A Queer Feminist Archive Reader

In 2019, The Queer and Feminist Archives Research Network was formed by Lily Evans-Hill and Hatty Nestor. It sought to bring together researchers dealing with feminist and queer archives, and the methodological and theoretical questions they pose. The Network has taken the form of research meetings, approximately once a month, where we workshop each other’s writing, hold public reading groups and visit archives relevant to our research. We intend for our research to culminate in a public symposium, a forum to publicly share our research and invite speakers who tackle similar questions. The activity of the network also generates an informal support network for our members.

The network has been a unique opportunity to encourage collaborative and interdisciplinary exchange. We have encouraged creative and experimental research through our group work. We engage with questions about our methodology and the objects we study, using workshops to share and respond to each other’s work. Writing and critically reading for these sessions has developed our skills in editing, self-reflection and peer-review. More than anything, we have developed our knowledge of feminist and queer archiving techniques through basic archival training and visits to relevant archives.

Barbara Hammer in Women Artists News autumn 1980

The following list of resources gives an overview of the concerns and questions raised by the network. It consists of writings and projects that probe at the concept of the ‘archival,’ complicating the academic usage of the practice and instead thinking about the archive as a generative space for feminist and queer histories and futures. The list also serves as a practical introduction to the politics of archiving and digitizing that are important beyond issues of canons and visibility – archival practice has to be generative, accessible and productive outside of preservation. The references here suggest frameworks, questions and stakes for working with and in spite of the archive.

Some readings:

Ashton, Jenna. “Feminist Archiving [ a Manifesto Continued ]: Skilling for Activism and Organising.” Australian Feminist Studies 32, no. 91–92 (April 3, 2017): 126–49. https://doi.org/10.1080/08164649.2017.1357010.

Bryan-Wilson, Julia, and Cheryl Dunye. “Imaginary Archives: A Dialogue.” Art Journal 72, no. 2 (2013): 82–89. (The whole special issue is worth looking at)

Cvetkovich, Ann, ​An Archive Of Feelings​ (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003)

Eichhorn, Kate. “D.I.Y. Collectors, Archiving Scholars, and Activist Librarians: Legitimizing Feminist Knowledge and Cultural Production Since 1990.” Women’s Studies 39, no. 6 (July 27, 2010): 622–46. https://doi.org/10.1080/00497878.2010.490716.

Eichhorn, Kate. “Feminism’s There : On Post-Ness and Nostalgia.” Feminist Theory 16, no. 3 (December 2015): 251–64. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464700115604127.

Gaillet, Lynée Lewis. “(Per)Forming Archival Research Methodologies.” College Composition and Communication 64, no. 1, (2012): 35–58.

Lewis, Gail. “Questions of Presence” (2017), Feminist Review, 117, pp. 1–19 https://doi.org/10.1057/s41305-017-0088-1

Niehaus, Kiona Hagen, and Guesnet, Brenda. “Articulating and Defending Our Vulnerabilities: Interrogations of the Feminist Archive.” Feminist Review 120, no. 1 (November 2018): 135–42. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41305-018-0128-5.

Marshall, D, Murphy, K and Tortorici, Z, ​Queering archives: intimate tracings,​ (New York: Duke University Press Books, 2015) 

Moravec, Michelle. “Feminist Research Practices and Digital Archives.” Australian Feminist Studies 32, no. 91–92 (April 3, 2017): 186–201. https://doi.org/10.1080/08164649.2017.1357006.

Mathias Danbolt, Jane Rowley, Louise Wolthers, Lost and Found: Queerying the Archive Exhibition Catalogue (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2010)

McBean, Sam. ​Feminism’s Queer Temporalities​ (New York: Routledge, 2016)

Reger, Jo. “Finding a Place in History: The Discursive Legacy of the Wave Metaphor and Contemporary Feminism.” Feminist Studies 43, no. 1 (2017): 193. https://doi.org/10.15767/feministstudies.43.1.0193.

Tirza True Latimer, ‘Conversations on Queer Affect and Queer Archives,’ Art Journal 72, no.2 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00043249.2013.10791029

Tamboukou, Maria. “Archival Research: Unraveling Space/Time/Matter Entanglements and Fragments.” Qualitative Research, vol. 14, no. 5, Oct. 2014, pp. 617–633, doi:10.1177/1468794113490719.

Some Online Resources:

Rita Keegan Archive Project blog, various authors 

Sisterhood and After, The British Library 

Duke University Library’s Women’s Liberation Movement Print Culture digital repository 

JStor Reveal Digital: Independent Voices 

Mayday Rooms, Leftovers 

Lesbian Herstory Archives 

Glasgow Women’s Library 

Bishopsgate Institute 

The Women’s Liberation Music Archive ​​

If you are interested in joining, please email:

Lily at levan006@gold.ac.uk or Hatty knesto01@mail.bbk.ac.uk

Published by