Our research

We are interviewing people involved in AIDS activism in the 1980s and 1990s across Canada.  We have been talking with people who struggled – many who continue to struggle – against the criminalization and stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS, and who took action to change their medical, social, and political circumstances. We have been hearing stories of resistance and stories of loss and pain. We have been learning more about the power of organizing and about the energy and imagination of these activists.  This is only a beginning of recovering the stories of direct action oriented AIDS activism from.

We are unravelling complexity. There is a diversity in these interviews but we aim to encompass far more diversity and more social experiences of AIDS activism in our future interviews. There are a diversity of perspectives in these interviews and we have made no attempt to reconcile the contradictions between these different stories. People located differently, with different experiences remember differently and we have made no attempt to establish the ‘truth’ of what took place in these years.  In making these initial interviews available we hope to first of all actively remember AIDS activism and to provide information and resources for those wishing to develop more comprehensive histories of this activism.

We are making our research and thinking public. For participants who feel comfortable with it, we are transcribing all of our interviews and making them available for research, thinking, and better understanding of these important struggles. To date, we have posted over twenty interviews with activists from Halifax/Nova Scotia, Toronto and Vancouver. We have also scanned archival material and photographs, which are available through our Omeka site. Our aspiration is that we can learn about the work of activists directly from them, and that having this history available can help us remember the past more adequately and support our current struggles for another world. We invite you to use our materials for your own research and thinking (and to get in touch to share about how this project is informing your work). We look forward to connecting!