Sexing the Past: ‘What is and how to do LGBT history’

Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th March 2017

Many thanks to everyone who helped to make Schools Out UK’s SEXing the Past such a successful conference. The formal feedback from participants confirms the impressions of a relaxed, friendly and highly productive weekend of stimulating presentations and networking.

This success has again help to confirm the unique location of SEXing the Past at the intersection between: cutting edge academic research from a number of disciplines related to sex and gender studies, political/human rights activism and other voluntary and professional practice outside the academy.

The 3rd Allan Horsfall Lecture that formally kicked-off the conference on the Friday evening was a wonderful event. Bisi Alimi, Executive Director of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, spoke to attitudes and activism regarding LGBT people in Nigeria as part of the legacy of British colonial rule. Following on, the writer Diana Souhami delivered a compelling lecture that featured her examination of the 20th century ‘Lesbian’ artists and their important role in the development of modernism, that is the topic of Diana’s forthcoming book.

The academy was well represented by delegates such as Jeffrey Weeks (Professor Emeritus, London South Bank University), Molly Merryman (Kent State University), Fia Sundevall (Stockholm University) and Harry Cocks (University of Nottingham). In addition to a rich programme, new and veteran LGBT/human right activists met-up, learnt, chatted and shared with museum curators, undergraduates/postgraduates, LGBT asylum seekers and senior police officers and officials. Beyond various professional and personal commitments, delegate represented eight countries, which indicates the international interest the conference is generating.

At the close of the first day delegates and members of the public were treated to a special performance of the OUTing the Past Festival Theatre ‘The Burnley Plays’. Depicting seminal events in early days of ‘gay liberation’ in Northern England, the performance was judged a success by no other than Russell T Davis who was in attendance.

We have invited conference participants to share their experiences and to post on our blogs pages to provide further insights of the weekend.

Special thanks to our sponsors DLA Piper, Gale & Liverpool John Moores University whose generous support and encouragement made these events possible.

Plans are already afoot for next year’s conference SEXing the Past ’18 which will again be hosted by the City of Liverpool. The dates are to be announced shortly, but the aim is to fix a weekend closer to Easter giving organisers time to recover from OUTing the Past (February ’18) before delivering SEXing the Past!

Please keep watching this space. Again many congratulations and thanks to all those that made this possible.

Best wishes

The SEXing the Past Conference Delivery Team

(Emma, Jeff, Fiona, Ken & Stephen)


Company sponsor:


Academic sponsor:

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3rd Allan Horsfall Lecture sponsor:



Reception drinks for the 3rd Allan Horsfall lecture are being provided by Barefoot Wine and Bubbly