The Queer Research and Advocacy Center, known as the Q Collective, serves as a creative and intellectual hub in support of LGBTQIA+ artistic and scholarly activities among faculty, staff, students and the Greater Richmond community. The Q Collective supports LGBTQIA+ research, scholarship and advocacy; and works to inform and serve the community. The creation of the Q Collective establishes VCU as a national leader in a rapidly growing and evolving field. The Q Collective emphasizes a commitment to VCU’s values of diversity and inclusion.
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Archana A. Pathak, Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success;
Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
Maurice N. Gattis, Ph.D., Associate Professor;
School of Social Work
Dr. Gattis has engaged in research activities regarding health disparities; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) populations; homelessness and adolescent risk behaviors in the United States and Canada. He served as iCubed visiting scholar in the Intersections in the Lives of LGBTQIA+ Communities Core from 2019-20 and is currently conducting a study regarding LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness in Cape Town, South Africa. He is also working on the development of a shelter for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness in Richmond through funding secured from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund Homeless Reduction Grant. Dr. Gattis is a Fulbright Scholar and the Founding Board Chair of Sweet Evening Breeze, Inc.
The Queer Research & Advocacy Collective (The Q Collective) builds, represents, and serves VCU’s intellectual and creative communities by developing and supporting scholarly and artistic activity that centers and nourishes the diversity of VCU students, employees, alumni and the greater Richmond community. The Q Collective employs a research/advocacy/activist model through a creation, catalyst, and community rubric to connect, generate and support scholarly and creative work centering on LGBTQIA+ communities across multiple identities.
The Q Collective generates scholarship, creative works, processes, and policies for transformative change benefitting LGBTQIA+ communities broadly defined. The Q Collective connects research and advocacy, integrating overlapping constituencies (faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members); and, focuses on and supports scholars and artists and the creation of their work through trans-disciplinary and intersectional approaches.
Research, Scholarship and Advocacy
Scholars are doing groundbreaking research in this area and students are engaging in exciting scholarship and creative work. The Q Collective’s emphasis on research and advocacy aligns with the way researchers in the LGBTQIA+ approach their work. For so many people who do research in this area, it’s ultimately about making the community better. It’s about creating more inclusive spaces and creating a more just world. It’s about that relationship between what we do and the purpose of what we do.
Momentum has gathered in recent years at VCU to increase the university’s investment in LGBTQIA+ studies. In fall 2018, the College of Humanities and Sciences hired three new tenure-track faculty focused on LGBTQIA+ topics through its Big Ideas initiative. Also, iCubed, the university’s center that invests in transdisciplinary academic and research programs, in the past year has recruited faculty to fill transdisciplinary core research in LGBTQIA+ intersectionality. VCU has also introduced a new interdisciplinary minor in LGBT+ and queer studies.
Communication and Collaboration
Through its multi-pronged focus on research and creative expression, advocacy and education, the Q Collective will create numerous opportunities for collaboration among faculty, staff and students throughout the university.
A core mission of the Q Collective will be helping develop conversations and collaborations. There are many people in the VCU community who are doing excellent LGBTQ+ research and advocacy work on campus and in the larger community, but at a university as large as VCU, even those of us who are involved in this work don’t always see what is being done in other departments and units.
We’re excited about the potential for the Q Collective to facilitate collaboration and advocacy, raise awareness about resources, and bring greater visibility to some of the excellent scholarship and work that is being done at VCU.
The Q Collective will not be an isolated institution. The center will form natural partnerships with academic and nonacademic units and provide opportunities for the entire VCU community. The Greater Richmond community will play an essential role in the Q Collective. Engaging the broader LGBTQIA+ community on campus and in the Richmond community will be central to the center’s success. We also have amazing support from our community partners. The Q Collective will provide them with the resources and opportunities that they deserve.
The Q Collective will continue to elevate VCU to a position of national prominence in this important area of work. The center will stand out on the national higher education landscape as a rare effort to merge research, scholarship and advocacy to bring greater awareness to issues that affect LGBTQIA+ populations and communities. The center demonstrates to the world that VCU is the place for LGBTQ research, scholarship, creativity and advocacy.
This center will position us to be a part of this conversation in a very meaningful way, and it’s going to put us in the forefront on these topics. This combination of doing the work and understanding the integrated relationship between communities, scholarship and efficacy isn’t something you will find in many other places.