Emmanuel Gallant “YES / NO / MAYBE – a great deal of fuss over nothing of importance” (accounting analysis pad, 2011)


The archival collection of the Centre des arts actuels Skol documents the activities of this non-profit artist-run centre, founded in Montreal in 1986. The principal activities of the centre are exhibitions, performances, off-site events, professional development activities for artists, educational activities, poetry readings, publications, and study groups. The collection currently contains 10.9 metres of text and other documents in 20 containers. It contains administrative and programming documents, correspondence, press clippings, printed matter, iconographic documents (sketches, photographs, slides, digital images), videos, audio recordings, and objects produced or received between 1984 and 2003.

This collection is now available for consultation by researchers, artists, historians, and curators, as well as for artistic projects in the context of Skol’s regular programming. To date, a number of projects have already been produced with material from the archives, notably the November-December 2011 exhibition Embracing the Archive. Please visit the Call for Submissions page for details on how to submit a project, or contact us at to schedule an appointment for consultation.



Skol’s archives were processed by archivist Denis Lessard from February to September 2011, and served as a pilot project in the context of a larger process to encourage the accountability of artist-run centres in regard to their archives. A few Montreal artist-run centres have already deposited all or part of their archives with the Concordia University Archives, but the hosting capacity of this space is already very limited. Given the significant number of artist-run centres (over 70 throughout Quebec), there is a pressing need to develop new solutions for managing these archives.

If the development of artist-run centres has, to date, been made possible through government financial support, it is important to preserve not only their documentary heritage, but also their memory as organizations which have contributed to Quebec culture. Since the experience carried out at Skol, other centres such as articule (Montreal), 3e impérial (Granby), and Séquence (Chicoutimi) have also taken steps towards evaluating and processing their archives.

Presentation on the processing of artist-run centre archives, (French only) given by Denis Lessard as part of the Forum des archivistes français, Angers, March 2013.