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Queer Memorial Culture: International Critical Perspectives

One-day Colloquium, School of Geography, University of Leeds

Conveners: Dr Martin Zebracki and Professor Robert Vanderbeck

17 May 2019, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB)

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in co-sponsorship with the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) and the RGS-IBG Space, Sexualities and Queer Research Group (SSQRG), and with the School of Geography, University of Leeds



This one-day Colloquium provides a forum for discussion on the theme of queer memorial culture as it relates to critically engaged social research at the nexus of sexual diversity and social inclusivity from international and transcultural perspectives. It is organised as part of the AHRC-funded research project Queer Memorials. This is the first major international research project of its kind to focus on public memorial sites with non-conformist sexuality content within comparative, contrasting contexts of the USA, Poland and the Netherlands.

This event pursues the specific lens of social engagement with public memorial sites (which can be material, performative, permanent or temporary in nature) that are dedicated to, or associated with, the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender plus (LGBT+) people. The event is crucial at a moment when debates are intensifying about how to commemorate the lives of LGBT+ people, LGBT+ history, memorialise victims of anti-LGBT+ violence, and promote social inclusivity.

This Colloquium asks how sexual and gender variant communities fall in and out of place through public art, memory and creative practice in the everyday public life. What do LGBT+ commemorative sites mean and ‘do’ to people and place as experienced within and beyond LGBTQ communities? To what extent are such sites ‘queer’? Put differently, in what ways do, or do they not, question, or ‘que(e)ry’, the norms and hegemonic discourses and practices that are ‘othering’ sexual and gender variance?

This event will combine keynote panels with smaller, interactive discussions. This format will allow participants to reflect upon the debated issues as they further relate to their own research interests and activities.

The Colloquium is open to any interested academic and non-academic audiences and research users, including public policy, cultural industry, and LGBT organising and activism. This event wants to be a supportive and mutual learning environment. It especially encourages participation from postgraduate and early-career researchers. A limited number of travel bursaries is available for students/postgraduates and unwaged individuals to contribute towards travel expenses.



10h30 – 11h00: Registration | Coffee & tea

11h00 – 11h15: Introduction

11h15 – 12h00: “Queer Memorials and Their Political Afterlives” by Dr Martin Zebracki – Discussant: Ryan Leitner, MFA, US

12h00 – 13h00: Lunch

13h00 – 14h00: “Queer Monuments: An Analysis of Their Cultural Functions, Social Potential and Place in the LGBTI+ Rights Movement” by Joe Joe Orangias, MFA, South Africa – Discussant: Dr Martin Zebracki

14h00 – 14h15: Comfort break | Coffee & tea

14h15 – 15h15: “Materiality and Memorialisation in LGBTQ Heritage: The Experience of ‘Pride of Place’” by Professor Alison Oram, Leeds Beckett University – Discussant: Dr Adriaan van Klinken, University of Leeds

15h15 – 16h00: Refreshments

Administrative Support: Alice Fletcher

Colloquium Group Photo