Press Release Shrewsbury LGBT History Festival 2017
We are delighted to have been invited – once again to take part in the National Festival of LGBT History.
Here in Shrewsbury, the festival starts before the weekend when we will be out and about in schools to talk about LGBT lives. In our first year Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell spoke to nearly 1000 young people on one day and we hope to have a similar impact in 2017!
We will also be curating a ’stimulus exhibition’ at the University Centre Shrewsbury, with memorabilia and artefacts on display to prompt people’s own memories and recollections.
The core of our festival consists of a Friday Night launch event with civic dignitaries and the Saturday presentations.
On Friday 17th February, we will play host to 100 people and invite the mayors from across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and – of course – our Town crier, the tallest in the Country! This is a free to attend event at the University Centre Shrewsbury, starting at 6.15pm and including a presentation from Diana Souhami.
On Saturday, we start the day with a presentation on good practice in schools, followed in the afternoon by a series of short taster presentations giving a flavour of the hidden histories we can uncover once we start looking. The sessions will run in parallel and people choose which one (of 2) they would like to go to. Presentations include
Schools Out. The History of Schools Out: Schools OUT UK is a unique organisation that has instigated many vital projects that have enabled LGBT people in all their diversity to be visible and safe.
Katie Hutchinson. Blurring the Lines -– Trans representation and gender expression in rock music: Rock music has long been a voice for minority groups, this includes the trans and gender variant community. From lyrics in songs from Lou Reed and the Kinks to blurring gender stereotypes in image (Bowie, New York dolls etc), through to trans pioneers such as Jayne County from the punk era to Laura Jane Grace today.
Jane Traies. The Other Consenting Adults: or, What were lesbians doing in 1967? In 2017 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which partially decriminalised homosexuality between men. Lesbians, never having been illegal, are not officially part of this story – but the media spotlight that was trained on their gay brothers at that time sometimes illuminated their struggle, too.
Lisa Power. The Joy of Tokenism –– being a lesbian in the 70s/80s gay movement: The histories of lesbians and gay men in the 70s and 80s are often separated out, as much of our politics were then. I stuck it out in the “mixed” (mainly gay) movement and was invited into everything from Switchboard to Stonewall via the International Lesbian & Gay Association and DAFT (Dykes & Faggots Together). Stories will be told.
Peter Roscoe. Falling Into the Arms of Phoebe: Working outward – from Shrewsbury Chronicle reports from 1949, including discussions with elderly local gay men.
Caroline Paige. True Colours: Trailblazing Transgender Service in the Military: The untold story of what it meant to be transgender in the British military before and after permissive service. From 1980 to 2014, the highs and the lows, in peacetime and in war.
Peter Scott Presland. Punting with Pride: This is the untold story of the Oxford Gay Action Group (1972-74), which straddled CHE and GLF, Town and Gown, and was pioneering in producing gay theatre and founding the first gay switchboard in the country. Colourful characters and lots of good stories from one who was there!
A Theatre piece – Helen Sandler & Jane Hoy: “The oldest New Woman and her incorrigible Welsh friend”: Frances Power Cobbe and Mary Charlotte Lloyd in conversation. Frances Power Cobbe (b.1822) an Irish feminist and political activist, and Mary Lloyd (b1819), a Welsh artist, were partners for 35 years. They met in Rome, Italy, lived and campaigned together in London and ended their years in Dolgellau, Wales, where they are buried together in Llanelltyd churchyard. From the mid c19th both women were leading lights in campaigns for women’s rights and animal rights. They campaigned for votes for women and Frances was instrumental in changing the law on ‘wife torture’ (women experiencing domestic violence). This session builds on our earlier work, exploring the conversations the women had between themselves and their friends about their personal lives, passions and politics.
We will finish Saturday daytime with a panel discussion
Our festival in Shrewsbury includes some fringe events over the weekend, including an evening of entertainment on the Saturday, and Sunday films – details will appear on our website: shrewsburylgbthistory.org.uk
We look forward to seeing you there!