Call for presentations / performances


The Eleventh LGBTQ History and Archives Conference
7 December 2013, 9.30am-4.30pm
London Metropolitan Archives, 40, Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB

Call for Presentations / Performances

Due to much of LGBT History being shaped around legal and political landmarks relating mainly to the experiences of gay men, other queer voices often go unheard. The eleventh LGBT History and Archives Conference explores the histories and experiences of Trans, Lesbian and Bisexual people. These stories are rarely told and, if presented, often not listened to. Come and make some history.

Contributors are invited to submit proposals for performances, presentations and talks lasting ten-twenty minutes,  which explore marginalised experience within an apparently liberated community. Suggested themes: the creation, control and breaking of boundaries; self-asserted and imposed identities; labelling – the liberation and constraint of language; activism – meeting challenges

Deadline for submissions: 6 September 2013     email:

Queer collecting talk at LMA

Firstly, I must apologise for how long it has been since I have updated the blog, LGBT History Month was manic, and alongside writing a chapter about queer oral histories and a little trip to Paris I have barely had time to formulate my thoughts, let alone write them down.

Just a quick blog post to thank everyone who came to my talk last Wednesday about Queer Collecting at the London Metropolitan Archives, and of course to Jan at LMA for allowing me to share my research, and to Howard for facilitating the evening.

As always, the LMA LGBT History Club served as a great forum to share ideas and to generate discussion, and also as an opportunity to run my research-in-progress past people who aren’t my supervisors, which is a really valuable exercise for any research students.

I always like to use literature in my research, and this talk was no different, it was named after a quote from Utz by Bruce Chatwin ‘The right and the need to touch’, and I also mentioned Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, when talking about taste and gender. The quote I referred to was from when the protagonist Mrs de Winter is describing Rebecca’s morning room, which she describes as “a woman’s room” (you can see a picture of me gesticulating wildly about it above), the quote is as follows:

“This was a woman’s room, graceful, fragile, the room of someone who had chosen every particle of furniture with great care, so that each chair, each vase, each small, infinitesimal thing should be in harmony with one another, and with her own personality. It was as though she who had arranged this room had said: ‘This I will have, and this, and this,’ taking piece by piece from the treasures in Manderley each object that pleased her best, ignoring the second-rate, the mediocre, laying her hand with sure certain instinct only upon the best. There was no intermingling of style, no confusing of period, and the result was perfection in a strange and starling way, not coldly formal like the drawing-room shown to the public, but vividly alive, having something of the same glow and brilliance that the rhododendrons had, massed there, beneath the window.”

This provided an interesting starting point to looking at the gendered nature of taste and of collecting, and I elaborated by looking more closely at the research of Susan Pearce, Belk and Wallendorf (some references beneath). I then argued that collecting was a queer act, that required a collector to be gender atypical in behaviour and ended by looking at the survey I conducted with over 60 LGBTQ identified people who owned collections.

I wanted to show a video clip of a documentary called Signs of the Times from the early 90s, but unfortunately it wouldn’t work. It’s very camp and funny, so I thought I would share it here.

‘signs of the times’ documentary clip

Thanks again to everyone who came along, I hope it was useful/interesting/thought provoking/mildly amusing. I will be updating the blog more over the coming days as I have a lot to report back on, including the LMA LGBT conference which was a great success, a recent meeting with Surat Knan of Rainbow Jews, the IOE LGBTQ & Friends group and the events we held for LGBT history month and more!

Belk, R. W. and Wallendorf, M. (1999). ‘Of mice and men: gender identity in collecting’. In S. M. Pearce (Ed.), Interpreting Objects and Collections (pp. 240-253). London: Routledge.

Pearce, S. M. (1994). ‘Leicester Contemporary Collecting Project’s questionnaire’. In S. M. Pearce (Ed.), Interpreting Objects and Collections (pp. 291-295). Oxon: Routledge.

‘The Right and The Need to Touch’: the Queerness of Collecting – talk at the LMA

‘The Right and The Need to Touch’: the Queerness of Collecting

LMA’s monthly LGBT History Club welcomes back Sean Curran for a talk and discussion event.

Wednesday 6th March 2013
18:00 – 19:30

PhD researcher Sean Curran shares his findings from his recent research about the nature of collecting (and specifically personal collections) and the results of a recent survey he conducted amongst LGBTQ collectors. What implications might these results have for museums, archives and libraries collecting material of LGBTQ interest?

London Metropolitan Archives
40 Northampton Rd, London EC1R 0HB

It would be great if you could come! I will be sharing some of my findings from the survey I mentioned previously on this blog, hoping a lively discussion will follow!

(image credit: Backstage at the Royal Holborn Music Hall, from George Sims (ed.), Living London: its work and its play, its humour and its pathos, its sights and its scenes, Vol. 2, p.288 (Cassell, London, 1903) Available at Guildhall Library.)


Brave New World?

Hello all, and happy new queer!

Just a quick plug for this event at the London Metropolitan Archives on February 16th, this is the tenth anniversary of the LGBT History, Archives and Culture Conference and boasts a great wealth of speakers. It’s happening at the Guildhall Art Gallery, see the programme beneath. Click on the images to enlarge, I hope to see you there!

LGBT History Month pre-launch at Bletchley Park

Yesterday I joined Jan Pimblett and others from the London Metropolitan Archives at the LGBT History Month pre-launch event at Bletchley Park. We peopled a stall during the day, and then attended the evening programme of events.

Speakers for the evening included Nigel Tart, who spoke about using LGBT themes in Maths lessons, Elly Barnes (No.1 on the IoS Pink List 2011!) who gave an empowering talk about making schools LGBT friendly and Kirsty Horrocks, a prison officer and member of GALIPS (Gays and Lesbians in the Prison Service), Norwich Pride Choir provided some beautiful entertainment, (including interpretations of coming out stories written in 140 characters!) and ended with a stirring speech by the nephew of Alan Turing, Sir John Dermot Turing.

It was a great day, and aside from the enjoyment and community that LGBT History Month provides, a key theme was that primarily, thanks to LGBT History Month, and Schools Out and some of the fantastic pioneers and activists that were present, young lives are being saved.

Upcoming LGBT History Club events at LMA

London Metropolitan Archives, 40, Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB (except for 7 November – see below)

Moral Maze
Wednesday 5 September

Documents reflecting moral values and attitudes to behaviour will be available to explore with discussion to follow. From blackmailers and the scrutiny of the Public Morality Council to a recent work on ‘Friendship between Gay Men and Heterosexual Women’.

Ajamu Presents…(title TBC)
Wednesday 3 October

As part of Black History Month, photographer and artist Ajamu will present on his work recording Black LGBT people, discuss his forthcoming exhibition, Fierce, at Guildhall Art Gallery and recount his adventures on his 19 day walk from London to Huddersfield to raise funds for the artwork.

The Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive at Bishopsgate Institute
Wednesday 7 November

London Metropolitan Archives is closed for stocktaking and LGBT History Club is on a trip to the Bishopsgate to find out more about LAGNA and its work.
NB MEET AT Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate City of London, EC2M 4QH

Launch of Gateway to Heaven
Wednesday 5 December

Clare Summerskill has gathered memories form older lesbians and gay men and brought them together as a collection of personal histories. Join us for the celebration launch of the book, a chance to talk about the value of personal histories and maybe a pre-holiday visit to the pub afterwards!

Can’t wait for these events, a really great range. The LMA LGBT History Club is really kicking off now with a consistent turn out and great content and discussions!

Brave New World? LMA conference



The Tenth Anniversary London Metropolitan Archives LGBT History and Archives Conference
Saturday February 16th 2013 at Guildhall in the City of London

The LMA are currently planning the Tenth Anniversary LGBT History and Archives Conference which is going to be on February 16th 2013 at Guildhall in the City of London. This is to coincide with Ajamu’s photographic portrait exhibition of young black LGBT artists, trend setters and people of influence called ‘Fierce’ which will be in Guildhall Art Gallery from 1 February to April 14th.

The title, ‘Brave New World?’ provides the opportunity to look at LGBT history / stories and culture in a variety of ways, identifying genuine progress made and considering retrograde steps. There is room for looking to the future and how heritage and cultural activity generated by formal institutions, community groups and individuals might continue to influence and bring about change.

If you would like to contribute to the day in any way through a:
TALK / PRESENTATION – e.g. on a topic, project work, professional practice
DISPLAY OR STALL – promoting / celebrating LGBT history / cultural activity
WORKSHOP/BREAKOUT SESSION – focused on the overarching theme of Brave New World?
Anything else you can think of…

Please email

Deadline for submissions 30 September 2012

The exhibition and the conference should be great, really looking forward to attending this!

upcoming discussion at the London Metropolitan Archives

I’ll start with a plug:
Wednesday 4 July   6pm-7.30pm  FREE drop-in event
London Metropolitan Archives, 40, Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB
On Wednesday 4th July Sean Curran will be presenting some interesting ideas around his current research and opening up a discussion with members of LGBT History Club.
Sean has  been awarded a PhD studentship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) due to start in October and would like to take the opportunity to discuss the nature of his proposed research with a range of people interested in the  field of queering museum and archive practice.
Some areas for discussion:
  • Should interpretation in museums and archives be weighted towards a celebration of a shared queer identity to promote a sense of belonging and community amongst a diverse and varied audience?
  • What broader steps towards inclusion can be made beyond interpretations focusing on difference?
  • How can museums and archives become platforms for identity-forming, both for individuals and communities?
The facebook event can be found here.
We look forward to seeing you.