Looking Back: Looking Forward

 Looking Back: Looking Forward
London Metropolitan Archives:
LGBT History and Archives Conference 2003-2012

Jan Pimblett, Principal Development Officer, London Metropolitan Archives

Ten years ago London Metropolitan Archives established its annual LGBT History and Archives Conference to open up discussion, explore historical evidence and to actively encourage the collecting, preservation and recording of individual and community histories. Collecting, preserving and sharing LGBT histories is essential to provide the balance in the historical record. Without these voices the only story is the official one, those in authority talking about people, not the people speaking for themselves. 

To read the complete paper, please click on "read more"!

Richard Parkinson, British Museum, London, UK: A ‘Great Unrecorded History’: Presenting LGBT History in a Museum for the World

Warren Cup

At the LGBTI ALMS 2012 Conference, Richard Parkinson of the British Museum in London held a key note speach on day 3, in which he told how the British Museum's LGBT history web-trail came about. He also made some observations about collaborations with heritage institutions, and explained his future plans.

Click on read more, to read Richard Parkinson's key note speach!


Emanuela Fiorletta, CLI, Rome, Italy: Lesbian Archives in Italy: The Archives of Collegamento Lesbiche Italiane

"The main objective of Archivia is to let women know that we have a heritage, a history, and that we needn't always start from scratch."

The International Women's House in Rome

Emanuela Fiorletta is an archivist, feminist and lesbian activist. In this paper, she focuses on the issues of conservation and availability of the documents produced by Italian lesbian groups from the Seventies onwards and relates the experience of the only proper Italian lesbian archives, the archives of the Collegamento Lesbiche Italiane, housed at the International Women's House in Rome.

What do you think about the questions Emanuela Fiorletta raises in her paper? How, for instance "can small documentation centers and women documentation centers access state or European Union resources?" And "what strategies can we put in place to collect documents of groups having an informal structure and therefore without any strategies for the conservation of their documentary memory, which have no resources and know-how?" 

To read the complete paper, please click on "read more". Enjoy, discuss, comment and share!


Gabriel Hoosain Khan, GALA, Johannesburg, South Africa: Archival Expansions

"The archive itself becomes a space which actively moves away from the institution, and instead structures itself as an informal and engaging space open to the community and community requests."

Gabriel Hoosain Khan is archivist at the Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA). In this paper, he discusses personal narratives as a crucial part of LGBTI archives. By focusing on three GALA projects as case studies, the Queer Indian project, the Arts for Advocacy project and the GALA youth forum, he reveals that "these personal narratives can be utilized, interpreted and reconfigured as a tool for advocacy and building group identity." 

What do you think about the possibility of using personal narratives for human rights advocacy and community building? Do you know of other insightful examples? To read the full paper, please click on the following link: Gabriel Hoosain Khan's full paper Discuss, comment, share and enjoy!

Andy Sacher, Los Angeles, USA: The Lavender Effect

"Can we retain a distinct 'queer identity' and ethos, while participating fully in society? The Museum and Cultural Center will frame the dialogue by posing the right questions for discussion."

Andy Sacher is the Executive Director of The Lavender Effect project. The idea of the Lavender Effect is to create a LGBTQ Museum and Cultural Center in Hollywood that will "concentrate on the regional history of the LGBTQ movement and its place in world history, as well as the reciprocal influence on our region of LGBTQ contributions to civilization, aiming for an audience of both straights and gays." 

What do you think about the Lavender Effect? How do you think could it be realized? To read the full paper click on the following link:  The Lavender Effect Enjoy, comment, discuss and share!


Tamsin Bookey, Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive, London, UK: Strange bedfellows: improving the accessibility and preservation of LGBTQ archives through partnership

"The importance of the facilities for permanent preservation offered by a potential host should not be underestimated or prioritised significantly behind what might be termed political affinity with the community archive’s own aims and objectives."
rukus! at London Metropolitan Archives
Image courtesy of LMA, City of London
Tamsin Bookey is a committee member and archivist at the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive (LAGNA). In her paper, she explores the case studies of two London-based independent LGBTQ archive collections, LAGNA and rukus!, that are developed and managed by volunteers. She discusses how these two organizations "have recently formed partnerships with mainstream archival institutions which provide storage and access facilities for the collections while the LGBTQ archive group retains ownership, collection development and outreach responsibilities" and explores "whether this type of approach is suitable in the long-term or in other global contexts."

What do you think about the questions Tamsin Bookey raises at the end of her paper. Is it, for instance, "worth building up a collection only to perpetuate storage arrangements which undermine the long-term safety of the collection?"

To read the full paper, click on "read more". Enjoy, discuss, comment and share!


Graham Willett, Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Melbourne, Australia: How Small Collections Can Make a Big Difference Graham Willett, Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives

"The work of community-based archives and other collections is of national significance, and we should celebrate what we do and be proud of it and not be backward in expecting national/state/local institutions to support our work."

Graham Willett is the president of the Australian Lesbian and Gay archives, an independent, community-based, volunteer-operated and non-profit organisation. In this paper, he discusses the relationship that the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives has with "major federal and state museums, archives and heritage organizations" and asks "what (they) – a small, poor, community-based, volunteer-run organisation – have to offer to these larger, richer bodies, and the local, regional and national histories that they serve?"

What do you think can larger institutes learn from organizations like the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives? To read Graham Willett's full paper, click "read more". Discuss, comment, share and enjoy!

Bryan Knicely, Stonewall National Museum & Archives, Fort Lauderdale, USA: Call for Cooperation

"We are hoping that our colleagues from around the world will share these resources with us to post, so we can all help each other in the process of LGBT K-12 curriculum development."

Bryan Knicely from the Stonewall Museum & Archives will hold a session about LGBTI education in the K-12 curriculum at the LGBTI ALMS 2012. As a follow-up of his paper, he, therefore, asks you to cooperate with him and send in materials and best practice resources from your organizations. 

Click on read more, to read Bryan Knicely's full call for cooperation. Read, enjoy and participate!

Sean Curran, London, UK: The Museum Through Queer Eyes: Bringing the "Outsider" Narratives Inside

"Museum collections and exhibitions should perhaps be interpreted under the assumption that everyone is, or has the potential to identify as queer, in that individuality and disparate identities should be celebrated as something we hold in common."

"Hello Sailor! Gay Life on the ocean wave" exhibition at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool
Sean Curran is a PhD student and library assistant at the University of London. In this paper, he asks "whether interpretation in museums and archives should be weighted towards a celebration of a shared queer identity in order to more successfully promote a sense of community amongst a diverse audience." He suggests that this "would make broader steps towards inclusion than the current trend of focusing on difference." 

What do you think? Is ‘threshold fear’ a device to place the blame of those excluded from museum interpretation onto the audience themselves, rather than the institutions? Would ‘queering’ our museums promote a celebration of shared diversity, as opposed to emphasising difference? Can queer interpretation integrate marginal narratives into the flow of museums whilst avoiding tokenism?

Click on read more, to read Sean Curran's full paper!

Sara Rosa Espi, Utrecht, The Netherlands: Preserving Ephemeral texts: Queer Zines in the Archive

"Zines are a form of self-publishing that preceded blogs by many decades, although personal zines cover some of the same content: intimate discussions of childrearing, accounts of heartbreaks and relationships, epic travelogues."
Flyer of "The Queer Zine Archive Project"
Sara Rosa Espi is a PhD student at the University of Utrecht. In this paper, she focuses on the collection of queer zines, a form of self-published personal manuscripts, in archives, libraries and memory projects. She further analyses "how these projects use the concept of the "living archive" in the way that they collect and display the material, and structure community participation in project."  

Do you think that queer zines should be archived or do you agree with Bruce La Bruce that "Queercore fanzines aren’t supposed to be catalogued, historicised and analysed to death, for Christssake"? What do you think about the potential of the notion of the "living archive"

To read Sara Rosa Espi's full paper, please click on the following link: Sara Rosa Espi's paper 
Enjoy, discuss, comment and share!


Angela Brinskele, Mazer Lesbian Archives, West Hollywood, USA: Using Social Media and Oral Histories to promote and gain support for your organization regardless of your budget.

"Every oral history is digitally recorded but now video clips are recorded as well, which we then use to share and promote the project online."  

                                                       Mazer's "True Life Lesbian History Project" 

Angela Brinskele is the Director of Communications for the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives. 
She has been working with the Archives for over five years. Angela is also a professional photographer who has been documenting the LGBT community in Southern California for over 25 years with a special focus on Lesbians. In this paper she gives an overview of how the Mazer Lesbian Archives uses social media "to promote, present, inform and educate as well as gain access to new supporters."

How do you use social media?  How do you raise funds online? What projects do you use to reach out and grab people’s interest?

To read the full paper click on "read more". Share, discuss, comment and enjoy!

James Miller and David DeAngelis, Pride Library, London, Ontario, Canada: Too Hot to Handle: Accessibility Strategies for Culturally Sensitive Materials at the Pride Library, Western University, Canada

"If such materials only came with clear warning labels like hazardous chemicals, we would have little difficulty detecting their dangerous contents or predicting their harmful effects on an unwary reader."
The Homophobic Classics Collection
at the Pride Library in Canada
In this paper, Professor James Miller and David DeAngelis, the Academic Director and Web Developer of the Pride Library at Western University in Canada, discuss "what to do with culturally sensitive materials deemed to be “hazardous” either to its continuity as a centre of free research or to its credibility as a site for resisting censorship". In this paper, they focus on three red-alert donations for which special strategies have been devised and adopted to ensure accessibility. 

What do you think? What should archives do with homophobic materials, "raunchy gay polaroids, kinky sex manuals or secret journals of a closeted celebrity"? And when might a publication actually be "too hot to handle"? 

To read the full paper, click on the following link: James Miller and David DeAngelis' full paper
Enjoy, discuss, comment and be inspired!


Brenda Marston, Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University, Ithaca, USA: Coming full circle: Connecting communities with archival threads in the age of social media

"I know I wouldn't have had as much fun with the American Historical Association conference this winter if it weren't for Facebook."

Brenda Marston is curator at the Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University, "a successful collaboration between community activists and professional archivists that has grown into a substantial resource for research by serious scholars." In her paper, she shares some of their successful strategies in using social media over the past two years and how it changed the work of the organization. She argues that it "lets us realize some of the dreams of earlier generations who saved and protected objects of LGBT history (and) creates paths for these documents to be present and discussed in everyday lives."

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of social media? What works well for you in the land of tweets, foursquare, blogs, and Facebook? 

To read the full article, please click on the following link: Brenda Marston's full paper

Enjoy, share, discuss and be inspired!

Jack van der Wel, IHLIA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: The New Homosaurus: Building a Global More Bisexual & Transgender Inclusive LGBT Thesaurus

"Existing classifications frequently don't fit in information of special concern to gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. As a result, this information is lumped under 'homosexuality', ‘men’ or ‘women’, or is simply inaccessible."
Jack van der Wel is Head of the Collection and Information Services of IHLIA, the International Gay and Lesbian Information Centre and Archives in Amsterdam that is hosting the LGBTI ALMS 2012. In his paper, he reaches out to discuss the development of the new homosaurus, an improved version of the original bilingual legacy thesaurus that was created fifteen years ago. Since 2010 Jack van der Wel has worked together with Ellen Greenblatt from the University of Colorado to transform "the original Homosaurus into a ready-to-use resource for community-based archives, libraries, and documentation centers throughout the world." Particular emphasis is put on making it more bisexual and transgender inclusive.

What are your ideas about making the new homosaurus more up-to-date and inclusive? What do you, for instance, think about adding new headings like "bisexual information centres" or "transgender identity"? 

To read the full article, click on "read more". Enjoy, share, comment and discuss. 


Ed Madden, Columbia, USA: The Irish Queer Archive: Institutionalization and Historical Narrative

"If the stories of Ireland’s lesbian and gay communities and its queer cultures are now symbolically 'part of the national story,' what stories does the Irish Queer Archive tell—or more importantly, what stories does it allow to be told?"
The National Library of Ireland
where the Irish Queer Archives are based in
Ed Madden is an associate professor for English and Women's Studies at the University of South Carolina. In this paper, he points out the dangers of archives producing a certain historical narrative that excludes other parts of LGBTI histories. Examining the Irish Queer Archive, he reveals that queer history presented in the IQA, for instance, is "primarily a narrative of political and AIDS organizing, obviating the messier and more heterogeneous cultural and social histories of lesbian and gay Ireland—sex clubs and club nights, gay rugby and other forms of seemingly non-political community development, posters, zines." 

What do you think about some of the questions Ed Madden raises at the end of his paper? Do you, for example, think that "the institutionalization of gay history (is) part of the ongoing normalization and commodification of gay and lesbian culture—and if so, what resources does the archive offer to resist those current cultural and political imperatives?"  

Lisa Vecoli, Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies, Minneapolis, USA: The Power of a Community Advisory Board

"With proper investment, Community Advisory Boards have the potential to be (...) a tool for engagement, for donor solicitation and for accountability and trust building."

The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota is is an international LGBT collection that houses over 30 000 items. Lisa Vecoli has been a Board Member for Tretter Collection for 12 years and is now the staff member of the archive. In this paper, she describes the advantages of a a Community Advisory Board to interact with LGBTI communities and society at large. 

What do you think are the advantages and challenges of a Community Advisory Board? To read the full paper click on "read more". Enjoy, discuss, comment and share.


Anna Borgos and Kriszta Pozsonyi, Labrisz Lesbian Association, Budapest, Hungary: Secret Years: Fragments of a Hungarian Lesbian Herstory

"As suggested by the title of the project, the interviewees talk about the “secret years” of their lives as lesbians: about women, love, family, work, being in the closet and coming out, and happiness and pain during state socialism and after the democratic transition in Hungary." 
Cafè Muskátli, a meeting place
for gays and lesbians in Budapest in 1984

In this paper, Anna Borgos and Kriszta Pozsonyi from the Labrisz Lesbian Association in Hungary discuss the lesbian herstory project that they introduced in 2008. They collected, archived and published the life stories of lesbians aged 45 and older. Moreover, they used some of the interviews to make the documentary "Secret Years" that premiered at the LIFT Fesival in 2009. Through their project they increased the visibility of older lesbian women in Hungary and uncovered unexplored elements of Hungarian history like the "lesbian colony" Szatina or the urban lesbian underground scene during the socialist regime. 

What do you find most inspiring about the lesbian herstory project? And what do you think about the idea of not only publishing the women's life stories but also turning them into a documentary? 

To read the full paper, click on "read more". And like always, comment, share, discuss and enjoy!

Kate Davison, Australia: Agents of Social Change? LGBT Voices in Australian Museums

"It is time now for LGBT histories in Australia to take their due place not only out on the streets but also within the custodial powerhouses of our national narrative – our museums, libraries and archives."

Kate Davison is currently a research assistant at the Centre for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. In this paper she discusses how to make LGBTI history more visible in Australia. She explores the work of institutions like the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA), the Museum Victoria and the State Library of Victoria and examines how such work can be continued and improved. Complementing, the paper by Graham Willet ("Playing Well With Others"), she further examines the question of how larger institutions can "institutionalize" their support to make it more sustainable.

What do you think about the projects like the LGBT Material Survey that Kate Davison presents in her paper? And do you agree that larger institutions should get involved in "unearthing, documenting and representing LGBT history?

To read Kate Davison's full paper click on "read more". Please comment, discuss, enjoy and share. 


Suzie Day, Australia: Subverting the system: Catering to the LGBTI community in your library when your boss says “no dough”

"You are showing a young teenager that you won’t laugh at them for wanting to find out about safe sex. No matter what you do, you will be inspiring hope in other, showing them that they are not alone."

 Genre labels on LGBTI literature
Suzie Day studies Library and Management Studies at Curtin University in Western Australia. In this paper, she gives advice on how to make school and public libraries more attractive to the LGBTI community even when there is no extra funding available. How about, for instance, labeling LGBTI literature with a small pink triangle, or organizing a special event during Pride? 

Which of Suzie Day's tips do you find most helpful? Do you have any other ideas on how to make libraries more appealing to the LGBTI community? 

To read all of Suzie Day's tips, click on "read more". Enjoy, comment, share and discuss!


Tuula Juvonen, Tampere, Finland: Queering Archives and Museums – Raising consciousness about preserving LGBT History in Finland

"In order to remedy the situation, an idea rose among some of the elderly LGBT activists. Why not create a lesbian and gay museum of our own in Finland?" 
Tampere Pride
Tuula Juvonen is a Senior Lecturer for Gender Studies at the University of Tampere. In this paper, she describes the development of a LGBTI community in Finland and the difficulties in establishing LGBTI archives as the small population, the lack of funding and the "limited collective consciousness about a shared history and its value" significantly impeded the process. Nevertheless, she points out how stimulating initiatives are emerging and new projects are being realized. 

How can the situation of LGBT archives in your country be compared to the situation in Finland? And how do you think could the awareness about LGBTI histories in Finland and other countries be further raised?

To read Tulla Juvonen's full paper, click "read more". Enjoy, discuss, comment and share!


Jamie Ann Lee, Tucson, USA: Queer Imaginings of the Archive

"For those of us committed to critically intervening in and opening up the traditional archival constructs while developing queer/ed archival practices, we can see that these traditional practices run the risk of reproducing sexual normativities and social divisions that reflect instead of intervene in social hierarchies."

The Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona
Jamie Ann Lee is a doctoral student in Information Resources and Library Science with a Gender & Women's Studies minor at the University or Arizona. In this essay she talks about the possibilities of queering LGBTI archives and lirbraries. Drawing from her experiences at the "The Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project", she argues that "in considering a queer/ed archive, we must first recognize our complicated and contradictory ways of being, knowing, and living in order to create a space of access that can be creative, fertile, ambivalent, fearful, and hopeful while still holding onto its complexities."

How do you think could and should archives be queered? And what do you think of the Jamie Ann Lee's use of the concept of haunting, "an animated state in which a repressed or unresolved social violence is making itself known, sometimes very directly, sometimes more obliquely"?

Phan Bigotte and Thomas Leduc, Académie Gay et Lesbienne, Paris, France: LGBT archives in France

"They refuse to help us under the pretext that we have some documentation about certain controversial subjects like pornography, BDSM or prostitution."

Phan Bigotte and Thomas Leduc the president and vice-president of the Académie Gay et Lesbienne in Paris, one of the largest LGBTI archives in France. In this paper, Phan Bigotte and Thomas Leduc tell the story of their archive, the fight against AIDS and the difficulties and discrimination they encountered in creating their library. 

What do you think about the questions Thomas Leduc and Phan Bigotte pose in their essay: Should "LGBT archives be managed exclusively by salaried professionals, and directed by scientists or celebrities?" And should archives also include materials such as pornography or homophobe pamphlets or "should LGBTI archives only serve to tell a beautiful legend?

To read the full paper, click "read more". Comment, share, discuss and enjoy.


Sabine Balke Estremadoyro, Spinnboden Lesbenarchiv und Bibliothek, Berlin, Germany: Spinnboden, the lesbian archive and library in Germany and i.d.a. the umbrella organisation of German-language lesbian/women’s libraries, archives and documentation centers

"An important reason why the lesbian archives was founded in Berlin, was that at that time, history was seen only through men's eyes and lesbian culture was totally invisible."
Spinnboden is the largest collection of Lesbian documents in Europe. It was established in the context of the gay and women's liberation movement in Germany in the beginning of the 70s. In this paper, the sociologist and director of Spinnboden Sabine Balke Estremadoyro gives an overview of the archive. She illuminates the digitalization process of the library and asks if "a common data base (could) also be an opportunity for LGBTI archives in Europe to open our collections to a general public"?"

What do you think about the possibilities of data bases? Should we work toward creating international LGBTI- databases or cooperate with large mainstream data bases?

To read Sabine Balke Estremadoyro's full paper, click "read more". Enjoy, comment and share. 


Don McLeod, Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives, Toronto, Canada: Serendipity and the Papers of Magnus Hirschfeld: The Case of Ernst Maass

"I decided to try to solve the mystery of Ernst Maass." 
 Ernst Maass, the only relative present at Magnus Hirschfeld's death.
Maass/Mann Papers, Brooklyn, N.Y. Credit: Don McLeod 
Don McLeod is a librarian, the acquisitions coordinator at the University of Toronto Libraries, and has been a volunteer at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives for more than twenty-five years. In this paper, he discusses his research about Ernst Maass, the grandson of Hirschfeld's maternal uncle Dr Julius Mann, who was the only relative present when Hirschfeld died in 1935. Don McLeod wonders what happened to Ernst Maass. Did he survive the war? Did he receive any of Magnus Hirschfeld's possessions? 

What do you think about that "with the advent of modern research tools such as Google, Ancestry.com, online phonebooks and directories, and the instant communication afforded by e-mail, with good luck important forgotten research materials may be uncovered with a few clicks of the keyboard"? What are the chances and downfalls of these new possibilities of online research?

This paper should be read together with Ralf Dose's paper "Thirty Years of Collecting Our History- Or: How to Find Treasure Troves" about the belongings of Magnus Hirschfeld that we already published  on this blog on the 18.06.2012. You can find it further down this page.

Click "read more" to read Don McLeod's complete paper. Discuss, comment, enjoy and share. 


Danielle Cooper, Toronto, Canada: “’Big Gay Library:’” An exploratory ethnography of the Pride Library at the University of Western Ontario”

"I observed that the archives were not only valued by users for the information they housed, but also for providing a welcoming, social environment that fosters information exchanges of a less material nature."
The Pride Library at the University of Western Ontario
Danielle Cooper is a doctoral student at the School of Gender, Feminist and Women's Studies at York University. At the LGBTI ALMS 2012 she will present on LGBTI archives and libraries as spaces that are not only notable sites for collecting, organizing and disseminating information but also provide room for socializing, networking and community building. We publish the introduction of her master thesis “’Big Gay Library:’” An exploratory ethnography of the Pride Library at the University of Western Ontario” in which she focusses on the Pride Library in London, Canada that she describes as a refuge from the rather conservative University of Western Ontario and the surrounding city.

What do you think about Danielle Cooper's observation that LGBTI archives are also valued for "providing a welcoming, social environment that fosters information exchanges of a less material nature."? How do you think could this aspect of archives and libraries be further increased?

To read Danielle Cooper's introduction to her thesis click "read more". If you would like to read her whole thesis click on the link provided at the end of the document. 


Joseph Hawkins, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, USA: From Community Collection to Professional Archiv, es: A Journey

"History is written by those who save the records; our archival institutions must collect, protect and make available those records, because otherwise an important part of the human experience will disappear."  

Photo of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives

Joseph Hawkins is the current Director of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California Libraries, the oldest active LGBTIQ organization in the United States and the largest collection of LGBTQ materials in the world. In this essay, he shares his fifteen years of experience and discusses the transition of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives from a community collection to a professional archive that cooperates with other institutions in the region, organizes exhibitions and events and hosts more than "7,000 posters, 12,500 videotapes and films, 40,000 books, 9,800 periodical titles and 150,000 buttons, stickers, and other kinds of ephemera".

What do you think about Joseph Hawkins' claim that a "the role of a queer archive should be to preserve the histories of a movement for social equality and not to participate in radical or even moderate activist efforts"? What other insights can you draw from his extensive experience? 


E.G. Crichton, GLBT Historical Society, San Francisco, USA: Migrating Archives

"What is absent is sometimes just as powerful as what can be found tangibly in the archive box or folder."
Photo of one of E.G Crichton's former exhibitions: Lineage: Matchmaking in the Archive II in San Francisco

The LGBTI ALMS 2012 will not only consist out of paper presentations but also involve creative projects. As an Artist-in-Residence at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco E. G. Crichton is inviting you to participate in her art project Migrating Archives.  Please contribute and help her "to create a kind of collective portrait of people who cannot be there, people we want to remember." 
To keep on reading about Migrating Archives please click "read more". 


Amir Hodžić, Croatia: The making of: “Oral History of Homosexuality in Croatia""

"But, what was it like to live as lesbian, gay or bisexual in Croatia/Yugoslavia before the “revolutionary” 2000s, before the emergence of civil society organizations and Internet? (...) Where and how did they meet, socialize, find partners, have sex…? "
Book Cover
Amir Hodžić is an independent researcher and one of the co-authors of "Oral History of Homosexuality in Croatia: Documenting Testimonies about Private and Public Activities of Sexual and Gender Minorities- Precursor of the LGBTQ movement in Croatia". In his paper he describes his research experience of collecting and documenting the personal experiences of lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Croatis/Yugoslavia in the second half of the 20th century. It is an insightful view into the complex research methodologies needed to reveal the immediate experiences of lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Croatia. 

What do you think are the potential benefits of collecting oral histories? What can we learn from Amir Hodžić methodology? Comment, discuss and enjoy. To read Amir Hodžić full paper, click "read more".

Ajamu X, Rukus! Black LGBT Archives, London, UK: Sharing Tongues: Black LGBT Oral Testimonies

"In the few short years of the existence of the rukus! archive no more can our black communities ignore us, nor can the wider gay community marginalise our experiences within its social and cultural history as we place our stories and voice within the English narrative."

rukus! Federation:

rukus! federation in the United Kingdom is a unique LGBTQ group that focuses specifically on the history and lived present of Black LGBTQ people. In this paper, the founders of the Cultural Archive discuss the archive and in particular the project funded by Britain's national lottery: 'sharing tongues'.  An oral history project, sharing tongues captures the testimonies of Black LGBTQ people all over the United Kingdom. In doing so, it continues the process that Rukus! started of placing Black LGBTQ voices into the English LGBTQ narrative.

How should LGBTI archives best address the differences that exist within the LGBTI 'community' throughout the world? How can oral histories best be used to access those different voices? 

Click 'read more' to read all of the paper from rukus!


Aletta - E-Quality, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: A women’s archive and transgender resources: collecting and indexing at Aletta E-Quality

"We’d like to know from you how you define and index transgender resources and how you deal with dilemmas regarding visibility."

In this blog post, Aletta E-Quality (the Amsterdam based institute for Emancipation and Women's History) highlights some of the dilemmas the institute faces when it comes to the visibility of Trans resources. How do you think that archives should best embrace the 'T' in LGBTI? What about intersex? Comment and let Aletta know so that the discussion about this important issue can be started before the conference. 
Click 'read more' to read Aletta's blog piece

Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany: Thirty Years of Collecting Our History - Or: How to Find Treasure Troves

"Reviewing some thirty years of research on the estate of Magnus Hirschfeld and of the Institute for Sexual Science, there is a very simple result: one thing leads to another."

Magnus Hirschfeld

In this paper Ralf Dose describes the thirty year long research on the work of Magnus Hirschfeld, the German sexologist and founder of the Institute for Sexual Science. Ralf Dose offers insights into how the Magnus Hirschfeld society retrieved some of the "Treasure Troves" of Hirschfeld's personal belongings and items from his institute, like his death mask, his exile guest book and a collection of Japanese dildos.

What do you think are the most valuable lessons to be learned from the 30 years experience of the Magnus Hirschfeld society? And whose "Treasure Troves" would you try to retrieve? The full paper can be read below. Feel free to read, comment, discuss and let us know you own experiences.

To read Ralf Dose's full paper click on "Read more"


Don McLeod, Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives, Toronto, Canada: From Paper, to Microform, to Digital? LGBTI Serials at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

"One remarkable fact about the LGBTI serials collection at the CLGA is that is has been formed entirely through donations. There is no budget for serials acquisitions, and all of the holdings have been acquired either through direct donation from organizations and individuals, or through trade with publishers, other libraries and archives, and a few individuals."

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA)  is a dynamic organization with seventy volunteers and a full-time manager.  In this paper, Don McLeod gives an overview of the changing status of the archives. McLeod focuses on the manner of storage, and especially the question of what the chances are of making paper and microform material available to researchers in digital form. 

What do you think about the challenges of moving to digital storage? The full paper can be read below. Feel free to read, comment, discuss and let us know your own experiences.

 Click 'read more' to read Don McLeod's paper


Bart Hellinck, Fonds Suzan Daniel, Gent, Belgium: Fonds Suzan Daniel and our partner-archives: (many) advantages and (some) disadvantages

"Frequently we are asked where the Fonds Suzan Daniel is housed, and if it is in one of the so-called ‘rainbow houses’.  This question requires a complicated and rather time-consuming answer, and sometimes it’s a little bit difficult to explain."
Suzan Daniel

The Fonds Suzan Daniel is a non-profit archive and documentation centre in Belgium. It was named after Suzan Daniel who in 1953 was the first person to start a gay/lesbian group in Belgium. As a neutral, independent and pluralist organization they have been cooperating with mainstream organizations. In his paper, Bart Hellinck reflects upon the challenges of the archive and points out the advantages and disadvantages of their partnerships. 

Do you also think it is important for an LGBTI archive to remain independent and stay out of umbrella organizations?What are your ideas about the challenges the organization faces, for instance, in regard to reflecting the diversity of the "LGBT-community"?