Guest post: Reflections on ALMS LGBTQ Conference 2016 by Rommi Smith

ALMS 2016 was both affirmation and inspiration. I am absolutely delighted that my paper was selected from the submissions received this year and that I was awarded a bursary from the organising committee. It was a privilege to present at the ALMS2016. As an established writer and performer, in the first year of her practice-based doctoral research, the conference offered a rich opportunity to gather, as part of a critical mass, to share, hear and debate issues central, not only to my own research inquiry but vital, to the historicity, advancement and progression of LGBTQI peoples.

That my paper and presentation (a work-in-progress, lecture-as-performance set to double bass) was received so positively, fuelled the verve and confidence with which I was able to approach my doctoral transfer process. Ideas, concepts, beliefs and conjecture developed in collaboration with my laptop, my artistic collaborators and friends Juliette Ellis and Jenni Molloy, and my supervision team: Professor Jane Taylor and Professor Jane Plastow, had a wider, public airing – in part, for the first time. Buoyed by the strength of the feedback I received from conference attenders (including established professors, researchers and other academic staff), presenting at ALMS2016 offered me a chance to see the positionality of my own research within a library and history of wider research and debate.

Juxtapositions of presentations and presenters led to serendipitous conversations. Those conversations continue. The formation of academic and political alliances is something made possible, under the auspices of the conference.

I am grateful to the conference that those conversations have led to invitations and opportunities to present my research in other parts of the world. In terms of impact and legacy, the ALMS conference has been directly important in forging global connections and friendships, nourishing not only to research, but to life.

Rommi Smith

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