About the archive
The Queer (at) School Archive is a website and an instagram account that displays open-sourced anonymous stories, artifacts and objects submitted by a range of queer individuals at Scottish primary and secondary schools in response to prompts about ways they make it through the day, celebrate themselves and one another, resist hetero and cisnormativity, and/or experience joy.
The purpose of this archive is to help amplify and share what is already keeping LGBTQIA+, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students, educators and parents/carers alive and sustained, and to, as Dr. Harper Keenan and Lil Miss Hot Mess say, invite folks into “the process of imagining how we might organize ourselves differently in society.” To engage this kind of reimagining, we need ways of hearing directly from queer people at schools, and we hope the Queer (at) School Archive can be a flexible and sustaining portal for doing so.
In 2018, Scotland announced itself to be a world leader in “LGBTI inclusive education” – but what does this mean to queer people at Scottish schools and is “inclusion” even the goal? Schools everywhere are almost always normative places where dominant social expectations are reproduced through very slow-to-change systems. Though cisheteronormativity, racism, sexism and other intersecting oppressive biases, marginalization and violence indeed exist to some extent at every primary and secondary school (and society at large), this archive is most interested in naming that as a base reality and instead cataloguing the creative, imaginative and necessary ways that we, as queer people, navigate and resist these realities – or even just the mundane ways we help one another make it through the school day. We are already queer at school even if our schools are not (and may never be) queer spaces.
Right now, this archive is being set up and digitally managed by E.M., but it may expand and shift with growing collaborations and collaborators. It will be updated and re-formatted weekly as contributions come in.
This is a free and publicly accessible website archive – a growing resource of primary sources from and for queer people that any/all of us can see and use. Maybe we will use it to feel connected to one another, to teach a class, lead a Gender & Sexuality Alliance meeting, start a conversation with peers, talk to policy makers, and/or, maybe folks reproduce this archive idea for their local community.
Because this website is public, great care is taken to maintain anonymity so that no artifacts can be traced to any individual or school. This means no names, faces or identifying information will be shown or shared on the site, and if there is ever a concern about this, please get in touch via email.
This project is ongoing and open to any person who is LGBTQIA+ (whatever that means to you!) and is also a current or former student, educator or parent/carer of a student at a primary or secondary school. Click the pink button below to share your artifacts on the site!
Sources of inspiration for this archival project:
One Million Experiments, A Virtual Zine Project c/o Project Nia & Interrupting Criminalization: snapshots of community-based safety strategies that expand our ideas about what keeps us safe
Stor(y)ing Mi Desmadre, feminized queer nightlife archives and historiography in Latin America
Queering the Archive SSSA, blog about queering the collection and understanding of the School of Scottish Studies Archives
WOC Archive, intergenerational visual & aural based project that seeks to preserve the stories of matriarchs of color – with focus on contributions from high school students
Self Portrait Service, an ongoing LGBTQIA photo portrait practice based on collaboration and informed consent
Many many archival projects by and for marginalized and oppressed communities throughout history and across the globe
photos by Savana Ogburn