Welcome drinks reception

All delegates are warmly invited to a welcome drinks reception hosted by our conference partners at the University of Westminster on Tuesday 21 June, from 6-9pm.

The reception takes place in the boardroom of the university’s 309 Regent Street building. It is an informal event and will be a great chance to meet fellow delegates and the steering committee members before the conference begins.

Although the event is free, you need to register separately to attend via University of Westminster’s Eventbrite page. Please register here.


Exhibition: Speak Out London



On day 3 of the conference will be an opportunity to see the exhibition Speak Out London: Diversity City, which is part of a Heritage Lottery Funded LGBTQ oral history exhibition. Members of the curatorial team will be on hand to answer questions. In the Mediatheque, delegates will be able to listen to more clips from the oral history and to see some of the huge collections of LGBTQ material held at the London Metropolitan Archives.

The opening times for LMA are as follows:

Monday 9.30am – 4.45pm (closed bank holidays)
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.30am – 7.30pm*
Friday closed


Speaker spotlight: Helen Kennedy

Generating Archival Stories around Same-Sex Marriage in Canada 

Helen Kennedy is a Canadian politician and social activist. Born in Ireland, Helen moved to Canada as a young adult and became involved in campaigning for workplace safety and equality through her work as editor of the Industrial Accident Prevention Association magazine. In 1985, she was hired by the Ontario New Democratic Party and served the party for fourteen years in opposition and government. During that time, Helen founded the East York Tenants’ Association, which lobbied for rent controls and tenant rights. She also established Citizens for Access, an awareness campaign to open up public buildings to people with disabilities. Today Helen is executive director of Egale Canada Human Rights Trust (ECHRT). ECHRT was founded in 1986 and is Canada’s only national charity promoting LGBTQ+ human rights through research, education and community engagement. ECHRT aims to create a world free of all forms of discrimination. Helen will address the international theme of ALMS 2016 by sharing details of her work to ensure the experience of same-sex marriage in Canada has a meaningful archival presence.

Helen is speaking on day 1 of the conference

Screening: Umunthu

Umunthu (2013 / 30min): screening of documentary film about homosexuality in Malawi

Umunthu_poster Final_Final


Art and Global Health Center Africa (AGHCA – www.aghcafrica.org) is very excited to be screening the film Umunthu at the ‘Without Borders’ conference. Umunthu was made by a young Malawian film maker, Mwizalero Nyirenda (Mwiza), as part of AGHCA’s Students With Dreams programme.

The topic of homosexuality in Malawi is highly contentious and complex. It is commonly described and widely perceived as a western cultural imposition – ‘un-African’, ‘un-Malawian’ and ‘un-Christian’. LGBTI people face discrimination in their daily lives- a recent study by Afrobarometer http://afrobarometer.org/publications/tolerance-in-africa found that only 6 out of 100 Malawians would tolerate having a homosexual neighbour (far greater intolerance than any other group included in the study, such as people of different ethnicities and immigrants), and research by the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation found only 2 of a sample of 24 health workers said they are not prejudiced against LGBTI people. Homosexual acts are criminalised, and a recent moratorium on arrests met a strong public backlash, triggering instances of targeted violence against the LGBTI community.

Against the perception of foreign imposition, Mwiza was moved to explore the topic of homosexuality through an African cultural lens – that of Umunthu, a Pan-African philosophical concept of humanity, often defined in the phrase, “I am because we are.” The film follows the journey of three young Malawians – the filmmaker and two friends who have opposing views on gay rights – as they explore the issue with experts and people in different parts of Malawi.

Umunthu has won the Sembene Ousmane prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and has been screened internationally at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, Boston International Film Festival, Zanzibar International Film Festival, Harvard University and Boston University. It also won 4 awards at the first ever Malawian international film festival, Lilongwe Shorts in May 2015.

AGHCA has toured Umunthu around Malawian universities and other venues, to create a platform for discussion about homosexuality based around local concepts and values. We’re now shifting our programming to in depth workshops, applying the Umunthu philosophy and way of life to enable participants to reflect and engage on issues of stigma and discrimination, with a particular focus on LGBTI people. Ultimately the workshops aim to elicit empathy and bring awareness of our oneness as people.

Art and Global Health Center Africa is a small charity based in Zomba, Malawi. We believe in the transformative power of the arts for experiential learning, cross-cultural understanding, eliciting empathy and strengthening of community. We work to foster creative leadership and implement innovative arts-based health-oriented programmes that inspire and mobilise. Center programmes use collaboration to nurture healthy, empowered, open and active communities in Malawi.

The Umunthu film will be introduced by AGHCA’s Executive Director, Helen Todd.

Twitter: @aghcafrica1

The screening takes place on day 1 of the conference

Speaker spotlight: Bird La Bird


Queer Portrait of a Workhouse

In 2015 Bird created a performative lecture exploring both the history of St Martin’s Workhouse which once stood on the site of the National Portrait Gallery and to uncover the lives and experiences of LGBTI people who found themselves in workhouses or pauper institutions. The performance focuses on a number of queer individuals from the 18th and 19th century. The final part of the show focuses on “A Night in the Workhouse”. A Victorian scandal around queer goings on in the Lambeth Workhouse.

LGBT history often tells of the great and the good and the lives of the comfortable classes.  By contrast, this project platforms the lives of the Queer Poor and shows modern LGBT audiences that punishing the so-called underclass is nothing new and that rebellion, resistance and survival is in the DNA.

Bird la Bird

Bird la Bird is an artist who straddles comedy and performance art. She has been described as a Queer Pearly Queen and a Haute Couture Fishwife.

She has been creating ‘Queer People’s History Tours’ for the past 4 years and presented outings at the V&A, the NPG and the Wallace Collection. Her tours combine costume, comedy and gossip to explore history in a fun and entertaining way.  The material is hard hitting addressing homophobia, imperialism and class exploitation. Her starting point is to educate herself and find out what she’s not being told in official histories. Bird strongly believes that all histories have a queer angle.

Bird favours bold playful characters, bastardised Brechtian methods and satirical polemics. 

Bird is a long term associate artist with the Duckie collective, appearing in Copyright Christmas at the Barbican, Gay Shame and many other projects. Her solo shows and group pieces have been presented at the V&A, WOW! Festival Southbank, Queer Fringe Festival, Flare at BFI, NPG, Dixon’s Place NYC, Trashing Performance and Theatre Brut Vienna. Bird has also been a guest lecturer at Goldsmiths, Leeds University, Manchester Metropolitan University and San Francisco Art Institute.

Bird will be speaking on  day 1 of the conference

Speaker spotlight: Todd Wiener

Digital Opportunities and Online Barriers: YouTube and IN THE LIFE

“In late 2015, UCLA Film & Television Archive launched its first major digital access initiative: placing all episodes of the LGBT news and public affairs television series IN THE LIFE online as part of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project. This ALMS presentation will explore the complexities and challenges of inventorying, digitizing and cataloguing this extensive, historic LGBT collection with the ultimate intent of creating a robust research and access environment on the web. Issues to be discussed include ongoing access challenges presented by intellectual property and copyright. While the IN THE LIFE collection was donated with copyright to UCLA, the episodes themselves contain extensive third-party material that had originally been licensed for limited broadcast use. This paper will also address the legal complexities surrounding copyright as it relates to restrictions placed on the Archive’s digital platform of choice for this project — YouTube.”


Todd Wiener

Todd Wiener is the Motion Picture Archivist for UCLA Film & Television Archive, with over 16 years of service. He serves as the Archive’s liaison with major donors and preservation partners including Outfest, Sundance Institute, Directors Guild of America and The Film Foundation. In addition, Wiener oversees 600 print loans annually to festivals and museums worldwide, including the London Film Festival, Museum of Modern Art in New York and many others. He serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, Film Noir Foundation and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

UCLA Film & Television Archive

UCLA Film & Television Archive is renowned for its pioneering efforts to rescue, preserve and showcase moving image media, and is dedicated to ensuring our collective visual memory is explored for generations to come. A unique resource for media study, the Archive is one of the largest repositories of moving image materials in the world—more than 400,000 holdings. In 2005, the Archive collaborated with Outfest to create the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project. At over 36,000 holdings, it is one of the largest publicly accessible collections of LGBT moving images in the world.

Website: www.cinema.ucla.edu
Facebook:  UCLAFilmTVArchive
Twitter:  UCLAFTVArchive

Todd will be speaking on day 2 of the conference

Speaker spotlight: Ajamu

Archival DirtThe Politics of Pleasure in Black Queer Archives

“Pleasure only starts once the worm has got into the fruit” – Georges Bataille

The main objective of this presentation is to acknowledge the politics of pleasure within Black queer archives and archival activism.

rukus! Federation is known for its long-standing and successful programme of community-based work with Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans artists and cultural producers; locally, nationally and internationally. Our work has a reputation for being dynamic and participative, and includes one off events, screenings, workshops, debates and exhibitions. The rukus! Black LGBT Archive, launched in 2005, generates, collects, preserves and makes available to the public historical, cultural and artistic materials relating to our lived experience in contemporary Britain.

The history, experience and achievements of predominantly Black gender transgressors and individuals with non-normative sexualities do not appear in their rightful place in archival records of people’s lives.

The compound impact of racism, homophobia, transphobia and hetrosexism operates to exclude people altogether, or to deny an essential element of somebody’s identity. In the last few years a considerable amount of literature has been published on queering archives and archival activism.

My concern is that queer archives, including my own work, risk becoming locked into poor notions of identity politics and representation and inadvertently deny other ways in which community history and heritage can be discussed and more importantly felt.

This presentation is motivated by a desire to consider identity specific archives in more nuanced ways, using pleasure as a political tactic.


Ajamu is a London based fine art photographer and curator (www.rukus.org.uk) and one of the UK’s leading specialist Black LGBT histories. He has been involved with Queer, Trans, Intersex, People of Colour (QTIPOC) communities, and wider social justice activism, for over 20 years, working primarily in the UK, but connected and active nationally and internationally. In 2015, he completed his MA in Queer Studies at Birmingham School of Art.

Website: www.ajamu-fineartphotography.co.uk
rukus! website: www.rukus.org.uk

Ajamu will be speaking on day 2 of the conference

Speakers spotlight: Manon Parry and Hugo Schalkwijk

Recreating Heritage to Enrich Histories: The AIDS History Digital Scrapbook Project

Medical heritage relating to recent history is vulnerable to destruction due to the undervaluation of its significance in medical settings, where resources are focused on contemporary health challenges rather than the preservation of the recent past. In the last five years, for example, a scrapbook of staff and patient images, ephemera, and personal memories documenting the activities in first AIDS ward in the Netherlands has been lost, presumed destroyed. Parry and Schalkwijk, with funding from the Amsterdam Center for Heritage and Identity, are recreating/reinventing this lost object, as an experiment in blending archival and artistic activities and digital tools to diversify the perspectives collected and exhibited in museums. The scrapbook incorporates personal photographs and ephemera, documents and photographs from the archives of Dutch hospitals with designated AIDS wards, radio and television broadcasts, and the reflections of people who worked there in the 1980s and 1990s, or who were treated there, as well as others who visited friends or family members. The project will also grow through the use of social media to solicit online submissions to the scrapbook.

In this presentation the presenters will demonstrate the Digital Scrapbook and discuss their experiences researching, collecting, and exhibiting AIDS Histories in the Netherlands.

The presenters are part of a wider Dutch effort to expand museum and archival collecting of LGBT history in general, and are developing various activities to expand the public history of AIDS as part of their international consortium on “Museums, Medicine & Society.” This presentation connects to the ALMS conference theme of Barriers, with the focus on the preservation of vulnerable objects and images, and Margins, as we will consider the lessons our project offers for exhibiting histories of marginalized groups whose archives and objects may not have been collected. Combining social and medical history, the project also addresses Connections, as we aim to broaden the scope of medical history and bring together patient and practitioner communities.

“Queering the Collections” initiative website: http://www.ihlia.nl/queering/

Manon and Hugo will be speaking on day 2 of the conference

Speaker spotlight: Martin Pel

Gluck: Did She Really Wear That? 

This paper will explore the potential and complexities of using dress as evidence of lives lived. The artist Gluck (1895 – 1978) declared her lesbian identity through the dress she wore; masculine tailored garments, shirts with ties, ‘men’s’ shoes from Lobbs and her hair cropped short. In 1977 she donated a large collection of clothing to Brighton Museum.

The gift includes Tunisian menswear and two linen painter’s smocks, but the majority of the items comprise – perhaps surprisingly – ‘arty’ flowery dresses, and fashionable slightly bohemian women’s evening wear. Museum correspondence reveals that many items were her girlfriends, the journalist Edith Shackleton Heald (1885 – 1976). We know that a black bifurcated evening dress was made for Gluck in the 1930 was and subsequently enlarged. Gluck was shorter than Edith, but an examination of the garments suggests anomalies about who wore what.

In 1937 Gluck painted probably the most famous image of a lesbian relationship of her and her lover ‘wife’ Nesta Obermer . Entitled ‘Medallion’ Gluck called it the ‘YouWe’, re-enforcing the idea of conjoined lovers. Is the donation of dress to Brighton also a declaration of ‘YouWe’; of two lives lived as one?

The paper will also analyse Gluck’s style, derived from photographic evidence, and explore what rendered it apparently masculine, in the 1920s when ‘garconne’ styles were the height of chic. It will also ponder another 1930s dress, made for Gluck in the offices of French Vogue but which – to contemporary eyes – seems incongruous.

In 2017 these items will form part of an exhibition on Gluck at Brighton Museum, curated by myself and Professor Amy de la Haye (University of the Arts, London). We are also working closely with Diana Souhami, Gluck’s biographer, and cultural historian Elizabeth Wilson.

Martin will be speaking on day 1 of the  conference

Speaker spotlight: Chris Hartman

Tales from the City, Appalachia, and Beyond: The Kentucky LGBT Heritage Initiative

CH - KY LGBT Heritage Initative Logo

“As part of the Fairness Campaign’s 25th anniversary, the Kentucky LGBT Heritage Initiative has collected LGBT history from all across our commonwealth—including rural Appalachia—to yield the first-ever statewide LGBT Historic Context narrative in the U.S. Based on that narrative, at least two historic LGBT sites in Kentucky are being nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

The Kentucky LGBT Heritage Initiative is a collaborative partnership between the Fairness Campaign—a quarter-century-old LGBT advocacy group in the American South—the University of Louisville’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, the Williams-Nichols LGBT Collection housed in the University of Louisville’s Special Collections, the Kentucky Heritage Council, State Historic Preservation Office, and Preservation Louisville. The initiative is made possible by a grant from the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior.”

Chris Hartman

CH - Hartman Headshot 2015Chris Hartman is the first director of Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign. Recently, he has helped nearly triple the number of Kentucky cities with LGBT anti-discrimination Fairness Ordinances, from three to eight, including the state capital Frankfort and Appalachian coal town of Vicco. Previously Chris served as Congressman John Yarmuth’s campaign press secretary, an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) in St. Louis, and director of the Democratic National Committee’s open-air Grassroots Campaigns in Philadelphia for the 2004 presidential election. He is a Louisville Metro Landmarks Commissioner and serves on the board of the national Equality Federation and Kentuckiana AIDS Alliance.

The Fairness Campaign

CH - 2012 Rainbow LogoFounded in 1991, the Fairness Campaign is Kentucky’s broad-based community effort dedicated to equal rights for lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Its primary goal is comprehensive civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to dismantle systemic racism. The organization helps lead the Fairness Coalition, a collaborative partnership between the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU-KY), the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, and Lexington Fairness. Together, these organizations coordinate state and local public education and legislative strategy for LG
BT rights.

Website: www.Fairness.org
Twitter: @FairnessCamp
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/FairnessCampaign

Chris will be speaking on day 3 of the conference