Queer Archives Institute
Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland
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Name of collection
- Queer Archives Institute
Provenance and cultural activities
Queer Archives Institute is a personal archive which combines artistic sensibility with political activism and social research. The owner of the collection, Karol Radziszewski, is one of best known Polish queer artists and at some point of his artistic career he became particularly interested in not only the queer theory, but also its different realisations in Central Europe. Firstly, while working on his project “Kisieland” (2012), he got to know Ryszard Kisiel, a creator of the first East-Central European gay-zine called Filo. While working together on the short (30-minutes) film, Radziszewski and Kisiel established a special relationship: Radziszewski became a “gatekeeper” for the Kisiel’s unique and rich collection of magazines, documents, and photographs, documenting the social life of homo-, bi-, trans-, and queer people in Poland during the socialist times.
The social history of homosexuality in late socialism had not been widely researched and known, Karol Radziszewski’s activities were one of the founding stones of queer history of Poland and in Central and Eastern Europe. The collection tackles not only the lifestyle of minority groups, but also political anti-gay militia campaign “Hiacynt”, led in late 1980s, which targeted homosexual men and blackmailed them in order to make them cooperate with secret police. Collected documents were not publicly known in the socialist times and are still to be discovered by general public. For Karol Radziszewski, a collector, owner ,and the main actor of the collection, Queer Archives Institute serves not only as a reservoir of interesting visual materials for his own artistic activities, but also as the source of critical analysis of Central- European strategies of survival, resistance, and gaining self-awareness of queer communities before and after 1989. Karol Radziszewski's goal is to refocus the attention of queer studies from the North America and Western Europe to Central and Eastern Europe, and to (re)write the oral and visual history of homosexuality and queer.
Parts of the collection have been presented in last 2 years on various exhibitions and academic talks by Radziszewski; he also published several pieces of his collection in DIK Fagazine, queer magazine published in English.
Description of content
The collection contains photographs, gay magazines such as FILO, leaflets, and journals.
The artefacts in the collection represent the lifestyle of a milieu of Polish homosexuals and queers in the 1980s. They are a source of knowledge about different strategies of minorities to show discontent and ennui for grey reality of socialism and homophobic environment of state institutions. The magazines also show the formation of the group identity of Polish homosexuals.
With the development of the collection more and more photographs, leaflets, and magazines from other Central European countries are being included to the Queer Archives Institute. They show the same phenomena - ennui, discontent, resistance, subversion - but in Bulgaria or Belarus.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 100-499
- photos: 500-999
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- all closed to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Gospodarczyk, Hanna
Radziszewski, Karol , interview by Gospodarczyk, Hanna , October 17, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection