Welcome to VIVO’s Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive

The Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive (CDMLA) at VIVO Media Arts Centre is situated on the stolen Unceded Territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are caretakers of a significant repository of videotapes by artists and independent producers. Spanning 60 years of production, its nearly 8000 media works reflect the complexity of video art history.

Start your search at COLLECTIONS >



Latin American Video Art in the VIVO  Archive
A Response in dialogue with Gabriela Aceves Sepulveda’s research on Women Art and the Periphery
An Archive/Counter Archive event.
Part of the VIVO case study Gendered Violence: Responses & Remediations.
Held at VIVO Media Arts Centre, May 24, 2023.
Taking VIVO’s documentation of Women Art and the Periphery (WAP) as a point of departure, this screening and library viewing program features a selection of Latin American video, sound and archival documentation that address gendered violence through a multigenerational and intersectional lens.  Co-editor of the publication  Encounters in Video Art in Latin America (Getty Publications, 2023) Elena Shtromberg joins Karen Knights, Sarah Shamash, and Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda, for a discussion about collections, archives and Latin American video distribution networks across the Americas. 
Documentation: In Visible Colours Remediated 2022
An Archive/Counter Archive event.
Part of the VIVO case study Gendered Violence: Responses & Remediations.
Held at VIVO Media Arts Centre, September 23-24, 2022.
Originally held in Vancouver from November 15th-19th, 1989, the ground-breaking event, In Visible Colours: An International Women of Colour and Third World Women Film/Video Festival and Symposium was co-founded by Zainub Verjee and Lorraine Chan in partnership with Women in Focus and National Film Board. With over 100 films and videos from 28 countries, In Visible Colours emerged amid socio-political upheaval of the late 1970s and 1980s that foregrounded race and gender and the politics of cultural difference.  Thirty years later we brought together some of the original participants of IVC, including Verjee, along with students, researchers, curators and contemporary producers for workshops, panels and screenings.
The images, such as they are, do have an effect on us
An Archive/Counter Archive project.
Part of the VIVO case study Gendered Violence: Responses & Remediations.
By Hazel Meyer & Cait McKinney
In the 1980s, many feminists opposed to porn drew on the language of gender violence to make their case, arguing that all sexually explicit images of women were harmful. Working against this position and the creep of censorship into smaller moving image formats in the province, queer and feminist artists defended sexual expression and created alternative visual languages for sex. Each side organized conferences and screenings, wrote position papers, protested, and kept making their work through it all.  Playing with questions of polarization and memory, the artists created two dossiers: one represents the working files of an anti-porn feminist; the other of an artist/organizer involved in anti-censorship work. Some of the records are real, others are imagined based on scraps, remnants, and gossip.


Sara Diamond: Activism & Cultural Acts in Vancouver (1974 -1994)
Newly digitized videos, audio recordings, photos, documents and ephemera related to Diamond’s practice as activist, historian and cultural worker while living in Vancouver over two decades.
This project was made possible with the support of the BC History Digitization Program.
49 Years of Satellite Video Exchange Society Programs 
The Satellite Video Exchange Society – operating as Video Inn, Video In, Video In Studios, and VIVO Media Arts Centre – has produced public programming since 1973. Some of these events have been documented. So has, much rarely and more informally, the internal workings of the collective and organization, and its cultural workers.  For the past year, we’ve been digitizing our documentation collection including videos, audio, photographs, and documents. A portion is now available online or by request. 
This Project has been made possible in part by the Documentary Heritage Communities Program offered by Library and Archives Canada / Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au Programme pour les collectivités du patrimoine documentaire offert par Bibliothèque et Archives Canada.
From the Paul Wong Archive
Art, Culture & Politics Through the Portable Video Lens (1973-1993)
This exhibit features the early video experiments by Vancouver media artist, Paul Wong – as creator, videographer, director, and collaborator – with the first portable video technology that emerged in the 1960s (1/2″ open reel) and the much smaller and lighter formats of the 1980-90s (Video 8/Hi-8 cassette).
This project was supported by the BC History Digitization Program.


A video still as an image of a black and white paste-up publication to an image of a 1984 image of a tan Macintosh Computer with a pixellated script of the word "hello" on the screen. The page includes captions.
A/Mending the Little Books of Margaret Dragu
This Sticky Impulse revisits and reimagines Margaret Dragu’s publishing project Little Books (1987-2011) aka Same Day Edit Press. These “create-in-one-day” paste-ups of “poetry, manifestos, stand-up monologues, short stories, and rants” capture the slippery struggles of Margaret as artist, wage labourer, mother and activist. Dragu, in collaboration with Access Artist, Cheryl Green, continues her investigation into the potentiality of publishing in three new videos that amend and expand on original content from her Little Books. Includes a conversatin between Jacob Wren and Margaret on writing and performance. (transcript available).
Videos include Captions and Audio Description
Women & West Coast Labour 
80 years of action for equity in domestic & workplace labour by women in B.C.
This exhibit features media and publications from the Sara Diamond and Women In Focus fonds.
Part 1: Chambermaids to Whistlepunks
Part 2: Working Women In Focus
This Project has been made possible in part by the Documentary Heritage Communities Program offered by Library and Archives Canada / Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au Programme pour les collectivités du patrimoine documentaire offert par Bibliothèque et Archives Canada.

Celebration ’90
Gay Games III & Cultural Festival
Online at Digital Museum Canada
Celebration ’90 chronicles the fascinating eight-year journey taken by a small group of Vancouver amateur athletes which led to the first Gay Games to be hosted outside the United States. The exhibit is centered around s video documentation and interviews with staff, volunteers, and athletes, shot by Fast Forward Productions  founded by Vancouver producer and lesbian activist,Mary Anne McEwen).



Every Queer Thing
A Subject Guide to Archival Materials of Queer Identity or Experience.
A searchable online finding aid for LGBTQ2S+ media, publications, and Special Collections at the CDMLA.
A Research Guide to Indigenous Materials at the CDMLA
A searchable online finding aid highlighting videos, ephemera, publications  and other records created by, with, or about Indigenous peoples within the archive.
Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archives Week
Recollective is a joint initiative of 221AArtspeakgrunt galleryRungh MagazineThe Morris and Helen Belkin Art GalleryVIVO Media Arts CentreWestern Front, and Allison Collins, Curator.
VIVO projects Pisces Midheaven: The Lenore Herb Cassette Collection and Trans Archival Futures with Chase Joynt & Chris E.Vargas.
ACA Logo Square
Gendered Violence: Responses and Remediations
Active Years: 2021-2023
A Research, Residency, and Publication Project
In VIVO’s case study, researchers are investigating our archival collections to develop understanding of the social ecology of collectives and collaborations, solidarities and complex affiliations across generations and through settler and Indigenous community-based movements/initiatives responding to gendered  violence. Researchers include Zoe Druick,  Susan Lord,  Cait McKinney, and Gabriela Aceves.


En Grève! 1970s French Activisms at the CDMLA
1970s French militant video & related CDMLA resources. A supplemental exhibit and guide to videos presented as part of  En grève: 1970s French Labour Activism on Screen, a project of Unit Pitt and VIVO.
What Remains: Meg Torwl
The most recent iteration of the Sticky Impulse,  a series that features our Special Collections. The What Remains exhibit drawn from the Meg Torwl fonds. Video, radio, poetry, drawings, and photographs related to the practice of  queer and disability activist, Meg Torwl, created in British Columbia and New Zealand.
Women, Art & the Periphery
Mujeres, arte y periferia
Documentation of Chilean artists Diamela Eltit, Nellie Richards, and Lotty Rosenfeld In Residence at Women In Focus and Video In, 1987.


Open by appointment only. Occupancy limits apply.
Please forward appointment requests to library@vivomediaarts.com.
We are also happy to assist with remote research.