Choo Choo Williams at The Harlem Nocturne, photo courtesy of Deanna Bowen

In honour of the golden anniversary of Bill C-150, a.k.a. Omnibus 69, MediaQueer and The ArQuives are partnering to host a 6-week workshop series in the multimedia event extravaganza 69 Positions: Decriminalization in the queer Canadian archive (1965-1981).  The event  production begins in Montreal, moves to Toronto on February 20 to March 27th and then lands in Vancouver for a two month stint at the SUM Gallery.

MediaQueer, is the custodian of the Queer Media Database Canada-Québec Project which maintains a dynamic, bilingual online catalogue of LGBTQ Canadian film, video and digital works. Since its launch in 2015, the organization has toured Canada’s queer and women’s film festivals with a diverse program of historic queer video and film works and has been a valuable resource for artists, writers, researchers and our communities.

The Toronto iteration of the 69 Positions includes multiple exhibitions, a free film screening night at the Ryerson School of the Image Arts. The crucial documentary You Are on Indian Land (1969, 36 min) by Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell and two other compelling docs: Welcome to Africville (1999, 15) by lesbian video-art maverick Dana Inkster; and prolific Toronto documentarian Nancy Nicol’s Struggle for Choice: part 1 (1986, 31 min) will be screened that night. The ArQuives Workshops – curated by Toronto-based researcher, curator and zine publisher Jenna Lee Fordebegin on Wednesday, February 20th and will run weekly until March 27th – start at 6 p.m., second floor of 34 Isabella Street.

Each workshop features a unique lens through which to explore, commemorate and critique the de-criminalization of queer Canada and will be facilitated by a different artist, historian, activist and filmmaker ensuring a multiplicity of perspectives. The exhibitions complementing the workshops will be produced using rarely seen artifacts, documents and ephemera held in The ArQuives’ collections. The materials will be selected by Jenna Lee Forde with the support and supervision of archivist Lucie Handley-Girard. The content of the exhibitions will be reproduced for the Vancouver leg of the tour. So far, the line-up of workshops includes:

February 20th –  Queer Progress: An Archival Workshop
With activist historian Tim McCaskell on the Toronto of post-decriminalization, 1969-1974

February 27th – The Silent Stacks
Facilitated by Jamie Ross

Thursday March 7th  – The Disappearance Of Spaces For Queer Womxn
Facilitated by Lulu Wei

March 13th –  A Harlem Nocturne
An archival workshop with artist Deanna Bowen on the criminalization of Black nightlife in Vancouver

All events in association with 69 Positions: Decriminalization in the queer Canadian archive (1965-1981) are free and everyone is welcome to be part of it.

The ArQuives / MediaQueer Supporting Archivist Lucie Handley-Girard

Toronto Co-Curator Jenna Lee Forde

Jenna Lee Ford and her dog sitting by a Dyke Family Tombstone

Jenna Lee Forde is a graduate student in Critical Disability Studies at York University.

Her research is invested in queer archives and the magic of lesbian and feminist ephemera in history; she has researched queer made tarot and healing at the Audre Lorde Archives in Berlin and the Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. Jenna has co-curated a zine called Theory Boner, facilitated feminist film nights with Younger Than Beyoncé Gallery, and has a forthcoming zine entitled Witches Heal.