Planning the Project
The Lesbians MaKing History Collective based their project in collaboration, and feminist commitments to open communication and consciousness-raising. They wanted their project to give women space to narrate their own life experiences in relation to larger questions about gender, class, and sexuality. The collective spent a great deal of time planning the project together, in order to realize a format that would achieve these goals.
This page features audio recordings and transcripts from the collective's 1986 planning meetings. In these meetings collective members reflect on the project's design, who would be iterviewed, and what the interview process would look like. The meetings provide an important record of lesbian feminist approaches to oral history methods in the 1980s, as they developed out of collaborative feminist methods.
These audio files are difficult to make out in places and the transcripts have recovered whatever words were intelligible.
Listen to original meeting audio:
The Lesbians Making History Collective used this document to arrange meetings and set their agendas. The collective identifies possible funding sources, and topics that the planning group should discuss in advance of conducting interviews: family, s/m, pornography, work and class, race. These proposed topics highlight many divisive issues for lesbian feminism in the 1980s. In particular, S/m and porn divided Toronto's lesbian community between the pro-porn "Body Politic Feminists" and the more conservative "Broadside Feminists."
The collective also discusses the possibility of a field trip to Buffalo, to visit with The Buffalo Women's Oral History Project. This project formed the basis for Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold (1993) by Madeline Davis and Elizabeth Kennedy. This aside reveals one of the specific instances in which the women's oral history movement in the 1980s was connected across projects, and between the United States and Canada.