Category Archives: News

Indigiqueering Oral Traditions: A Conversation with Thirza Cuthand and Michelle McGeough

This event is happening online! To join and receive the Zoom link, register via email: l.bosc@uwinnipeg.ca.

March 4, 2021 | 12-1pm (UTC-6) | ZOOM

Thirza Cuthand has been making short experimental narrative videos and films since 1995 about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally. She is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Michelle McGeough is a Métis scholar, artist, and Assistant Professor of Art History at Concordia University. Her research interests have focused on the Indigenous Two-Spirit identity. She is working on a manuscript that examines Indigenous understandings of gender fluidity and the impact these notions have on artistic production.

This event is made possible with support from the Margaret Lawrence Endowment Fund, the University of Winnipeg, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

#CMHRSTOPLYING | MUSEUM QUEERIES JOINT STATEMENT

It has come to our attention that there is some confusion about the distinction and relationship between Museum Queeries and #CMHRstoplying. In an attempt to clarify this misunderstanding, we issue the following joint statement:

Museum Queeries is an interdisciplinary research project based out of the University of Winnipeg. It prioritizes Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and queer (2S+LGBTTQ) contributions and interventions into museums and museum studies. #CMHRstoplying is the hashtag created specifically by Thiané Diop to hold the Canadian Museum for Human Rights accountable for its anti-blackness and other forms of racism within the institution as a whole. While Thiané Diop works as a Research Assistant with Museum Queeries, her involvement with #CMHRstoplying is a separate initiative. For those interested in Museum Queeries, we invite you to contact either of its co-founders, Dr. Angela Failler (a.failler@uwinnipeg.ca) or Dr. Heather Milne (h.milne@uwinnipeg.ca) at the University of Winnipeg. If you are interested in #CMHRstoplying, we invite you to get in touch with the team through their Instagram platform.

Visit to Two-Spirit Archives

Albert McLeod speaks to a group of visitors at the Two-Spirit Archives. Photo credit: Lauren Bosc

On January 24, 2020, members of Museum Queeries research team visited the Two-Spirit Archives, housed at the University of Winnipeg. This visit included a roundtable discussion led by Albert McLeod (Co-Director, Two-Spirited People of Manitoba), the main donor of the fonds/material of the collection. Click here to read timely “SnapThought” responses to exhibitions, galleries, and museum spaces from our research assistants and research team!

Visit to Kent Monkman Exhibit at Winnipeg Art Gallery

Local drag superstar Prairie Sky speaks to visitors at Kent Monkman's Shame and Prejudice exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Local drag superstar Prairie Sky speaks to visitors at Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Photo credit: Chris Eastman

On December 13, 2019, members of Museum Queeries research team visited the Winnipeg Art Gallery for a Community-led Conversation with local drag queen Prairie Sky on Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice. Click here to read timely “SnapThought” responses to exhibitions, galleries, and museum spaces from our research assistants and research team!

Curatorial Dreaming at the CMHR and Manitoba Museum


From July 22-23, 2019, student research assistants involved with Museum Queeries came together for a workshop to dream curatorial revisions and newly imagined exhibits at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Manitoba Museum.

This workshop, organized by Museum Queeries leaders Drs. Heather Milne and Angela Failler and facilitated by Research Associate Nicole Ritchie, began with an overview of the practice of curatorial dreaming as outlined by Erica Lehrer and Shelley Ruth Butler in their edited collection Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions, challenging the students, as critics, to envision their own exhibitions.

Grounded in this idea, the first day of the workshop included a visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights where the group was led on one of the museum’s Pride Tours. After the tour, the group was encouraged to “queer the labels” featured in the CMHR and reimagine how the museum’s queer content could be altered to be more inclusive and representative.

To complement this experience, the second day of the workshop included a short introductory presentation by Research Coordinator Lauren Bosc and a self-guided visit to the Manitoba Museum. After this visit, students were encouraged to “imagine queerness” within the museum, which, unlike the CMHR, does not include any queer histories or representations. Because of this, students imagined and designed their own queer exhibit and interventions into the Manitoba Museum’s various galleries.

Coming together after both tours, this workshop allowed research assistants to re-envision exhibits such as “Taking the Cake” on same-sex marriage in the CMHR and imagine queer Manitoban histories in the Manitoba Museum’s Urban Gallery (among many other generative and creative curatorial dreams).

To hear the perspective of one of the workshop attendees, Amelia Dawn Smith, check out her post “Curatorial Dreaming: A Museum Queeries Workshop” featured here in Musings.


(photo credits: Lauren Bosc)

Congress 2019: Museum Queeries RAs Present their Work

Left to right: Dallas Cant, Thiané Diop, Angela Failler, Nicole Ritchie, Claire Wright, and Jase Falk (photo credit: Lauren Bosc)

An interdisciplinary team of Research Assistants (RAs) presented their research at the 7th Annual Meeting of the Sexuality Studies Association/L’association des études de la sexualité. The meeting, which took place as a part of the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities in Vancouver, BC, from June 2-4, included these students on a panel titled “Museum Queeries: Thinking Through the Museum.”

Each student presented work evolving from their projects as research assistants supervised by UWinnipeg faculty members Dr. Angela Failler (Women’s and Gender Studies) and Dr. Heather Milne (English).

Chaired by Museum Queeries Research Associate Nicole Ritchie (York University), the panel featured:

  • Disrupting the Archive: Sex Work, Displacement, and Development in Winnipeg, by Dallas Cant
  • Collecting Experience in Idea Museums, by Claire Wright
  • Archiving Trans History, by Jase Falk
  • Queer Black Bodies and the Museum, by Thiané Diop
(photo credit: Lauren Bosc)

The conference was an excellent opportunity for these RAs to not only share their engaging projects with their peers, but also to attend and participate in other panels that were related to their work.

For more information on the Sexuality Studies Association’s Meeting, see their website.

For more information about these RAs, check out the Research Assistants page.

Museum Queeries RAs Present at FIHRM 2018

Photo of students at conference.
L to R: Thiané Diop, Nicole Ritchie, Jana Elazar, Dallas Gillingham, and Jase Falk.

An interdisciplinary team of UWinnipeg students presented at the 2018 Federation of International Human Rights Museums Conference, which was held at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights last week from September 25-28, 2018.

Thiané Diop (MA, Cultural Studies), Dallas Cant (Women’s and Gender Studies), Jase Falk (English), and Jana Elazar (Women’s and Gender Studies) spoke on the Museum Queeries panel facilitated by UWinnipeg Research Associate Nicole Ritchie (PhD candidate, York University).

Each student presented work evolving from their projects as research assistants supervised by UWinnipeg faculty members Dr. Angela Failler (Women’s and Gender Studies) and Dr. Heather Milne (English).

Photo of students presenting at the FIHRM 2018 Conference (L to R: Dallas Gillingham, Jana Elazar, Jase Falk, Thiané Diop), photo credit: Lauren Bosc

Their conference papers included “Commemoration of Queer Victims of the Holocaust and Israeli Homonationalism” (Elazar), “Sex Work, Displacement, and Development” (Cant), “Archiving Trans History” (Falk), and “Queer Black Bodies and the Museum” (Diop). “Queerying” here is meant not only to address representations of gender and sexuality in the museums, but also to challenge the operation of white privilege, racism, and settler colonialism as they operate alongside homophobia and transphobia.

“This conference was a great professional development opportunity for the students,” notes Milne. “Not only did they gain valuable presentation skills, they also gained positive feedback from museum professionals and museum researchers from around the world.”

“This panel is a stellar example of the sophisticated research and scholarship currently in development by UWinnipeg students,” notes Failler. “The audience members were totally engaged and impressed, expressing their appreciation for how refreshing and sharp our students’ perspectives were.”

For more information about the Museum Queeries project, please visit out “About” page.

UWinnipeg Research Assistants Come Together for Workshop

Photo of research team.
Back: Angela Failler, Thomasena Downes-Mitchell, Thiané Diop, Jase Falk, Dallas Gillingham / Front: Nicole Ritchie, Lauren Bosc, Heather Milne (photo credit: Larissa Wodtke)

From July 19-20, 2018, the current research team members for Museum Queeries based at the University of Winnipeg, along with project co-leaders Angela Failler and Heather Milne, Research Coordinator Lauren Bosc, and Research Associate Nicole Ritchie (York University), came together for a workshop to work through their summer research projects.

The summer Research Assistants (Thomasena Downes-Mitchell, Evan Durance, Jana Elazar, Jase Falk, Dallas Gillingham, and Thiané Diop) spoke on projects ranging from Israeli homonationalism and queer representation in Holocaust museums, to the development of a walking tour to highlight the erasure of sex work in and around the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Many of the research team members will be producing audio guides and/or blogs which will be launched on this site soon.

MQ UWinnipeg Students Create Queering the Museum Audio Guides

University of Winnipeg students developed Queering the Museum Audio Guides*, responding to content highlighted on a “Pride Tour” offered by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Guides are intended to critically engage listeners/museumgoers and raise the bar of expectation around how museums and other sites that contribute to public discourse on historical and contemporary issues represent queer issues and lives.

The 7 audio guides, available here, were created with the invaluable support of sound artist Julia Dyck who led workshops on audio guide script writing and production. Julia also digitally mastered the final guides.

For further description of the Queering the Museum Audio Guide assignment, click here.

MQ Awarded Aid to Small Universities Special Research Grant

Drs. Heather Milne and Angela Failler (University of Winnipeg) have been awarded an Aid to Small Universities Grant to support their ongoing development of the Museum Queeries project. This grant intends to 1) expand the Museum Queeries Research Network , 2) connect with potential research partners for collaborative projects, and 3) provide a context for the training of student Research Assistants.

The Museum Queeries project seeks to stage intersectional interventions into museums and museum studies by foregrounding Two Spirit and queer approaches alongside decolonial approaches and practices with the aim of developing a critical discourse on the overarching whiteness and heteronormativity of museum curation and providing critical and curatorial contexts in which queer and decolonizing lenses can work in tandem to diversify curatorial and representational practices. While these objectives attest to the fact that Museum Queeries is a project that is broad and far reaching in its scope, the ASU funds will be directed specifically towards a crucial and necessary next step in the development of this project: the formalizing of a partnership with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) in Toronto. The CLGA’s mandate and goals are compatible with ours and will serve as a vital partner for Museum Queeries and a crucial site for us and our Research Assistants to carry out our work. These funds will also go towards the continued mentorship of student Research Assistants.