Month-Long Intensive Undergrad Digital Collections Lab


We have been eagerly prepping to welcome five new undergraduate researchers to the Collaboratory team for the Month of May. Thanks to generous support from the Jackman Humanities Institute’s Scholars in Residence program, we will be running an intensive, Digital Collections Lab out of the CLGA for four weeks. Students will build three new digital collections documenting art and activist work by queer, trans, and people of colour in Toronto. We’ll be introducing the students and each project in detail over the next two weeks, but for now, here is a preview of each project and the background readings students will be doing to prep for the lab. Together we will digitize new materials, write metadata, research, curate, and build these digital collections using the CLGA’s Omeka site. Students will be introduced to critical issues in queer, transfeminist, and P.O.C.-centred Digital Humanities, and practice making online content as a scholarly practice.

Undergraduate “Scholars in Residence” Intensive Digital Humanities Lab

Introductory Reading List

General Trans and Queer Issues in Digitization

Daniel C. Brouwer & Adela C. Licona. 2016. Trans(affective)mediation: feeling our way from paper to digitized zines and back again. Critical Studies in Media Communication 33.1: 70–83, DOI: 10.1080/15295036.2015.1129062

South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) “Not a Place on the Map” Desh Pardesh Oral History Project.

These interviews reflect on Toronto’s Desh Pardesh festival (1988–2001), a multidisciplinary arts festival that showcased underrepresented and marginalized voices within the South Asian diaspora. In collaboration with SAVAC, we will produce a digital collection that streams these born-digital interviews with artists and activist of colour, and brings additional context to the interviews through digitized visual materials that document the festival.

Take a look at SAVAC’s website, and in particular, read the “History” page in full.

Sharon Fernandez. 2006. More than Just an Arts Festival: Communities, Resistance, and the Story of Desh Pardesh. Canadian Journal of Communication 31.1 (10 pgs).

Leah Lakshmi Piepznsa-Samarasinha. 2004. Artists, Rebels, Warriors: Desh Pardesh’s Legacy and the Future of Radical South Asian Art. Fuse Magazine 27.4.

Also see additional Desh Pardesh Materials (3 videos and program guide, attached)

Mirha-Soleil Ross Digital Collection

Mirha-Soleil Ross (b. 1969, Montréal) is a transsexual media artist, activist, and sex-worker, who lived in Toronto from the early 1990s until 2008, the period covered by her archives at CLGA. Ms. Ross’ collection provides an unparalleled record of trans art and activist histories in the city and we will be building three digital collections based on these materials: 1) A “Counting Past 2” Collection, documenting this path-breaking transgender arts and culture festival, organized by Ms. Ross and others; 2) A Gendertrash collection, documenting the zine produced by Ms. Ross and Xanthra Mackay; 3) A Yapping Out Loud collection, contextualizing Ms. Ross’s celebrated 2002, one-woman show.

Viviane Namaste. 2005. Beyond Image Content: Examining Transsexuals’ Access to the Media, 51–73. In Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism. Toronto: Women’s Press.

This Collaboratory/CLGA Blog Post on Processing Ms. Ross’ Collection.

Foolscap Oral History Project

A series of 40 oral history interviews completed by John Grube and Lionel Collier in the early 1980s. The interviews are primarily with gay men who reflect on life in Toronto in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. We will be producing a digital collection based on these recently digitized tapes, which will offer streaming audio and provide background on gay life in the city during this period.

David Churchill. 2004. Mother Goose’s Map: Tabloid Geographies and Gay Male Experience in 1950s Toronto. Journal of Urban History 30.66: 826–852.

Tim McCaskell. 2016. Page 1–73 of Queer Progress: From Homophobia to Homonationalism. Toronto: Between the Lines Press.

John Grube. 1997. ‘No More Shit': The Struggle for Democratic Gay Space in Toronto. In Queers in Space: Communities/Public Places/Sites of Resistance, edited by Gordon Brent Ingram, Anne-Marie Bouthillette, and Yolanda Retter, 127–45. San Francisco: Bay Press.

Digital Collections to get Inspired

Komagata Maru Archive
Provides history on the South Asian diaspora in Canada.

Black Liberation Archive
Uses Neatline, an Omeka plugin that might be useful for some of our digital collections.

AIDS Activist History Project
A recent digital history project that uses the same software (Omeka) that we will be using.