On Using and Being Used: The Masochist in the Library
“Relying on the perhaps unlikely alliance of Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Žižek, Ron Day, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, I read the formulation of a library “user” as a masochistic discourse. Such a frame illustrates the possibility for agency in acts of subordination – in a desire to submit – while demonstrating the necessary interrelation between the masochist and the dominant. I consider how the user is used by the library, and how the constitution of subjects is integral to relations of power between the library and its users. By submitting to the rules and cruising the lines of shelves, and then exposing, defying, and mocking the laws of classification, perverse readings and pleasures become differently possible across disciplinary borders. Upon analysis of the power structures in the library, the masochist assumes a position of power within the erotics of the library.”
Melissa Adler, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the School of Information Science and Faculty Affiliate with Gender & Women’s Studies and the Committee on Social Theory at the University of Kentucky. Her book, The Perverse Library: Knowledge Organization and the History of Sexuality, will be published by Fordham University Press in Spring 2017. She is also creating a digital catalogue of the Library of Congress’s post-World War II Delta Collection, a restricted collection of “obscene” materials.
Melissa will be speaking on day 2 of the conference
Interactive Digital Technology to Develop Network Culture: Using Archival material to create a Black Queer Pop-up Academy
The presentation presents a new approach in digital platform design. The purpose is to use archival material and interactive digital platform features to facilitate engagement by and between participants of a Black LGBTQI virtual network. The approach will integrate selected archival material into a digital platform. The platform will feature selected interactive components that specially aim to encourage and to facilitate greater engagement by Black LGBTQI people with selected archival material. Feedback generated as a result of engagement with selected archives will inform and influence the development of a series of Black Queer Pop-up events. Feedback and ideas generated as part of Black Queer Pop-up events will further facilitate the development and creation of a Black Queer Pop-up Academy; a three day event that will feature a range of elements including but not limited to: Black LGBTQI archival research workshops; artistic exhibitions; performances; academic papers and discussions and key note speakers.
Dr Antoine J Rogers
Dr Antoine Rogers is an Associate Professor at London South Bank University. His main areas of expertise include the role of the voluntary sector in a civil society, Black sexuality; and qualitative research methods. His research also explores identity formation in relation to national and local identity. Antoine’s current research activities focus on the role in which Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) organizations play in identity formation and the development of community aspirations with elements of intersectionality; a critical reflection and awareness of the intersection of race class and national identity; at the core of this research.
Antoine will be speaking on day 2 of the conference
Navigating LGBTQ History: Accessibility in government archives
“The National Archives collections give a valuable insight into how government interacted with and viewed LGBT communities in the past. In our collections the state played a major role in repressing and controlling the lives of gay and bisexual men and women. This attempt to supress sexuality in the past has paradoxically left us with many potential sources for the experiences of LGBT individuals.
Archaic language can become a significant barrier to spreading the rich knowledge of LGBT history, and terminology is a major consideration for archivists and researchers in this field. This is especially pertinent as attitudes have changed so significantly over time.
This paper will discuss the balance between accessibility and accuracy; drawing on the idea of tagging records to highlight the ways technology can be utilised to make records more accessible to new audiences and to move LGBT history into the mainstream of historical research and debate.”
Vicky is Diverse Histories Records Specialist at The National Archives, with a background in women’s and gender history. In this position she researches and promotes traditionally marginalised histories, in turn striving to engaging new audiences in new ways with the collections. She currently chairs The National Archives internal Cultural Engagement Group, a space to facilitate creative and cultural interpretations of The National Archives collections.
The National Archives
The National Archives is the official archive and publisher for the UK government and guardians of over 1,000 years of iconic national documents. We are a non-ministerial government department. We fulfil a leadership role for the archive sector and work to secure the future of physical and digital records.
Our collection is one of the largest in the world, containing over 11 million historical government and public records. From Domesday Book to modern government papers and digital files, our collection includes paper and parchment, digital records and websites, photographs, posters, maps, drawings and paintings.
Vicky will be speaking on day 2 of the conference
Is Bigger Better? Mainstream Research Collections, LGBTQ History, and the Case of Samuel Steward
“This presentation will examine the role of university and research collections in the curation of LGBTQ materials, using the life of Samuel Steward as a case study, together with the documented experiences of his biographer, Justin Spring. Spring located numerous writings and papers of Steward in mainstream research libraries. In writing Secret Historian, however, Spring encountered frequent resistance, due to both the explicit nature of the materials, and the light they cast on such famous figures as Thornton Wilder. We will suggest that large libraries need to negotiate the distinction between serving individual users and serving defined and self-identified communities. They also need to negotiate the distinction between an artifact’s original purpose (such as community information, or sexual titillation) and its emergent historical significance for a particular culture or community.”
Grant Campbell is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario, and conducts research in the area of queer classification and subject analysis. Scott R. Cowan is an academic librarian at the Leddy Research Library, University of Windsor, specializing in information services in English and History for the university research community. Campbell and Cowan are co-authors of a forthcoming article in Library Trends: “The Paradox of Privacy,” examining issues of privacy and access for LGBTQ library users in an age of big data and linked data.
The Faculty of Information and Media Studies at University of Western Ontario provides undergraduate and graduate programs in the study of media, journalism, communication, and library and information science. The Leddy Library at University of Windsor provides a broad range of research and curricular support to the university community, including undergraduate and graduate students and Faculty.
Grant and Scott will be speaking on day 2 of the conference
Researching LGBTQ Histories and Cultures in Portugal
“An ongoing preliminary research in Portuguese archives, libraries, museums and private collections has been revealing an extremely rich heritage concerning LGBTQ histories and cultures that were buried under centuries of devious silencing, ill-intended neglect and biased misunderstang, and consequently thought to be simply non-existent or mere irrelevant “historical detail”. However, historiography cannot avoid to address a few extremely relevant issues arising from such research. It must keenly revise academic epistemological biases that are compliant with negationism and downplaying, and endeavour to translate to Portuguese historical realities, and whenever necessary rethink, the conceptual grids of inquiry that stem from different foreign historical contexts and are often applied without critical exam to the Portuguese context, all the while striving to make it intelligible and relevant to international scholarship unfamiliar with it.”
António Fernando Cascais
António Fernando Cascais is a team member of the of Queer Lisbon International Film Festival. He is a PhD. in Communication Sciences and a professor at the New University of Lisbon. He edited several issues of Journal of Communication and Languages and, among others, the books: Queer Film and Culture (2014), Indisciplining theory. Gay, Lesbian and Queer Studies ( 2004) and AIDS by a Thread (1997). Published over one hundred scientific essays on the mediation of knowledge, the visual culture of medicine, foucauldian studies, philosophy of technology, gender and queer studies, biopolitics and bioethics.
Queer Lisbon International Film Festival and New University of Lisbon
Queer Lisbon – International Queer Film Festival is the first Portuguese Film Festival is organized by the Rear Window Cultural Association and is dedicated exclusively to screening gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual themed films, a genre known as Queer Cinema. Queer Lisboa was created in 1997 and is Lisbon’s oldest film festival. Through the years the festival consolidated its reputation internationally and at this moment it is one of the most recognized festivals of its genre in an European level and worldwide, for the quality of its programming and activities as well as the guests that it attracts.
António will be speaking on day 2 of the conference
Trans Guys are Hot: Self-determination, language and representation of trans male identities
“LGBT charity Galop identified trans men as unrepresented users of their services for survivors of historic abuse. Galop commissioned community activists and organisers Tom of Tottenham and Serge Nicholson to create a grass-roots creative project to engage trans men.
This talk will share how we worked with our community to devise our creative response, which lead to making the film ‘Trans Guys are Hot’. The talk will also share the experience of the open call for trans men, their lovers, friends and allies to take part – filming 170 trans and non-trans people in a range of settings across London.
Having debuted at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 2013, the film toured international LGBT film festivals and is being used by Galop in their day-to-day work. The talk will conclude with a summary how the work has been received and a screening of the film.”
Tom of Tottenham
Tom of Tottenham is a queer trans person of colour. A community activist for over 20 years, filmmaker, producer, presenter and performer. Over the last decade this has included chairing FTMLondon, devising and delivering grass-roots community trans arts projects, performing in UK, Europe and the USA, with Hot Pencil Press (Trans Mangina Monologues) and Wotever (Genderqueer Playhouse)
Before writing and directing ‘Trans Guys are Hot” Tom produced the feature film ‘The Lovers and Fighters Convention’, documenting the Genderqueer playhouse as presented at the Transfabulous festival of international trans arts.
Tom was a founder member of the Toilet Liberation Front.
Tom will be speaking on day 2 of the conference
Representation and identity in the Amsterdam Museum, in dialog with communities
“Illustrated by the project Transmission (subject transgender) we talk about representation and identity in the Amsterdam Museum. Transmission (2015-2016) is the first in a series of exhibitions and events under the heading Meet Amsterdam.
With Meet Amsterdam, the museum offers a platform to people, who are not often represented in museums– in this case transgender communities. We closely work with a wide range of Amsterdam citizens, inviting them to tell their story to a broad public, assisting them (and vice versa) in finding the proper form and tone to reach.
And so issues of representation and identity do not only play out on the exhibition floor, but also in discussions about gender neutral toilets.And while the exhibition is on display we invited others to tell their story about (trans)gender. The exhibition grows and develops. Its objective is to stimulate discussion about ideas regarding the subject transgender and to make visitors think about their preconceptions.”
Annemarie den Dekker
Annemarie den Dekker is head of the curatorial staff of the Amsterdam Museum. She has been responsible for major exhibitions and worked on different outreach projects, like My Headscarf and Mix Match Museum. In addition, she is a board member of the Amsterdam Castle and board member in the Art & Culture commission of Gay Pride Amsterdam.
Mirjam Sneeuwloper works at the educational department of the Amsterdam Museum. She has been involved in several community and innovation projects, like Holy?!, Voices of Tolerance and Meet Amsterdam – Transmission. Next to that she is responsible for the museum’s educational programs for primary and secondary schools.
The Amsterdam Museum
The Amsterdam Museum is a city museum within Amsterdam. A city with a diverse population, renowned for its tolerance. We offer an overview of the history of Amsterdam, a children’s museum and have major exhibitions about from The Golden Age and urban subjects like Graffiti. For several years, we have been working on representing this dynamic and diverse city by collecting present-day objects, and with a wide range of outreach- and community projects. During the past few years, we have learned from experience and improved on our methods of collaboration with, and representation of, (urban) communities.
Annemarie and Mirjam will be speaking on day 2 of the conference
How a grassroots campaign made a gay pub the UK’s first queer listed building
“This illustrated presentation describes the interlocking strands of RVT Future’s successful application to make the Royal Vauxhall Tavern a listed building following its purchase by property developers. These included: a written submission based on interviews and archival research (including London Metropolitan Archives and Bishopsgate Institute); soliciting letters of support from various authorities; canvassing backing various political parties; engaging a community of thousands; and aligning with Historic England’s contemporaneous LGBTQ+ heritage project, Pride of Place.
This success story shows how official heritage standards can be realigned to recognise LGBTQ+ heritage, despite the marginality of queer identity and the ephemerality of its historical traces. It speaks directly to conference topics including the uniting of individuals and communities through heritage research, and navigating the ‘border police’ of the heritage sector. But the listing does not definitively secure the RVT’s future, let alone arrest the forces threatening London’s queer venues in general.”
Thanks to an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award, Ben Walters is a doctoral candidate at the Drama Department of Queen Mary University of London. His research focuses on queer fun in relation to the social outreach projects of the performance collective Duckie. As part of the campaign group RVT Future, Ben wrote a 30,000-word application to Historic England that resulted in a Grade II* listing for the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. A critic, producer, filmmaker and former Cabaret Editor of Time Out London, Ben blogs at NotTelevision and is a member of the #WeAreTheBlackCap campaign and Raze Collective for promoting queer performance.
The Drama Department at Queen Mary University of London is one of the country’s leading centres for the study of Drama, with an international reputation for high-quality research and excellence in teaching.
Duckie are a post-queer performance and events collective that create Good Nights Out and social outreach projects including the Posh Club, for older people; the Slaughterhouse Club, for homeless Londoners with addiction issues; and DHSS, for young performance artists.
RVT Future is a community campaign dedicated to ensuring a thriving future for the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, the UK’s oldest LGBTQ pub and iconic performance space.
Ben will be speaking on day 2 of the conference
Navigate the hierarchies: enabling research into queer black subjects in the UK, 1930s-1990s
In this roundtable session, we will discuss how to circumnavigate the multiple barriers to locating and researching subjects typically very hard to find in mainstream archives: queer people of colour. Though first-person voices revealing queerness and Blackness can often be obscured in archival materials and their catalogues, we explore some ways in which to document and reveal histories of queer Black individuals.
It’s disheartening to research a subject for which free-text searching on the internet or in catalogue databases seems to turn up no results. Our session will include an introduction to the hierarchical structure of archive catalogues, and tips on how to browse them effectively to locate the unGoogleable.
Dr Gemma Romain
Dr Gemma Romain, historian, will talk about her research into Black history in relation to London’s interwar art world which led to the ‘Spaces of Black Modernism’ display at Tate Britain in 2014-15. In particular she will talk about the archival research carried out for her biography of queer Black artist model and student Patrick Nelson as well share information on queer Black lives found in archives relating to jazz clubs such as the Shim Sham.
Ego Ahaiwe Sowinksi
Ego Ahaiwe Sowinksi, archivist and artist, will talk about the importance of building personal relationships within and across grassroots and professional contexts to raise awareness of subjects ripe for research, and will also discuss her recent project to create a creative finding aid for the Women of Colour Index (1985-1995) of the Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths College.
Tamsin Bookey, Heritage Manager at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, will explore the archive of Edith Ramsay, a local borough councillor during the 1950s, showing how these papers were used by Prof. Nadia Ellis in her book ‘Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora’ (Duke University Press, 2015) to uncover Black queer spaces and subjects in the postwar East End of London.
The roundtable will take place on day 2 of the conference
Twilight People: Stories of Faith & Gender Beyond the Binary
“Are religion and gender variance compatible? Can trans identities be affirmed and renewed through faith and spirituality – and vice versa? How can we collect, catalogue and research the subject of intersecting identities? In Twilight People two worlds meet in a powerful crescendo. In this final stage of the project, we will sum up the highlights of this landmark moment in LGBTQI history, and explore how documenting narratives of people with marginalised identities can present challenges as well as opportunities.”
Surat-Shaan Knan is an LGBTQI heritage manager, international campaigner and member of the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group. He works for the UK charity Liberal Judaism and is the founder of the landmark oral history projects Rainbow Jews and Twilight People: Stories of Gender and Faith Beyond the Binary.
Twilight People is a ground-breaking diversity project, supported by the Lottery Heritage Fund, and proudly hosted by Liberal Judaism. It utilises oral history, film and photography to explore the ‘hidden history’ of transgender and gender-variant people of faith, past and present. Twilight People documents the interconnection between faith and gender journeys beyond the binary categories of male and female. The project focuses on the Abrahamic religions and also takes into account other faith movements including Sufi and Paganism. It is the first source of faith and transgender history in Britain and will be deposited at the LMA.
Surat-Shaan will be speaking on day 2 of the conference