or is not entirely Canadian?
Many events that happened in other countries have a Canadian connection (such as a war that Canadians participated in). Some people move away from Canada for their careers, such as actors, but they still have a connection to Canada. Non-Canadians who have lived in or partially live in Canada can also be acceptable topics.
Can a student do a project about their family's heritage in another country?
Yes. The student and their family are themselves a connection to Canada.
Can a student do a project about another country (as a topic)?
Yes, but they need to make a connection to Canada in some way. For example, a student might want to do a project about a country that their ancestors used to live in. A good choice of topic would be to compare Canada to another country, discuss the trading relationships between Canada and another country, the ongoing influence of another country on Canada, or reasons why people immigrated to Canada from that country.
What if a student is still not sure if the topic that they are interested in studying fits into Heritage Fairs?
They can always check with their teacher. If their teacher is not sure either, the teacher, the student or the parent can check with Heritage Saskatchewan.
What if a topic is controversial?
If a teacher is uneasy about a topic being controversial, they should check with Heritage Saskatchewan. If a student does good research and is respectful in preparing their project, almost any topic relating to Canada is acceptable.
What if a topic, no matter how respectfully presented, would contain offensive material?
Some topics may contain offensive material regardless. For example, doing a project about the history of hate groups in Saskatchewan would likely mean having photographs of said hate groups in the project. These topics should be done very carefully, but they are still acceptable. In the virtual medium, Heritage Saskatchewan reserves the right to hide photographs (so that they will not appear without warning or context) and to disable direct links if they do not conform to our organisation’s values. Students must use extreme caution when linking to third-party videos (even if used as a source) and should avoid using shock value as part of their presentation.
Could a class split up one larger topic and create separate but related projects? (For example, doing different projects that together tell the history of the community that the school is in.)
Yes, this would be acceptable. Because there is no limit to how many projects a class or school can submit, the separate projects could all be submitted and viewed in their entirety. However, they would all be judged separately.
Has there been a shift in focus away from history?
Any shift (actual or perceived) of focus from exclusively on history to a broader range of topics reflects the current education curriculum, societal trends, and Heritage Saskatchewan's mandate. Historical thinking is a cornerstone of the Heritage Fairs program.
Is there anything that would be considered a “bad” topic?
There is no such thing as a “bad” topic, but a topic can be poorly handled. Also, a “bad” topic would be one which has no connection to Canada or wherein the connection to Canada cannot be readily inferred.
Are any topics preferred over others?
All projects are judged on their own merits. Students are judged on their presentation, research, and critical thinking. For some awards, projects may only be eligible if their topics fit into a certain category. Heritage Saskatchewan aims to have a broad range of topical award categories so that all projects fit within at least one of them.
Is it cultural appropriation if a student creates a Heritage Fairs project about an aspect of a cultural group that they are not a part of?
No, but the student needs to do good research and be respectful in their display and presentation. (In such cases, students should avoid costumes.) They must be mindful that members of whichever cultural group they are depicting may be among the other students, judges, online viewers, etc..
If the student participates in an aspect of a cultural group that they are not part of (such as dance), wearing a uniform, costume, or regalia that they have earned in this capacity is entirely acceptable.
Is there anything to be avoided in a Virtual Heritage Fair display or presentation?
Please avoid the following:
- Black-/yellow-/red-face makeup; [painting one’s face to look dirty to portray a miner, a railroad worker, a disaster victim, etc. is acceptable]
- Sexualised costumes;
- Racist/sexist phrases, cartoons, videos, or models (without historical context);
- Content expressing overt, non-historical racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+ views, etc.
- Links to content (i.e. websites) expressing overt, non-historical racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+ views, etc.
Can students include games and quizzes in their presentation?
Yes! As long as it is an original creation by the student, having a game or quiz could be fun for judges and viewers. If a student wants to create a game as the main vehicle of their presentation, it may best fit in the Creative Presentation category.
What about copyright infringement online, especially in videos?
As an educational project, Heritage Fairs falls under “fair use” for copyright purposes. Therefore, as long as students document their sources and give credit for photos, video clips, etc., their projects are not infringing on copyright.
Can students include copyrighted music in their projects?
As long as credit is given, music falls under “fair use” if it is part of a video or audio clip in a project about the performers or writers of that music. It also falls under “fair use” if the student sings the song or a portion thereof, or if the student parodies the song.
However, music does not fall under “fair use” if it is being featured in a project on a topic unrelated to the performers or writers, especially if it is just as background music. For example, a clip of “My Heart Will Go On” is fair use in a project about Celine Dion (the song’s singer), but not in a project about the Titanic disaster. Students can obtain written permission from the copyright holder of any piece of music, but they are encouraged to use royalty-free music.
What about videos, such as Heritage Minutes? Can students include these in their projects?
As long as credit is given (especially if the clip is linked from the project directly to the copyright holder’s website or social media channel), students can include videos or video clips that they did not produce themselves. They can also include these clips directly into their own videos as long as credit is given.
What documentation do students (or their teachers) need to provide to Heritage Saskatchewan to prove that there is no copyright infringement in their project?
If a student explicitly received written permission in a situation where it is warranted, a copy of that email would be sufficient. (The email would remain in the project file and not be part of the project online.) Otherwise, no documentation is required.
Does “fair use” still apply when there is a contest aspect to the Heritage Fair?
Yes. These are still educational resources and the primary purpose of Heritage Fairs is education. Neither the student nor Heritage Saskatchewan is profiting financially from the projects.