Photo credit: Michel Turgeon. 1984. AGQ-F0187/S6/SS1/D1. Fonds Association des bonnes gens sourds. Collection of the Archives gaies du Québec
“Walls Have Ears: The Stories of Montreal’s Queer Spaces”
Taking inspiration from queer mapping projects Queering the Map and Mapping Montreal’s Queer Spaces, the project Walls have Ears: The Stories of Montreal’s LGBTQ2S+ Spaces seeks to not only put the diverse experiences of LGBTQ2S+ people on a map, but also to render them audible and combine different types of media. The project presents oral history narrations as well as historical capsules about important queer neighbourhoods. As such, it highlights spaces that are important for the participants all while giving historical context to Montreal’s LGBTQ2S communities.
The exhibit is a pilot project – it is a testament to what is possible to achieve in terms of public history exhibits even in pandemic conditions. Even with limited resources, the exhibit highlights the sometimes contradictory realities that exist or have existed for LGBTQ2S+ people. As with our own memory, the project combines multiple times and spaces in a simultaneous manner. Hopefully, the project will inspire larger and more elaborate projects combining oral history and mapping. As well, the project is designed to inspire greater collaboration between queer archives across Canada and even worldwide. Keeping in mind the accessibility of knowledge, especially given that LGBTQ2S+ topics are optional and often introduced at post-secondary level in the Quebec schools, Walls have Ears will always remain available online at the site of the Archives gaies du Québec.
Biography: Vic Samoylenko is an Undergraduate in the Public History stream at Concordia, planning to graduate in Winter 2021. Their research interests include U.S. History post Civil War and LGBTQ2S history. Outside of history, they are also interested in linguistics and horror studies. In 2018, Vic published an article about the STI metaphors in the movie It Follows, in the student section of local horror studies journal Monstrum. In an ideal world, they would like to create a project that combines the topics of history, stigma, linguistics, and horror. In their free time, Vic likes to draw and write fiction.
“Cultural Institutions, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter Movement”
The COVID-19 pandemic has called attention to the interconnections of a wide range of social issues, such as racial inequalities, climate change, and poverty, as well as the ways in which these relate to the relevance and accessibility of cultural institutions to diverse communities. This project aims to contribute to the emerging discussion regarding the translation of museum exhibits and other programming to the digital realm due to COVID-related social distancing, as well as broader debates about museums’ responses and responsibilities as pertains to the global wave of protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The goal of this research is to survey and analyze the fundamental issues in museums and the effects that the pandemic has had on seven key institutions in Montreal. Through an analysis of social media, online content, events and publications, I aim to answer the following questions: how well do museums interact and reach various communities in this city? In what ways did the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement shift the ways in which they do so? I hope this survey of museums’ current responses, successes, and failures can serve as a toolkit for stimulating new kinds of partnerships among museums and communities, and for the reimagining of the museum space as a whole.
Biography: Marie-Odile Samson is currently in her third and final year in the Public History Honours program. She is particularly interested in twentieth century European history, the study of genocides and events of mass violence, and the role of memory. She plans on pursuing her studies at the Master’s level either in Museum Studies or Peace and Conflict Studies, in the hopes of extending her historical knowledge to a broader and social educative purpose, either through curatorial work or conflict resolution.
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