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A guide to accessing archival materials at ECU and online. Includes information on key archival concepts, online archives resources and archival citations.

Selected Archival Materials

Archival materials laid out on a white background: two black and white photographs of ceramic works, a teal two-ring booklet, an open journal with cursive writing, a teal 1930s prospectus, and an audio cassette inside a green and clear SONY-branded case.
Archival materials laid out on a white background: a grey box of slides, three slides of computer generated art, an open two-ring notebook with architectural sketches, and several student cards from the Vancouver school of art (two orange, from the school years 1973/74, and 1974/75, and one white and blue from 1972/73).
Archival materials laid out on a white background: a black and white photograph of a woman standing in front of a circle of seated children, two audio cassettes (one in a blue case, one in green), and a stack of three colourful Emily Carr College of Art and Design Outreach pamphlets.
Archival materials laid out on a white background: a notebook with one page full of cursive writing and the other with a news clipping attached to it, a group of 5 VHS tapes standing on end with blue spine labels saying PEMC, and three black and white photographs with students wearing costumes.
Archival materials laid out on a white background: a colour photograph showing the roofing of the Granville Island campus, a 1948/49 prospectus for the Vancouver School of Art (cream, with red lettering and a greyscale print of a houseplant), an open booklet with a doodle of a plant and cursive writing, and five backlit slides showing chair designs.
Archival materials laid out on a white background: two black and white photographs - an instrucotr teaching and the interior roof of the Granville Island campus, an open notebook with 'The Minutes of the Art Students' Club of the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts' written in decorative writing, and an open prospectus with a teal outside cover showing around the edges, with part time courses listed on one page and a black and white print on the facing page.
Archival materials laid out on a white background: an open prospectus listing course on one pag - with black and white images of student works on the facing page, a teal notebook with red corners and spine - 'Records' is embossed in gold at the centre, a white audio casette, and a gold image of an ancient Egyptian-styled crocodile dancing and playing the lyre.

Archival Research at ECU

About the ECU Archives

The ECU Archives acquires, preserves and makes available records documenting the history of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, its various faculties, departments and governing bodies. Additionally, to supplement the information in the University's institutional records, the ECU Archives acquires the private papers of faculty members, administrators and alumni; as well as the records of independent students, alumni and employee organizations.The holdings consist of a broad range of materials including publications, textual records, course calendars, video recordings, audio recordings and photographs dating from 1925 to present.

The Archives supports the research of faculty, students, alumni and scholars through access; and supports teaching/enhancing curriculum as appropriate.

At this time, access to the physical materials in the ECU Archives are available by appointment only. If you are interested in using the ECU Archives please contact to arrange a time.

The ECU Archives also includes a great selection of digitized archival material that can be found online as part of the eCollections at Emily Carr; some digitized material is also available in the Archives database

Due to the long and migratory history of ECU, some of the records pertaining to the history of the school exist in other archives. ECU was under the direction of the Vancouver School Board from 1925 until ca.1965 when it then became a part of Vancouver Community College until 1978. The Vancouver School Board Archives contains photographs and annual reports. The Vancouver Community College Library & Archives also contains materials related to ECU including a small selection of photographs available online.

How can I visit the ECU Archives?

The ECU Archives + Special Collections are open by appointment to students, faculty, staff, visiting scholars and artists, researchers and members of the general public. Contact the Archives to request a research time, schedule an orientation or meeting: See Tips for Archival Research for information on how to start your research process.

What can I expect when I arrive at the Archives?

When you arrive for the first time at the Archives, you can expect to meet with the Archivist or Library Staff Member. You will be able to talk about the kind of research you wish to do and what you are hoping to find. Researchers wishing to use the ECU Archives will be required to complete a one-time Research Agreement form.

The materials in the care of the ECUAD Archives + Special Collections are valuable one-of-a-kind and unique; therefore, there are some regulations for research and access to the materials. At this time, researchers are not able to browse the ECU Archives & Special Collections storage area. For security reasons, the researcher may have access to one box or file at a time. All ECU Archives & Special Collections materials are non-circulating and must stay in the Artists' Book room (C1245). Exceptions may be made for ECU faculty or staff on a case-by-case basis.

Food and drinks (including water) may not be consumed in the Artists' Book room. You may take breaks to eat and drink in the main Library space. You will be able to use a pencil to make notes; however, pens will not be permitted in the Reading Room as accidental ink-marks can be caused by even the most careful researchers, and marks from pens cannot be removed from materials without damaging them.

Researchers may take their own photographs of research material with approval of ECU Archives staff for personal use. Images cannot be published (including anywhere online) without further permission. Due to the fragile nature of archival materials, photocopies and scans must be made by ECU Archives + Special Collections staff. The use of certain documents may be restricted by statute (in particular the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act), or by the original donor. The researcher must assume full responsibility for fulfilling the terms connected with the use of restricted material. For the protection of its holdings, the ECU Archives reserves the right to restrict the use of unprocessed material, those of exceptional value, and fragile materials.

Archives Instruction

Archives instruction can introduce and expand upon knowledge of archival concepts, theory, and research. The session can be a general introduction or structured around specific assignments/curriculum. Students will work directly with archival materials from the ECU Archives and learn how to find, access and contextualize primary and historical sources.

ECU Archives database (AtoM) 

The ECU Archives database runs on AtoM, an open-source application for standards-based archival description and access, and the database is the best place to start searching for archival records. The Archives database consists of descriptions of the Archives’ holdings and includes many different features for browsing and searching through archival materials. Not all of the Archives' holdings are on AtoM at this time: new descriptions and, eventually, digitized records (digital objects) are continually being added to the database.  

If you find archival materials in the database that you would like to view, you can make an appointment by sending an email to You’ll need to make note of the title and reference code. See "Find Archival Materials at ECU" for more information on how to search for archival records in AtoM. 

ECU Archives eCollections

Digitized materials from the Emily Carr University Archives are currently found on our eCollections.

The eCollections at Emily Carr contains the following:

Academic Calendar Archive - This collection contains scanned academic calendars from 1925 to 2011. These calendars include information on course offerings, curriculum, campus facilities, faculty, and significant dates.

Archival Photographs - This collection includes hundreds of digitized photographs dating back to 1925. These photographs show school sites, buildings, students, events, artworks and more!

Student Publication Archive - The Student Publication Archive contains digitized copies of student publications from 1925 until 2014. Publications include: Paint Box, Behind the Palette, Toucan, X Student Newsletter, The Paper, Planet of the Arts, T'art, Influx, Some Magazine and Woo.

University Publications - This collection consists of publications created by ECUAD and includes ECU Event Posters, Current - Design Research Journal, and em dash Community Bulletin (2008-2009).

Degree Exhibition Documentation - This collection includes documentation of the annual Emily Carr Degree Exhibition (previously know as Grad Show). Each year includes images of individual works and installation views. The library has Degree Exhibition photo documentation on CD-ROM since 2003. These can be found in the library catalogue. Previous to 2003 slides were taken of individual works. These slides are kept in the Library Archives and are undergoing restoration work. For more information contact

Graduate Student Theses - Theses work from the Masters of Applied Arts, Masters of Design, and Low Residency Masters programs at Emily Carr University of Art and Design from 2008 until present.       604-844-3840        520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC