OPIRG Guelph’s PHP Guelph is derived from similar People’s History Project that has been ongoing at the Kingston chapter of OPIRG since 2011. Kingston has been successful in highlighting the formation of the Queens Homophile Association and has an upcoming project on activism in Kingston and Peterborough on the Temagami Forest in development.
Meanwhile, OPIRG Guelph has long been the holder of the OPIRG Provincial Network’s Archives Portfolio and has held its own deep archives for actions taken over the last forty years. There have been several, stop-and-start attempts to digitize OPIRG’s notable archival records—which included a partnership with a private company (2RedCells) and ongoing work to become formal members of the Ontario Archives Association. Our overall research projects have ranged from supporting early research on Reid International’s mercury dumping in the English-Wabigoon River System near Grassy Narrows First Nation to our ongoing Social and Environmental Justice Symposium (SEJS).
OPIRG Guelph has identified re-entrenching our research work as a key area for our organizational growth and has a distinct focus on mobilizing scholarship and other knowledge creation, whether from academics, activists, community members, and others. Our Symposium and future research publication (focused on OPIRG’s plethora of working groups, community partners, and internal projects) fit in this vein, as does the PHP.
For us, PHP represents an opportunity to preserve knowledges and understandings found on campus and within the broader Guelph community of major events, projects, and programs which have shaped—from below—social movements in Guelph and impacted the lives of members of our communities. Beyond this, however, there is continuing possibility of learning from these past experiences and coming to understand how Guelph’s grassroots movements and moments still resonate today.