History Slam 186: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ History at the ArQuives

By Sean Graham

The gaps and underrepresentation of certain voices within traditional archival collections is well established. To fill these gaps, community archives are essential as they collect, preserve, and share the stories of people, groups, and events that have helped shaped life in Canada. One of these community archives is the ArQuives, Canada’s LGBTQ2+ archive. Based in Toronto, the ArQuives works to preserve and share the history of Canada’s LGBTQ2+ community. While acknowledging that there are gaps in the collection, the team has done a fantastic job of both making the collection accessible while also creating physical and digital exhibits that engage visitors in these remarkable stories.

In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Lucie, one of the archivists from the ArQuives, Canada’s LGBTQ2+ archive. We talk about the history of the collection, the acquisition process for a community archive, and importance of preserving voices underrepresented in government archival collections. We also talk about the transitions the ArQuives had to make during the pandemic, ensuring access to digital collections, and what archival research may look like moving forward.

Sean Graham is a historian with Parks Canada, an Adjunct Professor at Carleton University, and a contributing editor with Activehistory.ca

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