New portfolio brings together Queen’s libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and performing arts


New portfolio brings together Queen’s libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and performing arts

June 21, 2024


The Office of the Provost has announced the creation of a new portfolio that brings together Queen’s libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and performing arts.

Led by Vice Provost Mark Asberg, the new portfolio includes the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (AGNES), the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, the Queen’s Quarterly, W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections, Queen’s University Archives, in addition to Queen’s five campus libraries (Jospeh S. Stauffer Library, Douglas Library, Bracken Health Sciences Library, Lederman Law Library, and the Education Library) and system wide-library operations and related services (Information Resources, Information Services, Digital Initiatives and Open Scholarship, Queen’s Research Data Centre, and the Queen’s Copyright Advisory Office), and a strong relationship with the Union Gallery. 

The alignment under one portfolio represents a unique opportunity to build on Queen's innovative museology; world-class visual art collections and state-of-the-art facilities for advanced curatorial and performance practice; and highly valued library holdings, archives, and rare books and special collections. 

  • The only professional public art gallery between the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa, AGNES is known for its award-winning program of exhibitions, public and education initiatives, and artistic and scholarly publications. Its outstanding collections – numbering over 17,000 artworks – include contemporary art, Canadian historical art, contemporary Indigenous art and ancestors, decorative arts, and historical dress. AGNES is also home to the Bader Collection, which includes the most comprehensive collection of authenticated paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn and his circle in any institution within Canada. A radical reimagining of the art centre’s social and civic role coincides with a new facility, planned for 2026.
  • The Isabel’s prize-winning state-of-the-art design, superb performance and teaching spaces, programming and educational initiatives, along with its record of an inclusive, welcoming environment, have provided distinctive spaces for national, international, and community performing artists for a decade. 
  • For more than a century, Queen’s University Library has been developing and stewarding world-class scholarly collections and offering seamless access to the global knowledge commons; curating and preserving rich archival holdings, rare books, and special collections; creating safe and inviting spaces for research, study, and collaboration; and providing an array of services and supports that advance the teaching and research enterprise of the university.     

“Closer working relationships among Queen’s libraries, AGNES, and the Isabel will create new opportunities and generative collisions across the broad range of professional endeavors in the portfolio,” says Dr. Asberg. “This collaborative and interdisciplinary approach will offer enriching experiences that will challenge epistemological structures, inspire curiosity, and bring communities together for crucial conversations.”

The operational teams are committed to advancing Queen’s strategic priorities, and supporting Indigenization, equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and accessibility, (I-EDIAA). Responsible and respectful stewardship and animation of artistic and scholarly holdings and cultural experiences respond to the needs and interests of groups and individuals across diverse communities. Experts in libraries, archives, museums, and the performing arts will work with and alongside communities to explore ideas, advance positive change, and co-create and maximize positive impact. 

Exciting initiatives already underway across the portfolio include Agnes Reimagined, envisioning an entirely different architectural approach to public art museum building and practice in Canada; the launch of the Isabel Bader Centre’s 10th anniversary season, a celebration of retrospectives from the past 10 years and an exciting exploration of perspectives for innovative future directions in public and educational programming; and the upcoming launch of Queen’s University Library’s new web presence and the renovation of Stauffer Library’s main floor

Operation of this portfolio at Queen’s will begin July 1, 2024. 

Campus Updates