Historical studies professor and UofT Mississauga’s Associate Vice-Principal, Research Elspeth Brown has been awarded the 2021 Hugh A. Taylor Prize for her article “Archival Activism, Symbolic Annihilation, and the LGBTQ2+ Community Archive.”
Published in Archivaria 89 (Spring 2020), Brown’s article is a deep dive into community archival theory and practice in LGBTQ2+ communities and a reframing of how activism fits in with the legacy of this community.
Brown is delighted with being recognized by this prestigious award.
“This article is a culmination of my efforts as a volunteer and board member at The ArQuives in Toronto, and as the director of the LGBTQ2+ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, which is a five-year digital history research collaboration funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada,” says Brown.
“My aim is to help bring a more trans-inclusive framework to LGBTQ2+ community archives with origins in Canada’s gay liberation movement and connect several archives to foster a collaborative digital-history hub across North America.”
The Collaboratory currently consists of four archival partners. Along with the ArQuives in Toronto, there is also the Digital Transgender Archive at Northeastern University in Boston, the Transgender Archives at University of Victoria, B.C., and the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony at Simon Fraser University, B.C..
The citation for Brown’s award states the following: “Engaging with scholarship on trans and BIPOC histories and questioning the primacy of gay liberation narratives in community archives, Brown’s article requires archivists to reimagine archival activism in LGBTQ2+ community archives through an intersectional and trans-inclusionary lens.” In addition, the selection committee stated that Brown’s work provides significant insights into the contradictions and tensions that are typically present in most communities, and that her article is “essential reading for anyone working with LGBTQ2+ communities, or any other community archives."
The Hugh A. Taylor Prize is an annual award for an author of the Archivaria article that presents unique ideas or updated and imaginative explorations of trends or concepts from other disciplines for archival thinking and activity. The recipient of the Taylor prize is chosen by Archivaria’s general editor as well as a professor of archival studies.
Brown will receive an award certificate and will be recognized for this distinction at the Association of Canadian Archivists Awards ceremony in September.