2018: A Year Of Collection And Reinvention
This has been an exciting and busy year, with a new Strategic Plan set in motion, a name change on the horizon, and, of course, many important stories collected, archived, and shared with the world.
A New Name
In 2018, we began moving forward with The ArQuives’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which included the task of developing a new name. After wide consultation with our communities and much discussion with volunteers, donors, and researchers, we’re delighted to be moving forward with a new name: The Arquives!
Our graphic designer is currently designing a new logo and look for the roll-out of our new name in 2019. We believe this name will better represent our holdings and evolving focus, our commitment to inclusivity and the broader LGBTQ2+ community, and will take us forward in the upcoming decades. Welcome to The Arquives, everyone!
Events and Outreach
In pursuit of sharing our stories, The ArQuives collaborated on a number of events and exhibitions in 2018, as well as continued our well-regarded LGBTQ2+ Heritage in The Village Tours with an exciting new script.
In March 2018, the 519 hosted Jeanne B ‘93: A Gendertroublemaker Arrives, an exhibit of the work of transsexual artist and activist Mirha-Soleil Ross drawing from The ArQuives’s collections and curated by Sid Cunningham, as part of the Myseum:Intersections festival.
Also at the 519 and part of the Myseum:Intersections festival, the exhibit Escondidos No More featured the Latinx queer community in Toronto. See our website for an interview with exhibit contributor, Rico Rodriguez.
Our June 5th event Promiscuous Archiving: The Joys of Curating Queer Black Legacies was a success and a video is now available online if you missed it.
On September 29, our Nuit Blanche exhibition, The W(hole) Picture, done in partnership with the Glory Hole Gallery, was viewed by hundreds of people. A total of 650 visitors were able to navigate around our ongoing construction site and come through the back door and see LGBTQ2+ history and artistry.
Finally, we have some exciting upcoming projects for 2019. In partnership with the Canadian History Society, The ArQuives is working on a series of short videos on Canadian queer history. We were also awarded a grant from the Canada History Fund to assist in the creation of the book Queer Canadiana: LGBTQ2+ Moments & Movements in Canada. We have exhibitions, workshops, and speakers lined up for next year so please watch for more information.
The House – And Accessibility Improvements
As you may have noticed if you’ve been to the Isabella Street location recently, the front of the building has been under construction with a temporary entrance at the back while the contractor builds a ramp and modifies the front door to make our street-facing entrance fully accessible. The project is well underway and we expect a completion date by the end of December. The construction and repair of our “out-of-service” elevator was completed in early November and our second-floor exhibition space is once again physically accessible.
Meanwhile, supported with funds from the Pride and Remembrance Run and many dedicated volunteer hours, we’ve been updating and integrating all our databases into a single digital hub to make it easier to catalogue and describe our essential collections. The system integration is Phase I of creating a fully accessible Online Digital Hub. The launch of our online hub is scheduled for February, at which point people will be able to search our collections from any digital device, anywhere in the world.
In 2018 many people and organizations donated their collections, broadening the scope of our materials, including: Supporting Our Youth (SOY), The Inside Out Festival, Anton Wagner’s filmography, Monica Forrester, and 2-Spirited of the First Nations (Toronto). In addition to new collections, we have made significant progress in formally processing large collections.
Thanks to a grant from Library and Archives Canada, Lucie Handley-Girard, our full-time archivist, took on the herculean task of processing and cataloguing The Body Politic Collection—more than 130 boxes of material representing a significant part of our history and our collections. Check out an article on what the material reveals about women’s roles in The Body Politic.
Lucie is also processing the Coalition of Lesbian and Gay Rights of Ontario (CLGRO) Collection, approximately 75 boxes worth of materials. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s the CLGRO was a broad coalition involved in the struggle for full human rights for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. They were instrumental in securing “sexual orientation” as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Ontario Human Rights Code in 1986.
People at The Archives: Volunteers and Staff
Over the course of 2018 many new faces have been added to our group of dedicated volunteers; we conducted three full orientation sessions and continue to receive applications for the new year. We also had a number of interns, who made significant contributions to our outreach and communications initiatives. We welcomed two new administrative staff, funded by individual donors and the Guardians of the Archives: Jennifer Aja Fernandes as the Community Outreach Coordinator and Carmen Tang as the Administrative Assistant. We have also received several grants and a corporate sponsorship to hire archivists to help process, understand, and preserve our collections. Charly Wreggitt rejoins us as an Archives Assistant.
Stefanie Martin joined The ArQuives for the summer as a Young Canada Works Archives Assistant. In addition to processing collections, she also updated several collection descriptions to make them compliant with the Rules for Archival Descriptions. This will help to improve our service to our users and facilitates the exchange of information between local, national, and international archives. All her work will be added to the new database system to make the collections easier for researchers to find.
The ArQuives (formerly known as The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives) will be closed from December 21th to January 2nd. We look forward to people joining us as we become The ArQuives in the New Year and being part of the exciting events and work preserving and sharing our stories in the year ahead!