Annual report 2018
We started the year with a visit from the government representatives for Hordaland in January. We have had project archivists and interns working with us during the year, and been present and Pride festivals in North, South, East and West. We have been present at conferences about equality, queer history, gender history, journalism, archives and museums, sound, digitalizing and oral history. We have collected, cataloged, packed and digitalized archives, researched and listened.
Skeivt arkivs mandate is to document and disseminate Norwegian queer history, and our summary of 2018 is characterized by how wide this task is. It is with an exciting year behind us that we look forward to new challenges in the work with Norways' diverse history of gender and sexuality in 2019.
According to the Norwegian Governments action plan against discrimation on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression 2017-2020, Skeivt arkiv works to disseminate queer history to the entire poulation of Norway. The action plan amongst other things establishes that queer history is "important to society to spread knowledge, ensure visibility and contribute to changing attitudes", something which has shaped Skeivt arkivs work in 2018 as in previous years.
Some highlights from Skeivt arkivs dissemination work in 2018:
- GOVERMENT VISIT. January 15th, 6 of the members of Parliament from Hordaland visited the University of Bergen and Skeivt arkiv.
- QUEER HISTORIC LUNCH. From March til May, Skeivt arkiv hosted nine queer historic lunches; 20 minute informal chats about various themes in queer history. The events were live streamed on Facebook, and amongst the themes covered where lesbian feminism in the 1970s, the play Kim F which later in 2018 premiered at Den Nasjonale Scene, the drag milieu in Bergen in the 1990s and the first Norwegian Supreme Court case about sodomy.
- PRIDE. Skeivt arkiv participated in Regnbuedagene i Bergen, in addition to Pride festivals in Oslo, Bodø and Tromsø. In Oslo Skeivt arkiv held a 20 minute lighting talk about queer history, as well as hosting a stand in Pride Park. One of the visitors to our stand was Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who later posted a photo of herself in Skeivt arkiv's selfie frame on instagram. I Bergen, we also had a stand, took part in various debates and hosted a movie screening. In Bodø and Tromsø Skeivt arkiv arranged panel discussions with historic intros and local activists, as well as interviewing local queer persons for our oral history collection.
- CIVIL PARTNERSHIP LAW 25 YEARS. During Oslo Pride, Skeivt arkiv and FRI hosted a panel discussion in celebration of 25 years of civil partnerships in Norway.
- JAFNADHR. Skeivt arkiv were able to participate in Skeiv Ungdom (Queer Youth)s summer camp Jafnadhr, where we presented our work with documenting, preserving and communicating queer history for a new generation activists. The presentation also included a conversation on stage with Aasmund Robert Vik, who was interviewed about his first period as an activist in the 1970s.
- TV2 NYHETSMORGEN. During Oslo Pride, Skeivt arkiv was a guest on national TV channel TV2 News Morning to talk about the history behind Pride celebrations.
- KIM F. As part of theatre Den Nasjonale Scene's promotion of the play Kim F, about well known queer activist Kim Frieles life, Skeivt arkiv were invited to lead an on-stage conversation with Kim ahead of the premiere.
The exhibit Queer Nightlife
In 2018 the exhibit Queer Nightlife travelled from Oslo to Bergen. During the spring months new additions concerning queer nightlife in Bergen were added, both from Skeivt arkiv and other donors, and in May the curators Henriette Stensdal and Vibeke Hermanrud came to Bergen to install the exhibit at the University Museum in Bergen. At the same time, Skeivt arkiv researched the history Bergens queer nightlife and added more than 30 news articles on the theme on Skeivopedia.
The exhibition opening on June 2nd was a part of the official program for Bergen Pride, and over 100 guests showed up to participate and to hear comic Linda Eide, DJ Witch Princess and enjoy refreshments provided by Bergen Queer bar Fincken.
In connection to the exhibit the University Museum has developed their own teaching programme around queer history, which starts in the Viking exhibit and continues throughout the museum to tell queer history from city and country, from the Middle Ages to the present day, through rumours, stories and laws. The exhibit will be at the museums until summer 2019, while the teaching programme continues.
Talks, debates and presentations
In 2018, as in previous years, Skeivt arkiv has been present at a wide array of conferences and events to talk about queer history. This time of oral presentations are a key part of our work with making the history of diversity of gender and sexuality visible to a wide audience.
A selection of presentations in 2018:
- Presentation of the oral history project "Queer life memories" at a conference at Bryggen museum January 19th (Jo Hjelle og Bjørn André Widvey)
- Presentation of Skeivt arkiv and Norwegian queer history at the journalists' conference “Vinterstormen”, February 2nd (Bjørn André Widvey)
- Participation in the annual network meeting for women's history in Norwegian museums, February 5th (Hannah Gillow-Kloster)
- Presentation of Skeivt arkiv at a seminar about Norwegian folklore archives February 16th (Bjørn André Widvey)
- Presentation of Skeivt arkiv for the academic group Practicing Identity at Faculty for art, music and design at UiB, February 20th (Hannah Gillow-Kloster)
- “Oral history and the History of Queer Activism in Norway”, presentation at the conference Outing the Past in Liverpool, March 18th (Bjørn André Widvey og Hannah Gillow-Kloster)
- “Bringing gender and sexual diversity into the light", presentation at the National Network Conference for equality and diversity in higher education, April 11th (Hannah Gillow-Kloster)
- "The establishing of a Norwegian queer archive", talk at the seminar on archives for gender and sexuality history at Copenhagen University, arranged by the Øresund seminar for gender research, May 25th(Runar Jordåen)
- Video and presentation at a seminar about trans rights by Kilden gender research, May 28th (Hannah Gillow-Kloster og Bjørn André Widvey
- Participation in panel discussion at Open Out Festival, Tromsø July 2nd (Hannah Gillow-Kloster)
- Presentation of the oral history project "Queer life memories" at University of Oslos International Summer School, July 16th (Bjørn André Widvey)
- “Writing about the forbidden - about two early writers of queer literature". Talk during Bodø Pride, September 1st (Runar Jordåen)
- “Queer local history - is it possible?” - presentation at Norwegian Institute for Local History, September 10th (Runar Jordåen)
- Presentation of the oral history project "Queer life memories" at the Sound Archive Conference, October 22nd (Jo Hjelle)
- “Skeivt arkiv and queer history in the museums”, talk at the Conference for Research in Museums, October 23rd (Hannah Gillow-Kloster)
- “Documenting non-normative genders and sexualities in Norway: Skeivt arkiv at the University of Bergen Library", talk at the conference Private Archives and Gender in Gothenburg, October 26th (Runar Jordåen)
- Presentation of Skeivt arkiv at Queer Café with Queer World West (Bjørn André Widvey)
- “Queer history in Northern Norway", talk during Tromsø Arctic Pride, November 8th (Runar Jordåen)
- Skeiv historie i Nord, panelsamtale med sentrale historiske personer, 08. november (Bjørn André Widvey og Jo Hjelle)
- Presentation at “Speed date with the research front” for masters' students in museology and cultural heritage at University of Oslo, November 27th (Hannah Gillow-Kloster)
- “Queer voices in the Archive”, talk as part of Platform: Maintaining Circulation at art institution Landmark, November 24th (Hannah Gillow-Kloster)
Queering the museums, a conference
October 17th, Skeivt arkiv hosted the conference Queering the Museums for Norwegian curators, museums employees, exhibition planners and others who are itnerested in representation of queer history in museums. The programme featured Stephen Vider (USA), Matt Cook (UK), Leif Pareli (Nor) and Pia Laskar (Swe), who spoke on different aspects, challenges and thoughts about representing gender and sexuality diversity in museums, and why showing historic diversity is important to majority as well as minority visitors.
New Academic Director
I November 2018, Hannah Gillow-Kloster started in the job as Academic director of Skeivt arkiv. Gillow-Kloster has been in the position since February 2018, and worked as a digital archivist at Skeivt arkiv since 2014. She has a background in Digital Humanities and Communications, and has worked with dissemination, communication, administration, research and digital strategy at Skeivt arkiv. Former Academic Director at Skeivt arkiv, Runar Jordåen, continues as a Unviersity Librarian and research at the archive, and will focus on research, dissemination and archiving. Jordåen has been in charge of the archive since 2014, and has amongst other things been the one to ensure permanent funding for the archive through a unanimous Parliament vote in 2016.
New leader of Skeivt arkivs Advisory Board
Norman Anderssen, Professor at Institute for Social Psychology at UiB, has accepted the position as leader of Skeivt arkivs Advisory Board for the period 2018-2020. Anderssen specializes in attitudes towards and conditions for LGBT persons. Professor of Cultural Science at UiB, Tone Hellesund, who has been the leader of Skeivt arkivs advisory board since 2016, continues as an ordinary member, while Professor of history at UiB Camilla Brautaset, steps down from the group after two years.
The oral history project "Queer life memories" has continued throughout 2018, with a total of 63 interviews conducted in the year, bringing the total of interviews by the end of 2018 to 144. During 2018, we have collected interviews in Bergen, Oslo, Tromsø and South Easter Norway. For the first time we have also been able to collect interviews with people of Sami Heritage, particularly valuable as this is a group which is often under represented and marginalized. We are also especially happy to have been able to interview several trans persons about their lives and experiences in 2018.
In 2018, Skeivt arkiv has received 75 new additions to the archive, of which 24 consist purely of printed materials such as books, magazines and research papers. The gifts total 64 linear metres. The incoming materials have been largely paper based, with a few born-digital archives including Lesbian Hiking Group's blog.
Of the new additions, some come from organizations such as Queer Youth, the Norwegian Bear Association, the Association for Trans persons and HivNorway, while the rest are from individuals. Some of the materials received also contain objects, such as activis Siri Kvalheims parade guitar, trans activist Stein Wolff Frydenlunds t-shirts from various events, banners and photos. All the materials largely represent the period from 1970 until present day.
SKAM-manus til Skeivt arkiv
In May 2018 a group of 20 fans of the Norwegian TV show SKAM to donate an original manuscript from the series to Skeivt arkiv. The manuscript was bought through a charity auction, and the group, consisting of a total of 181 SKAM fans, had collected 100 000 NOK which was donated to the organization Unicef. It is the manuscript to episode 5, season 3, which was donated. In this episode, queer characters Eskild and Isak talk about how gay rights have not come without work, and someone has gone ahead and fought for the right to live their lives openly. This episode helped lif the public discussion about queer and LGBT history in Norway when it aired in 2016, and is now part of Skeivt arkiv. The manuscript and other donated effects are now digitized and available in our digital archive.
A part of Skeivt arkivs mandate is also to promote and encourage research on queer history in Norway. One of the ways in which this is done is our Masters' stipends, which is given out every fall to up to two candidates who through their masters' thesis are bringing to light new information about queer history in Norway.
In 2018, three masters' theses were completed with support from Skeivt arkiv's stipend:
- Tonje Louise Skjoldhammer wrote about legal prosectution of sex between women in the mid-1800s at University of Bergen.
- Odd Ivar Hammer wrote about queer identity in Trondheim in the 1960s and 1970s at NTNU - the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
- Siv Taule wrote about lesbian feminist journals and magazines from the 1970s and 1980s at University of Bergen.
In addition, we have done research at Skeivt arkiv. Amongst the topics we have research are the early pioneers in the Norwegian gay movement, Norwegian queer literature in the 1930s and early queer and gay activism in Northern Norway.
All in all, 2018 has been an exciting, busy and rewarding year, and we look forward to new challenges with documenting, collecting, preserving and disseminating Norwegian queer history in 2019!