All posts filed under: Uncategorized

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 […]

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 […]

Month-Long Intensive Undergrad Digital Collections Lab

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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 […]

Digitizing Oral Histories on VHS

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Over the last several months we have been working toward expanding the formats we are able to digitize in order to preserve and improve access to oral histories recorded on video tape. Our VHS digitization station is now up and running at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. University of Manitoba Historian David Churchill‘s oral history interviews, conducted with gay men in Toronto in 1991, are the first batch of tapes we are working on. Churchill […]

Trans Elders’ Life Histories

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It started innocently enough at a plenary panel the last morning of the Moving Trans* History Forward symposium at the University of Victoria in the spring of 2014. Presenters recounted their experiences in activism, writing and engagement with and within the transgender community. Immediately following the panel, I approached my colleague and friend, Aaron Devor, symposium organizer and now Chair in Transgender Studies at UVic, expressing both enthusiasm and concern. On one hand, I was […]

Bridging the Gap with the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (ALOT)

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By Mary Corbett, ALOT Archivist The Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony collects, digitizes, and makes available online oral testimonies from people who presently or at one time identified as lesbian, and is supported by the Simon Fraser University Library. As part of our recent SSHRC Insight Grant, we are undertaking a study entitled “Bridging the Gap,” which aims to explore methods that an institutionally-hosted online archives (like ALOT) can employ in order to better involve […]