Founded in 1983, the Archives gaies du Québec is a non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring, conserving, and preserving any handwritten, printed, visual or audio material which testifies to the history of the LGBTQ+ communities of Quebec. We spoke with Simone, Clémence, and Marion, from the Archival Team, to find out more about what they do.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
The Archives gaies du Québec (AGQ) has the mandate to acquire, conserve and preserve any handwritten, printed, visual or audio material which testifies to the history of the LGBTQIA2S+ communities of Quebec. Our collections are available for public consultation of all kinds (research, art project, personal interest).
Our team’s work is fairly varied. It consists in part in welcoming visitors and helping them to the best of our abilities with their queeries. We are also currently taking an exhaustive inventory of all our collections. We do some preservation work on archival material. We meet potential donors for new archival material. We fundraise for the AGQ to be able to maintain its activities, and apply for grants. Among other things !
What problem does it aim to solve?
The Archives gaies du Québec (AGQ) are community archives which was built from the ground up in 1983 (40 years ago this year!) by volunteers and members of the community who saw there was a lack of LGBTQ documentation in larger institutions and felt a strong need to create such a space, to preserve a trace of LGBTQ history in the province.
When did you start/join it?
We each started at different times. Simone joined the team in 2021, whereas Clémence and Marion joined in 2022. Clémence and Marion are working for the AGQ on a salary grant from Emploi-Québec, for a six-month contract.
What made you want to get involved?
We may come from various backgrounds (visual arts, library studies, theatre), but we are all moved by the AGQ’s mission and drawn to how many stories, feelings, reflections, activist struggles, and so much more, are found in the archives.
What was the situation like when you started?
Up until recently, the AGQ was run by a dedicated team of volunteers. Now, while we still have amazing volunteers helping with the AGQ’s work, there are some employees, most of them part-time. Thanks to government grants, there can be up to two full-time employees for six-month contracts in a given year. Since this is a fairly new change for the AGQ, we are often brainstorming in order to make the most out of this turnover of employees.
How has it changed since?
In the past year, we have acquired new archives for our funds and our collections. We have started taking an updated inventory of our collections. We are also working on creating handbooks for the new employees to come to help pass along our experience and acquired
What more needs to be done?
There is a lot to do for sure! As mentioned, we are currently taking inventory of our collections (posters, periodicals, zines, books, pulps, press clippings, various objects, etc.). We are also working toward processing the archival fonds we have, and making them all
accessible to the public. We would love to have an online catalogue people can browse through! We also want to reach out to more people about potential donations, with special attention to people and communities who are currently less represented in our archives.
How can our readers help?
You can talk about us to your friends or organizations you think might be interested in donating their archives! Due to limited staff capacity, we are currently not accepting new acquisitions, but we will gladly take note of your interest, and get back to you in August when we will be open for donations again. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! At the
moment, we are specifically looking for volunteers to help us with our periodical inventory. (French is an asset, but not necessary)
If you can, you can also help us financially through our website.
Do you have any events coming up?
We sometimes host workshops in collaboration with different people or organizations. To be updated, subscribe to our newsletter ��
Where can we follow you?
Our website, and subscribe to our newsletter
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
We want to highlight the wonderful work of the Archives lesbiennes du Québec which has been preserving and disseminating lesbian memory and history since 1983!