About MOBA

Mapping Ontario’s Black Archives (MOBA) is an Ontario Early Researcher Award-funded project (2021-26) that has three objectives.

  1. To create a comprehensive inventory of Black Ontarian archival collections
  2. To examine, using storytelling, how archives are used by creative communities
  3. To evaluate, over a five-year period, how we can bridge the knowledge gap between Black archival collections and Black history in the province.

Project details

As MOBA’s director and creative lead, Dr. Cheryl Thompson has worked in archives for over a decade. Her experiences working in Black archives underpin this project and its focus on providing the public with wider access to Black collections.

How you can contribute

MOBA is not an archive. We are here to connect you to archives across Ontario. If you have artifacts, images, or documents that you would like to donate to an archive, contact us and we can help facilitate that process.

Meet The MOBA Team

Dr. Cheryl Thompson (she/her)

MOBA Director and Creative Lead is also Director of The Laboratory for Black Creativity (The LBC) and creator of BREC.ca, a website that documents Canada’s history of blackface.

Dr. Thompson is also an Associate Professor, Performance at The Creative School, Toronto Metropolitan University. MOBA is The LBC’s lead project and there are numerous other projects currently in development.

She is the author of:

Canada and the Blackface Atlantic. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press (writing; anticipated 2024)

Uncle: Race, Nostalgia, and the Politics of Loyalty. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2021

Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press, 2019

Dr. Karen Cyrus (she/her)

Dr. Karen Cyrus (she/her), is an Assistant Professor of  Ethnomusicology at Wilfrid Laurier University, and Director of the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa. Dr. Cyrus was MOBA’s postdoctoral fellow (2021-22) and is now MOBA’s co-collaborator and research co-lead.

Lucy Wowk

Lucy Wowk holds an MA in Communication & Culture, TMU/York University and is a PhD student in Social and Political Thought at York University. She is MOBA’s Graphic Designer and Research Co-Lead for The LBC and BREC.ca. Lucy is a researcher, designer, and educator interested in the relationship between ethics and aesthetics. She has catalogued and transcribed over 300 Canadian newspaper articles on the subjects of blackface, performance, and race, spanning 1840-1950. Lucy has also developed and designed BREC.ca. Working with Dr. Cheryl has been influential in her growth as a researcher, in terms of approach, methods, and research dissemination.

Mel Racho (he/him)

Mel Racho (he/him), is PhD Candidate in Communication & Culture, TMU and York University. He is The LBC’s Video Editor and Content Lead. Mel is co-producer of The LBC’s YouTube series, Remixing the Archive. Mel is MOBA’s Research Assistant.(he/him) is a queer trans Fillipinx media artist-scholar interested in creating revolutionary systems. He holds a Master of Information in Information Systems, an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art and Digital Media. Mel’s PhD is focused on data de/colonial infrastructures within the evolution and futurity of the web. He creatively contributes to York U’s Digital Justice Lab, the University of Ottawa and Carleton Universities’ Transgender Media Portal and Digital Democracies Institute’s Data Fluencies project.

Enna Kim

Enna Kim is an interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto, Canada. Enna is MOBA’s Event Graphic Designer. In her work as an artist, Enna explores the dimensions between her hyphenated Korean-Canadian identity through animation, projection mapping and large-scale murals. Enna has exhibited work in InterAccess Gallery, Xpace Cultural Centre and events such as BIG on Bloor Festival, BigArtTO and Burning Man. She is a recent OCAD University graduate from the Digital Futures program, and the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) in Scotland. Enna has an MA in Communication & Culture from York/TMU University.

Megan Judd

Megan Judd is The LBC’s Promotion and Media Lead. She holds a BA in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and has worked in advertising and media promotion for several years. Megan is MOBA’s media contact and is a liaison for Dr. Cheryl’s speaking engagements and public appearances.