Towards a Living Memory


Artists Note

We want to include a special note of gratitude to our community of participants, without whom this project cannot exist. The intention, care and vulnerability shown in your contribution is received with deep respect and appreciation. To share your voice and speak from a personal space in service of community is invaluable. We hope to do justice to the love, life and wisdom that is represented in each of your voice notes.

A note from us: Reflecting on the context and inspiration for this research, we think back to the ways we each sustained ourselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. That experience brought to the surface alternate means of community and self-care, positioning us to use the new and digital avenues for sustaining connection, community, and relationships. Years prior, our campus was the main site of our gatherings, student lounges and study halls where we gathered to venture out into spaces that held promise for art, dialogue and/or connection. These were the sites of our initial relationships, the spaces that held conversations about queerness and trans ness, Blackness, burnout, community healing and outrage, joy and pain, music, and art. The loss of physical space made way for us to convene virtually and through alternating mediums, allowing us to eventually resume the flow of community care that felt so vital during our school years. We were different and had been through more life experience, had new dreams and artistic endeavours. Digital mediums like video and conference calls, voice notes, social media and shared photographs became sites for new and emerging art practices and made room for projects like this one. Understanding that even during a global pandemic, our lives and stories were continually under threat (silence or erasure) brought clarity and intention to the necessity for self-record, intentional archiving of the ways that we cared for and sustained ourselves and each other through new yet familiar times of uncertainty and dispossession. This ongoing project reflects the intimacy of storytelling and oral histories that remain integral to the ways that we connect and care for each other. Our intention is to sustain an ongoing conversation as to what community-archival practices look like, (and the relationships that can be built through those), as well as to continue the work of building this living archive. Emkay and Nuri

How do Black queer, trans and gender-expansive people practice and sustain the act of survival as it relates to experiences of displacement, dispossession, and/or disembodiment?

dark brown hand making the love symbolHow do we tend to ourselves as Black people of queer, trans, and gender-expansive experience? Where do we go to seek out home and belonging? How have we been tending to ourselves and one another? This research is part of a larger undertaking; it’s a careful and intentional collecting of stories that have been overlooked. The asking and telling of our lived experiences follows a legacy of storytelling that serves to record, remember, and pass down our means of survival. It follows in the footsteps of a Black feminist tradition of working from the margins—of society, academia, archival practice and history-making—and bringing the stories and experiences of our community to a new centre. Digital and oral archives are the tools we use to bridge the gaps in our history. These voice notes are a living memory of our collective and individual survival.

It feels good to tend to myself by asking for slowness and asking for ease and receiving that - Anon
I am tending to myself by intentionally trying to love myself
I feel that home is a specific feeling and not a specific place. I would feel most at home in a home that I built - Anon
I am most at home when I feel seen and loved for the person that I was, the person that I am, and the person that I am becoming - Bailey
community are the people that have pushed me to sit with myself