Fonds 10-047 - Fireweed fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Fireweed fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Textual record
  • Electronic record

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

CA ON0034 10-047

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1978-1999 (Creation)
    Creator
    Fireweed

Physical description area

Physical description

2.73 m of textual records
1 slide
15 drawings
1 computer disk

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

(1978-2002)

Administrative history

Fireweed was founded in Toronto, Canada, in 1978 by a 24 women collective. Originally called Fireweed: A Women’s Literary and Cultural Journal, the journal adopted the name Fireweed: A Feminist Quarterly of Writing, Politics, Art & Culture in 1980. The foreword to the first issue described Fireweed as a “feminist journal devoted to stimulating dialogue, knowledge, and creativity among women” and stated that the journal’s collective was “committed to an editorial policy of diversity.” Collective members have included Gay Allison, Lynne Fernie, Hilda Kirkwood, Liz Brady, Elizabeth Ruth, Makeda Silvera, Carolyn Smart and Rhea Tregebov. Issues of Fireweed usually focuses on a theme or topic, such as "Writing" (#10), "Fear & Violence" (#14), "Women of Colour" (#16), "Sex & Sexuality" (#37 & 38), and "Language" (#44/45), though there are frequent "open" issues. They published the first collection of Jewish feminist works (#35) to critical acclaim. Beginning in 1982, Fireweed invited guest collectives to edit issues of the journal. This was an opportunity for under-represented groups to define their own issues.

Fireweed was committed to an editorial policy of diversity and not intended to represent a particular style or aesthetic. The collective was also committed to print both established and new women authors including works from native and immigrant communities. However, in the beginning of their history Fireweed did not completely adhere to this mandate. Most of their first issues included little or no works from writers of colour, native women, or immigrants. This exclusion created some adverse reactions from the community. By 1982, all but one woman resigned from the original collective and a new eight woman collective was formed. This collective, which included two women of colour, argued extensively about the aesthetics and contents of the journal. By the mid- to late-1980s and beyond, Fireweed began to paint a broader discussion of race, class, and sexuality. Several themed issues that gave voices to minority groups including two issues on Asian women’s writings, Lesbiantics: an issue for and by lesbian women, and a double issue on class. Even though they received letters about certain issues, themes, and writings, Fireweed never compromised their vision. The journal published fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, photographs, and drawings from women around the world. The collective encouraged women from every background to submit their works to the journal. They wanted women to articulate how they were perceived in popular culture. They had an extensive editorial system that involved a group consensus when considering submissions.

The Fireweed collective also wanted to encourage and support women to pursue writing and other arts. They continuously participated in the Ontario Arts Council’s Writer’s Reserve grant system that provided Fireweed the opportunity to recommend funding to writers for individual projects. Their continued work with the arts community created an annual Fireweed festival, which showcased various artists and works from the feminist community. The journal also showcased writing from a number of renowned Canadian artists including Margaret Atwood and Rina Fraticelli, the future head of Studio D at the NFB. Similarly to many other publications, the collective system was not entirely efficient or beneficial to the journal and began to show strain in 1983. By the mid-1990s a new organization was developed to better manage the publication of the journal. First, a 6-member editorial collective was responsible for the editorial direction especially with the development, solicitation, and selection of issue contents. The staff collective included coordinators for sales and marketing, editorials, office management, and the design of the journal itself. Finally the board collective as the legal entity was responsible for overall organizational and staff issues as well as all fiscal matters.

Fireweed was published from 1978 to 2002 with a final double issue on women, race, and war resistance. The quarterly's ISSN is 0706-3857.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds consists of administrative documents such as policies, meeting notes, and transitional documents. It also includes financial documents, correspondence, and organizational documents. Also included are submissions, correspondence, and drafts for individual issues of the journal.

This fonds provides insight into the organization of a feminist collective in Toronto during the late 1970s until the early 1990s. It reflects the different stages of a feminist publication at this time, the cycle of securing funding and internal struggles in terms of creative direction and political aims.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

The majority of the fonds is open and accessible, however, some files are restricted for a predetermined period of time. Please ask ARCS staff for further information.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Associated materials

10-001-S10-F3-I11
10-001-S1-F940

Accruals

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

CA

Institution identifier

ON0034

Rules or conventions

RAD

Status

Final

Level of detail

Full

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created November 2016

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

  • Latin

Sources

Accession area

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres