Queer Inheritances Workshops at the Lines of Dissent Conference

With Amy Tooth Murphy, I co-curated the morning sessions of The 12th LGBTQ History & Archives Conference 2014 at the London Metropolitan Archives.

We took as our theme ‘Queer Inheritances’ and the range of sources that might help to better understand queer lives. The conference was attended by 150-200 people and the workshops were a notable success drawing up to 25 people each to 3 workshops running twice across the morning.

Queer Inheritances:

“Discovering a box of mementoes, photos and other items that document a queer life can offer as many questions as answers about a friend, loved one, or even a stranger. What did they value? Who did they love? Who loved them? Why were some objects worth preserving and what can they tell us? Uncovering these ‘queer inheritances’, however, might only partially illuminate a past life and, in fact, might also help us to reflect on our own present.We bring to bear our own preconceptions, expectations and desires when reading past queer lives. In this workshop participants will examine queer inheritances to piece together the contours of lives based on a wide range of personal objects gathered together and preserved but also reflect on what we bring to understanding the queer past.”

About the Conference:

Lines of Dissent Programme

The twelfth annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer History and Archives conference embraces the fascinating and complex world of LGBTQ family history and genealogy. A mix of talks, workshops and creative activities will help us to explore, reconstruct and reimagine the ways in which ideas of LGBTQ family are defined and understood.

After a keynote address by Daniel Monk (Birkbeck) on the perils and pleasures of queer wills, morning workshops included hands-on encounters with historical sources, which participants used to piece together a past life and were facilitated by Heike Bauer (Birkbeck), Julia Laite (Birkbeck) and Brent Pilkey (UCL). A blog post by Claire Hayward describing the conference appeared at Notches history of sexuality blog.

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) is the largest local authority record office in the UK, covering the City and Greater London, LMA hold books, documents, photographs, maps and drawings dating from 1067 to the present day.

Project Details


December 2014

London Metropolitan Archives

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