Archives in Action

Eight students of all majors had the exciting opportunity to connect with members of Beloit’s LGBTQ+ community and help to preserve Beloit’s queer history through a series of interviews, document analysis, and archive development.

On Sunday, March 24, 2024, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Michael Dango, Assistant Professor and Chair of English, and his Queer Theory, Film, and Communities class held an oral history harvest at the Beloit Historical Society focused around lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ+) experiences in the surrounding community.

Prof. Michael Dango with Students at the Beloit Historical Society in front of a mural in the library Prof. Michael Dango with Students at the Beloit Historical Society in front of a mural in the library

Olivia Alvarado’25’s role in this event was primarily to conduct interviews, but other preparation beforehand included working with classmates to make posters and advertise on social networks. As a McNair Program Scholar and two-time Duffy Partnerships participant, Alvarado is no stranger to this kind of work.

Olivia Alvarado'25 (left) and Cynthia Rossbach'24 (right) Olivia Alvarado'25 (left) and Cynthia Rossbach'24 (right)“I fell in love with community-based learning after working with Carol Wickersham and the Duffy Partnerships my first year,” she stated. “I hold it especially close to me in this course and as a Beloit student in general. Unexpected people help you and provide a rounded view of the world that breaks down status barriers. Going to new spaces and experiencing them firsthand has helped reframe my mind and made me feel more connected to the community. I really want to provide something in my time here.”

Though the turnout was lower than expected, Alvarado enjoyed the event, and she and her peers could still see the importance of what they have been doing throughout the semester as a stepping stone to success.

“Similar to how the Beloit International Film Festival was not an overnight success, our work sets a sustainable precedent for being an ongoing event.”

Additionally, through this event, students boasted about their countless reflections on their respective placements, such as deciding an object’s identity and historical value, as well as how to appraise and archive it.

By: Korynne E. Wilson'25
April 15, 2024

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