During the winter of 2015-2016, Harpswell Coastal Academy (HCA) students interviewed 13 people who live and/or work in and around coastal villages such as Cundy’s Harbor. The interview subjects all shared a reliance on, and vested interest in, the viability of the working waterfront, as well as a deep and abiding connection to the community.  Students asked interviewees a broad range of questions, engaging them on subjects such as growing up in Cundy’s Harbor, fishing in Casco Bay, and responding to the rapidly changing economic and climatic landscape of coastal Maine. They developed probing questions and, over the course of the project, forged meaningful personal relationships with their interview subjects. Students then compiled and transcribed dozens of hours of digital audio recording, and crafted compelling narratives from the footage.

Voices of the Working Waterfront positioned students as historians and archivists, charged with preserving the rich cultural heritage of Cundy’s Harbor. The project design was based on the premise that listening is an act of human connection, and this proved true both for the students and the residents they interviewed. HCA students listened, inquired, learned, and reflected – and in the process, they deepened their own connections to working waterfront villages, such as Cundy’s Harbor and its people. The product of these efforts is a series of oral histories that capture tales of tradition, resilience, and innovation, told by the people who lived them in Midcoast Maine.

The project is a collaborative effort of Harpswell Coastal Academy and Holbrook Community Foundation.


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