The Centre for the Study of Co-operatives was established on the University of Saskatchewan campus in 1984. Its stated mandate is to be an “interdisciplinary centre of higher learning that provides people with conceptual and informational tools to understand co-operatives
and to develop them as solutions to economic and social needs.” The current work of the centre is perhaps best captured on their blog, Contemplating Co-ops.
To meet their mandate, the Centre quickly developed a library with a broad range of resources on co-operatives and their operation both in Saskatchewan and around the world. Recently, several of these books were transported to UASC, complimenting co-operative centric archival collections such as the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool fonds, the 25th Theatre fonds and more,
Given the province’s history with co-operatives, from the early days of the Wheat Pool, to Tommy Douglas and the CCF, to the groceries, credit unions, and art and theatre collectives that flourish in the province today, it is not surprising that a school devoted to the study of co-operatives was founded here.
The images shown provide a small sampling of the types of books included in this comprehensive collection, and should provide inspiration for the various ways in which co-operatives can be studied.
Using the Collections
In Making a Scene: Lesbians and Community Across Canada, 1964-84 (UBC Press 2015) author Liz Millward generously acknowledged the Richards collection at the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan for documenting the participation of lesbians in both social and political groups in the Canadian West.
In the summer of 2015 Shawna Lipton of Washington State University Vancouver travelled to Saskatoon to explore lesbian titles in the Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity. She returned to Saskatoon in September for a public presentation of her findings with Prof. Ann Martin of the U of S English Department. Titled Returning to the Well: Radclyffe Hall and the Marketing of Lesbian Pulp Fiction the presentation examined how the Well of Loneliness and Hall’s iconic lesbian status, affected the content and marketing of preStonewall lesbian fiction. The Library used this opportunity to greatly expand its collection of Hall titles, including sheet music based upon on her early poems
April 2016 brought a visit by Kevin Allen of the Calgary Gay History Project who discovered material about gay organizing in Calgary in the 1970s at the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, particularly dealing with participation in Prairie and National Gay Rights Conferences and the networking of private member gay social clubs that existed in Prairie cities in the 1970s.
Jonathan Petrychn, a doctoral candidate at York University, visited the Provincial and University Archives in June 2016, finding material for his thesis on the history of LGBT film festivals and screenings on the Canadian Prairies.
Promoting the Collections
The U of S Archives & Special Collections regularly promotes the visibility and use of its sexual and gender diversity collections through in-house exhibitions and descriptive pieces on the unit’s blog.
In each of the past three years the collections have been highlighted with displays at the annual U of S Breaking the Silence conference and through contributions to exhibits presented each February by Out Saskatoon at the Heritage Festival of Saskatoon.
In March 2016 the Library prepared and displayed an exhibit from its extensive collection of vintage lesbian pulp fiction in conjunction with a screening of the classic Canadian documentary Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories O f Lesbian Lives (1992) at the Broadway Theatre. Co-director Lynne Fernie travelled from Toronto to reintroduce the remastered film to a new audience.
An exhibition of classic LGBT themed movie posters was also provided to the Saskatoon Public Library in conjunction with its spring series of LGBT documentaries Queer as Film
From October 2013 to summer 2016 the Saskatoon office of the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan welcomed visitors and researchers with a large exhibition on Saskatchewan LGBT history in its corridor display cases. The exhibit was curated by Joe Wickenhauser with material drawn principally from the Archives’ Neil Richards fonds.
To keep track of the Neil Richards Collection as it is being shared with audiences all over Saskatoon, follow us on twitter @sask_uasc or Facebook.
The following is an ever-growing list of the Neil Richards Collection for Sexual and Gender Diversity’s online presence: