Shoe Project

Now in its third year, The Shoe Project grew from the efforts of three women: Novelist Katherine Govier, who wanted to help immigrant women polish their writing skills in English, BSM Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, who was interested in presenting immigration stories at the Bata Shoe Museum, and a private sponsor, who wanted to help women newcomers to Canada.

Forty women from Turkey, Iran, Syria, Poland, Japan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, South Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and other countries have participated in its sessions. During each ten-week session twelve women meet weekly at the Bata Shoe Museum. Over tea and samosas or chunks of Turkish delight, they share and write deeply personal memoirs about the scarcity of shoes in a Syrian refugee camp, a Japanese coming of age ceremony involving shoes, and a beloved pair of dancing shoes in Sri Lanka.

The Shoe Project was the subject of two Ideas episodes hosted by Paul Kennedy on CBC Radio. It has been featured in Here! magazine in Victoria, BC and the University of Alberta Alumnai magazine. The Shoe Project members were invited to share their stories with students at Mohawk College in Hamilton and Bow Valley College in Calgary.

The Shoe Project is sponsored by the Mary A. Tidlund Foundation.

A Snapshot Exhibition of Shoe Stories will be on display at the Bata Shoe Musuem starting on April 3rd.

Stories from the 3rd and 4th sessions and more media can be found at

Click here to see the first set of essays from "The Shoe Project": Session One - Stories 1-12"
Click here to see the second set of essays from "The Shoe Project": Session Two - Stories 13-22"
Click here to see the second set of essays from "The Shoe Project": Session Three - Stories 23-35"

"The Shoe Project" - Session Four - Table of Contents

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