Retracing Struggles for Recognition





Explore a half-century of struggles to recognize the rights of these groups and meet those who led the charge. Discover numerous organizations that claim equal rights for all. Firsthand accounts, posters, photos and engaged works of art illustrate this march toward inter-recognition for women and minority groups such as persons with disabilities, persons with mental health problems, those of immigrant descent, as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community.



The Pride Parade in Montreal
Line Chamberland Collection

The question of human rights has profoundly impacted the history of the second half of the 20th century. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, numerous States have followed the example and adopted charters recognizing the fundamental rights of their citizens. In Quebec, the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is adopted in 1976. But legal advancements are only one facet of the struggle for rights.

Since the 1960s, numerous initiatives, organizations, and alliances have been created to defend and promote the rights of marginalized groups. Despite their differences, these groups share common experiences of stigmatization, marginalization, and violence; they are in equal pursuit of visibility, dignity, and solidarity. They likewise prove creative in their exploration of alternative ways forward as they seek full recognition of their rights.


In 2012, numerous organizations oppose bill C-31, which aims to modify the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Collection Solidarité sans frontières
Members of the group Action des femmes handicapées, World March of Women in 2005. 
Photo : Sylvain Michaud, Collection Yolanda Munoz-Gonzalez












The exhibition presents part of a vast body of firsthand accounts and material traces collected by the InterReconnaissance research team. Interview extracts, posters, photos, documents, artifacts and engaged artistic works illustrate a rich and unique heritage recounting struggles to defend the rights of certain marginalized groups.

The exhibition does not treat these struggles for the recognition of rights as a march toward progress, but rather takes note of the gains, the setbacks, the frailty and the tensions that make up their past and present. 

This “grassroots History” is emphasized in each space, through firsthand video accounts of activists, documents, artifacts and iconographic elements from the five sections: LGBTQ+, women, disabilities, mental health, and migration/refugee. 

The exhibition also highlights the rich artistic and cultural contributions that accompany such movements, through a selection of artistic works and artist interviews.


Creative workshop for the community art project Nous les femmes que l’on ne sait pas voir, Chicoutimi, 2010
Photo : Diane Trépanière, Collection Suzanne Boisvert


The exhibition is born of a vast project reuniting researchers from three Quebecois universities since 2012. Their objective is to gather voices and traces from 50 years of mobilizing for the rights of minority groups in Quebec. Meetings with activists from five sectors (LGBT, women, disability, mental health, and migration/refugee) have allowed the research team to amass a large body of materials that demonstrate certain struggles for the recognition of rights – an important part of Quebec’s social history.


This research was made possible by the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Centre et laboratoires de recherche — Cultures – Arts – Sociétés (CELAT), the group ÉRASME (Équipe de Recherche et d’Action en Santé Mentale et Culture), the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS), the International Network on the Disability Creation Process (INDCP), and the Chaire de recherche sur l’homophobie.