The Association of Canadian Archivists is publishing a series of blog posts titled PeepShow and Tell: Sex in Archives with the goal of illuminating the intrinsic value of sex and sexuality within the field of archiving, and why these materials deserve to be preserved.
For the second post of the series, the Archives Director of the Sexual Representation Collection at the Bonham Centre, Patrick Keilty, spoke about the value, responsibility, and challenges that come with archiving sexually explicit materials. Read on for an excerpt of the interview!
Jay: Could you tell me a little more about the creation of the Sexual Representation Collection and your role as Archival Director?
Prof. Keilty: Administered by the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, an academic unit within the University of Toronto, Sexual Representation is one of Canada’s largest collections of sex work history and adult film history. Professor Emeritus Brian Pronger started SRC informally but intentionally in the late 1980s to support his research. After writing a book about masculinity and homosexuality in sports culture, he began to research commercially produced gay cis male pornography. Under the stewardship of subsequent Archives Directors Mariana Valverde and Nick Matte, the SRC expanded its holdings with a particular focus on feminist, queer, trans, and kink sexual cultures.1
In 2018, a new Director of the Bonham Centre, Prof. Dana Seitler, asked me to be the SRC’s fourth Archives Director as part of my administrative service at the Centre. I oversee all custodial and archival tasks related to the collection, administrative responsibilities, reference and liaison work. I am especially indebted to my current crop of research assistants (RAs), work-study students, and interns: A. Hawk, Maggie MacDonald, Camille Intson, Gillian Wall, Asha Chiraghdin, Lo Humeniuk, Sydney Perkins, Roxy Moon, and Ty Murphy. I am very fortunate to work with such an exceptional team!