EMILIA-AMALIA Session IX: Oral Histories/Interviewing

EMILIA-AMALIA Session IX: Oral Histories/Interviewing

April 4, 10:00PM to April 5, 1:00AM

A two-part session:  Tuesday, April 4, 6-9 pm and Monday, April 17, 6-9 pm, Gallery 44
With Seika Boye and Nicholas Matte

Oral histories and interviews are vital ways that knowledge is exchanged between generations: particularly for minoritarian communities whose narratives and expertise are often ignored in, obscured by, or repressed from official histories and archives. Asking questions, and taking the time and care to record the answers, is therefore a political gesture that can give authority to the experiences of interviewees, and counts them as meaningful for future audiences.

In this two-part session, participants learn the basics of oral history methods and interviewing techniques and then are tasked with developing questions they would like to ask another feminist in their lives. In the second part, participants report back on their experiences of interviewing, share transcriptions and recordings of the results, and work to translate and transcribe the answers into a collaboratively produced piece of writing. 

Previous experience with interview methods is not required, although participants should expect to generate some material in relation to the workshop theme between sessions.

Participants are requested to commit to both parts of the session. Please RSVP to Leila Timmins at leila@gallery44.org

This session is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Seika Boye is a dance artist, scholar and advocate.  She is a lecturer at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and director of the newly established research Centre for Dance Studies at the University of the Toronto. She has been published in The Dance CurrentDance Collection Danse Magazinealt.theatre andThe Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. Seika has also worked in editorial capacities for the Dance Current and Dance Collection Dance, where she was an archives assistant from 2004-2010. Most recently Seika co-edited the first Dance Forum in Performance Matters online journal. As a performer Seika has appeared with Judith Marcuse Projects, Electric Company Theatre, Ballet Creole, and various independent artists across Canada. Seika’s recent projects include movement dramaturgy for Djanet Sears’ A Black Girl in Search of God (Centaur Theatre/National Arts Centre) and Ars Mechanica’s Sisi (2016 Hatch Series, Harbourfront Centre). Her SSHRC funded doctoral research focuses on social dancing within Toronto’s black population at mid-century. 

Nicholas Matte is a politically conscious interdisciplinary historian whose research interests include the historical, social and scientific constructions of bodies in relation to sex, gender, sexuality, health, disability and race. Nick has presented at numerous conferences and his work has appeared in GLQInternational Journal of TransgenderismCanadian Bulletin of Medical HistoryTransgender Studies Reader and Trans Activism in Canada. His dissertation, “Historicizing Liberal American Transnormativities: Medicine, Media, Activism, 1960-1990” traced the consolidation of trans activism and transnormativity as a cultural formation and in relation to liberalism. Matte teaches in the Sexual Diversity Studies Program at the University of Toronto where he also curates the Sexual Representation Collection.


EMILIA–AMALIA is an exploratory working group that employs practices of citation, annotation, and autobiography as modes of activating feminist art, writing and research practices. Through readings, screenings, discussions, and writing activities, the group will investigate historical and intergenerational feminisms, as well as relationships of mentorship, collaboration, and indebtedness between artists, writers, thinkers, curators, and practitioners. In tracing these lines, the group aims to elucidate the histories of feminism that have been obscured and overlooked in the narratives of 1970s, or “second-wave” feminism that we have inherited.

EMILIA–AMALIA critically examines how we fit in with these past iterations, and also, how we might update and extend them so that they can respond to contemporary questions. Motivated by a desire to think through these questions collaboratively, each monthly meeting is structured around a text, a conversation, and a writing activity.

EMILIA–AMALIA is an open group that invites all levels of engagement. We are all experts. No one is an expert. Expertise is not expected.

EMILIA–AMALIA is initiated by Cecilia Berkovic, Annie MacDonell, Gabrielle Moser, Leila Timmins, and cheyanne turions and is hosted by Gallery 44.