About The Project

Established in 2019 with initial funding provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors, the Nova Scotia LGBT Seniors Archive is a multi-year project to preserve and provide access to records of the activities of senior members of the LGBT community across Nova Scotia. Due to the longstanding, state-sanctioned suppression of LGBT voices in Canada through initiatives such as the LGBT Purge, these records are of particular importance as they provide evidence of LGBT lives, stories, and activism that have often been ignored. The Archive's mandate is to increase the visibility and community involvement of LGBT seniors in Nova Scotia by working with them to preserve the cultural memory of their activities. By working directly with seniors, the Archive is able to collect these stories firsthand, allowing the community to speak for itself.

The project works toward the goal of establishing a living legacy for these members of the community through the collaborative development of an open, accessible, province-wide physical and digital archive for use by community members, seniors, older and younger generations of LGBT populations, researchers, students, and the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors, among others. The everyday operations of the project involve active, ongoing consultation with LGBT Seniors across Nova Scotia.

Project staff collect donations, conduct the archival processing of donated materials, and make said materials accessible to the public, both online and in person. Materials donated to the LGBT Seniors Archive is stored at the University Archives in the Killam Memorial Library.

In 2021, additional funding was received to augment this archival collection to include lesbian oral histories.

Through community consultation and donations, the Nova Scotia LGBT Seniors Archive has become aware of the lack of traditional archival records existent in Nova Scotia pertaining to lesbian history. To mitigate this lack of representation, the Archive has developed the Lesbian Oral History Project, which will allow lesbians in Nova Scotia to share their personal experiences and tell the stories they feel are important to preserve for posterity. The project has three components: collection, transcription, and archival processing.

As part of our community consultation activities, a list of interested potential participants has already been compiled by Lead Researcher Jacqueline Gahagan. The Lesbian Oral History collection will be conducted by volunteers who participate on the Archive's Community Advisory Committee (CAC). To organize and direct oral history collection, the Archive a senior lesbian from the community will serve as Coordinator for the Lesbian Oral History Project. The Coordinator will communicate with interested participants, discuss potential topics for discussion, provide guidance regarding interviewing practices and procedures, and coordinate with employees working on transcription and archival processing. Due to the constraints associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers will meet with interview subjects over video-conferencing platforms. Interviews will be recorded and stored securely for transcription and archival processing before becoming part of the Nova Scotia LGBT Seniors Archive.

 For more information, please contact jgahagan@dal.ca