On April 29, 2016, OSQA presented as part of a panel discussion at the Northwest Archivists (NWA) conference in Seattle, WA, and was delighted to share information about its work over the past two years!
This panel discussion, “Queering the Archives: Connecting with Your Local LGBTQ+ Communities”, focused on archival repositories dedicated to documenting and preserving the histories of LGBTQ+ communities. The panelists discussed queer archives theory as well as the challenges and best practices of queer history collecting initiatives from the perspectives of academic university archives as well as a community-based archive. The archives represented in this panel discussion included the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN), the University of Oregon’s (UO) Lesbian Land Collections, and the recently established Oregon State University Queer Archives (OSQA).
Information on the Repositories Represented and the Presenters
GLAPN is a community-based archive established in 1994 in Portland, Oregon. Its partnerships with both the Oregon Historical Society to store collections and Portland State University to have students process and collect content, in addition to a number of other collaborations and initiatives, have enabled GLAPN to develop an extensive and in-depth collection. Robin Will, President of GLAPN (the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest). Currently serving as both president and webmaster of GLAPN, Mr. Will holds a BA in Arts & Letters from Portland State University, and is retired from a career in the publishing industry.
OSQA is an Oregon State University initiative to preserve and share the stories, histories, and experiences of LGBTQ+ people within the OSU and Corvallis communities. OSQA was established in the Fall of 2014 through a partnership between an archivist and an OSU Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies professor. Bradley Boovy, Oregon State University Assistant Professor in World Languages and Culture & Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, is the co-founder of the Oregon State University Queer Archives. His research bridges cultural history, history of sexuality, queer studies, and gender studies and is informed by cultural studies and queer feminist perspectives. He teaches courses both in the World Languages and Cultures Program and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. Boovy joined the OSU community in Fall 2012 after completing his Ph.D. in Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
The University of Oregon’s Special Collections and University Archives lesbian land collections comprise over 13 individual collections including the personal papers of women as well as records of specific communities pertaining to the lesbian separatist movement in America. Linda Long is the manuscripts librarian at the University of Oregon, where she has curatorial responsibility for developing manuscript collections and promoting their use. Long spoke about her efforts to develop the lesbian land community records at UO. Linda holds an M.A. in Archives Administration and History from Case Western Reserve University, and an M.L.S. from Brigham Young University.
The Panel Discussion
The panel began with the panelists answering the question: What does is mean to “queer the archives?” and then shared their thoughts regarding a variety of topics:
- Best Practices When Beginning a Collecting Initiative
- Collection Development Strategies
- Project Successes & Lessons Learned
- Ideas on How to Engage in Successful Outreach Efforts with LGBTQ+ Communities
We recorded the session and it is available online for you to listen!