Month: May 2017

Affect in the Mirha-Soleil Ross Archive

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Archival objects can be powerful and moving. When they are centred around LGBTQ people, they can bring hope and joy. Some objects found  in the Mirha-Soleil Ross fonds demonstrates this hopefulness to me. In her collection Mirha-Soleil Ross donated some pictures that were professionally taken of her and her partner at the time, Xanthra Phillippa MacKay. When Ms. Ross donated the photos to the CLGA, she attached a note requesting that we digitize them soon, showing […]

Foolscap Oral Histories and Gay Bar Culture in Toronto and Mexico City

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For the past few weeks I have been reading transcripts of the interviews that John Grube conducted in the 1980s with Canadian gay men born in the first half of the twentieth century. One of the most interesting topics in the interviews is the experiences that these men had with the gay bar culture in Toronto during the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Going to bars or “beverage rooms” was instrumental in their coming out experience, […]

Foolscap: The Social Responsibility of Digitizing Erasure

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Listening to the Foolscap interviews, it seems impossible to have been in Toronto in the 1960s without realizing that the St Charles Tavern was a hotbed of gay activity. However, researching press coverage of the bar, it’s clear that this watering hole’s queerness was fairly hidden from most of the public in the 1960s. A brief review of Globe and Mail articles between the 1940s and 1960s rarely link homosexuality to the St. Charles Tavern. It’s […]

Desh Pardesh: Historicizing a new brown, queer artist scene in Toronto

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“Not a Place on the Map” is an oral history project initiated by the South Asian Visual Arts Center (SAVAC), concerning Desh Pardesh, the queer South Asian arts festival in the 90’s which ran roughly from 1988 to 2001. Interviews show that Desh provided a sense of community and gave a platform for marginalized artists. The Collaboratory, SAVAC, the CLGA, and the Jackman Scholars in Residence are working to exhibit these interviews in a digital […]

Desh Dies? Sifting through emotions in the Desh Pardesh collection

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Over the past couple weeks, my research partner, Alisha, and I have been working through a number of interviews conducted in 2014-2015 with various participants of the Desh Pardesh festival. We’ve been weaving through text-heavy transcripts, and even transcribing a few audio interviews, but in the past couple of days we’ve been finally able to come in contact with the real archives. Seeing material outside of reflection or storytelling is a completely different experience. The […]

Reading gendertrash

publishing / trans history

I spent a lot of my first week at the CLGA looking through and digitizing materials related to Mirha-Soleil Ross’ and Xanthra Phillippa MacKay’s zine gendertrash from hell, published from 1993-1995. One of my favourite images I have come across was a drawing of four femme figures holding hands on a yellowing piece of paper. Below the figures, drawn in purple pen, text reads “TRANSSEXUAL SISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL!!!” This image is published in black and […]

Oral History Podcasting Workshops

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We are big fans of Morgan M. Page’s One From the Vaults trans history podcast, which brings out “all the dirt, gossip, and glamour from trans history.” Her work is a great example of how the podcast form can enliven public history, a project we are trying to emulate here at the Collaboratory. As part of our Scholars in Residence Digital Collections lab, we’re learning how to make radio documentaries using the oral history tapes we have been […]

New Lab Projects Update

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We’ve just updated our projects pages with details about the digital collections we are building right now as part of our intensive, four-week Digital Collections Lab for undergraduate students. The projects are: 1) The Mirha-Soleil Ross Archives 2) “Not a Place on the Map.” Digital Collection for Desh Pardesh Festival oral history project, partnership with the South Asian Visual Arts Centre 3) Foolscap Oral History Project We’ll be posting lots of updates on the lab […]