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"The Thing I'm Most Proud Of..." The Neil Richards Legacy of Queer Culture and History

September - October 2018

Curators: David Bindle, Stevie Horn

Locations: Murray Library Link, Ground Floor, and Room 301

Event: Thursday October 4, 7:00 PM - Link Gallery, 1st Floor Murray Library

Description : Join us for refreshments, speakers, and entertainment in celebration of this unique collection, and the man behind it. A selection of duplicate items looking for good homes will be available for browsing and take-away after the reception.

Neil

The title of this exhibit comes from a June 16, 2015 interview in the Star Phoenix with Neil Richards, in reference to his decades-long work in collecting LGBTQ+ books, artifacts, documentary history, and other ephemera. Neil Richards moved to Saskatoon to work at the University of Saskatchewan Library in 1972, and over the next 45 years, he was a driving impetus behind the gathering and reclaiming of Queer histories in the province and beyond.

Neil made a major donation of LGBTQ+ materials to the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan in 1986 – making Saskatchewan the first province to have a public archive with a large collection related to gay and lesbian life. Within the University Library, Neil constructed the Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity, a special collection of over 8000 published and unpublished works relating to Queer history and culture. Neil’s influence within the collections of the University Archives and Special Collections stretches beyond this landmark collection. The archive holds Neil’s personal papers and his unique collections of materials related to wrestling, gender impersonation, running, Queer film and cross-dressing. Neil was also integral to bringing in materials from AIDS Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan AIDS Network, the Avenue Community Centre, and several members of the local LGBTQ+ community.

This exhibition celebrates Neil and the astounding impact his collection practice and advocacy has had on the preservation of Queer history. To quote fellow gay human rights activist Peter Millard:

“No social movement can survive without two important elements: an intellectual framework and a collective memory…We are what has happened to us, and therefore the record of experience is essential in the process of becoming, and in the establishment of identity.”

Thank you, Neil, for protecting and preserving a collective memory that future generations may use in their own process of becoming.

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