Category: speaker

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

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.

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 ( 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.

rukus! website:

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:

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.

Twitter: @FairnessCamp

Chris will be speaking on day 3 of the conference

Speakers spotlight: Albert Knoll and Christine Schäfer

The History of Munich Gays and Lesbians needs to be preserved

“We will take you on the long way of gay and lesbian history from the foundation of the Munich branch of “Wissenschaftlich humanitäres Komitee” in 1902 and of the activities of Anita Augspurg at the same time. The journey through time will go along the Nazi-persecution to the growth of the gay and lesbian movement in the postwar-period, the first pride parade in 1980, to the development of the Rosa Liste, the first gay-lesbian political party in Germany and finally to the actual progress of the Munich scene. We give an insight in our wide collection of documents and photographs. We also introduce you into the various activities of the Forum homosexuality and of the increase of our archives and the website.”



Albert Knoll

Albert Knoll, born in 1958, is an archivist of the Dachau concentration camp memorial site. In 1999 he founded the forum homosexualität in Munich and acts as its chairman. He leads gay tours through the city, manages the finances, does interviews and publishes scientific articles.

Christine Schäfer

Christine Schäfer, born 1944, is a teacher, feminist culture worker and history researcher. In 2000 she set up the first lesbian group in the forum homosexualität, and is chairwoman since. Additionally she organizes lectures, interviews lesbian women of contemporary history, writes about it and leads tours about lesbian life in Munich.

munchenForum homosexualität münchen e.v. – Lesben und Schwule in Geschichte und Kultur promotes research and documentation of lesbian, gay and transsexual life. It is supported by the Culture Department of the City of Munich. We organize events where we interview lesbian and gay people about their life and coming out experiences, lectures, exhibitions and city tours about lesbian and gay life in Munich. The Forum is a meeting point for LGBTIQ people of all generations. We have a gay and lesbian archive and collect estates from people of Munich and the surrounding area. Our archives and library are open to scientific research.


Albert and Christine will be speaking on day 3 of the conference

Speaker spotlight: Kelly Besser

Herstory Belongs To Everybody or The Miracle: A Queer Mobile Memory Project

KB - MiracleBadge


“This presentation will discuss the history and future of an archival and artistic queer memory project known as The Miracle Bookmobile. The Miracle is a community-based bookmobile which has involved dozens of volunteers, hundreds of donors, and thousands of readers over its decade of operation at community events and spaces in Los Angeles and Oakland. By collecting and redistributing free literature, The Miracle reclaims public space, nurtures an anti-capitalist gifting culture, and makes radical queer and feminist literature accessible to communities across our Golden State.

The Miracle’s intervention turns public places into ad hoc community spaces to commemorate loss, erasure, and absence due to political and economic exploitation (e.g., gentrification, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, transexclusionary policies).The second major theme of The Miracle’s work is “distribution/redistribution.” While this idea does not pertain only to books, it holds that all members of the community deserve access to information, literature, culture, and space.”

KB - BesserPhoto

Kelly Besser

Kelly Besser works as a processing archivist and provides reference services for UCLA Library Special Collections. In addition to UCLA, Besser has processed collections for the African American Firefighter Museum, the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, the Yosemite National Park Service Archives, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Tom of Finland Foundation. In 2006, she co-founded The Miracle Bookmobile, a donation-driven community-based project that redistributes free literature in Los Angeles and Oakland. Besser holds an MLIS with an Archival Studies specialization from UCLA.

The Miracle

The Miracle is a community-based bookmobile which has redistributed thousands of zines, books, and comics over the last decade at community events and spaces in Los Angeles and Oakland. By collecting and redistributing free literature, The Miracle reclaims public space, nurtures an anti-capital gifting culture, and makes radical queer and feminist literature accessible to communities across the Golden State.

The websites:

Kelly will be speaking on day 3 of the conference

Speaker spotlight: Amy K. Levin

Not in the textbook: training professionals for inclusivity

“I will outline a postgraduate museum course focusing exclusively on intersections of race, class, and gender. Course case studies have included the Leather Museum and Archives in Chicago and exhibits on “third” gender individuals in several cultures. Taken by practitioners and prospective museum employees, as well as by future public historians, academics, anthropologists, and others, this course provides institutions with employees trained to recognize heterosexual privilege, ask difficult questions about margins, and break down borders. Published research by former students has also led existing institutions to alter their practices, rendering sites more welcoming to staff and members of the public who identify as LGBTQI. While such courses are valuable for public, private, and academic institutions, the topics offer engaging material for public education programs in grassroots settings as well.”

amylevinAmy K. Levin

Amy Levin researches and teaches on race, class, and gender in museums. Her books include Global Mobilities: Refugees, Exiles, and Immigrants in Museums and Archives (forthcoming, 2016); Gender, Sexuality, and Museums (2010), and Defining Memory: Local Museums and the Construction of History in America’s Changing Communities (2007). Before becoming Chair of English in 2012, she directed the Women’s Studies Program and coordinated Museum Studies at Northern Illinois University. In 2013, Levin served as the first US Fulbright Scholar at a Myanmar public university in over thirty years. Levin began a new career as an independent scholar in January 2016.

Northern Illinois University is a mid-sized public institution about 60 miles from Chicago. We have a small museum studies program as well as a public history program, both on the postgraduate level. Our work in gender studies is more extensive.

Amy will be speaking on day 3 of the conference