Hosted by the City of Manchester

The 2nd What is & How to Do LGBT History Conference

Methods, Subjects, & Approaches

About the conference

Despite the increasing popular demand for "LGBT History" in Britain, the history of attitudes towards sex and gender diversity in the UK remains an underdeveloped field, especially in comparison with the advances that have been made in the United States. An important part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of LGBT History month is to lead and develop the growing discourse into past attitudes towards sex and gender diversity within the academy and among the general public.

Please refer to the main schedule page for a neater listing. This page will be updated to reflect the new schedule layout in the next few days.



  • Festival Launch: The 1st Allan Horsfall Lecture … (120 mins)

    Civic festival launch, introduced by the Lord Mayor of Manchester and Sue Sanders, co-chair of Schools OUT UK.

    The Campaign for Homosexual Equality present The 1st Allan Horsfall Lecture, presented by Prof. Charles Upchurch (Asst. Professor of British History, Florida State University).

    In his talk “Like Sympathetic Ink: Identity and the Early Nineteenth-Century Attempt to Reform of the British Sodomy Laws”, Prof. Upchurch examines some of the earliest attempts to legalise inter-male sex.

  • 20:00

  • A Very Victorian Scandal: The Raid … (60 mins)

    In the first of a series of performances across Manchester, you will be invited to a reimagining of the fancy dress ball. Mingle with the fancy-dress ball attendees, learn a little about their lives, and watch them sing and dance to Music Hall songs. Manchester’s finest Victorian police officers will rudely interrupt the evening’s proceedings.

  • Saturday


  • Conference Registration … (60 mins)

    Registration and reimbursement of expenses. Complimentary tea and coffee.

  • 09:15

  • Paul Martin OBE: Conference Opens & Welcome … (15 mins)

    Paul Martin OBE and the Lord Mayor of Manchester open the conference.

  • 09:30

  • Panel 1: Crimes and Criminality … (90 mins)

    Chair: Professor Charles Upchurch (Florida State University)

    • Robert Beachy, Yonsei University. “Queer subcultures in Nazi Berlin: what the Gestapo files can tell us”.
    • Janet Weston, Birkbeck College, University of London. “Criminals and victims: problems with the history of sexual deviance”.
  • Panel 2: Looking Back from Equal Marriage and Learning from the Past … (90 mins)

    Chair: Dr Helen Smith (Lincoln University)

    • Sonja Tiernan, Liverpool Hope University. “Making History Memorable: Recording the Marriage Equality Campaign in Ireland”.
    • Kate Turner, University of Westminster. “Homosexual Law reform and Scottish National Identity, 1950 to the Present”.
  • 11:15

  • Peter Scott-Presland: Keynote Speech … (60 mins)

    Chair: Prof. Stephen Whittle OBE (Manchester Metropolitan University).

    Peter Scott-Presland presents “Addressing historical silences: CHE, the first ‘out’ and popular homosexual rights group”

  • 12:15

  • A Very Victorian Scandal: The Press … (30 mins)

    An intimate performance at Manchester Central Library takes a fresh look at the motives behind the police raid. Secrets and politics combine to make some men, and ruin others. Detective Caminada courts the press, but can he keep control of the story?

  • 13:45

  • Panel 4: Working-class attitudes towards sex and gender in historical narratives … (90 mins)

    Chair: Dr Matt Cook (Birkbeck, University of London)

    • Helen Smith (University of Lincoln): “It’s Queer up North? Working-class men, masculinity and same-sex desire from Oscar Wilde to Wolfenden”.
    • Jeff Evans (Manchester Metropolitan University): “The police targeting of working-class inter-male sex 1850-1914. Myth or reality? A sampled statistical reading of indictable prosecutions”.
  • Panel 3: Using Print Culture to understand the history of past attitudes towards sex and gender … (90 mins)

    Chair: Dr Emma Vickers (Liverpool John Moores University)

    • Mark Walmsley (University of Leeds): “Wholesome secracy: Understanding the absence of gay men and women from mainstream media narratives in the US before Stonewall”.
    • Dan Callwood (Queen Mary, University of London): “National problems, transnational solutions?: Writing a history of gay liberation in France, 1968-82”.
  • 15:30

  • How to Do LGBT History Showcase 1 … (30 mins)

    Prof. Charles Upchurch (Florida State University) presents “The use and misuse of digitalised newspapers”.

  • How to Do LGBT History Showcase 2 … (30 mins)

    Prof. Keith Julian (Manchester University) presents “Data Handling and how to avoid common misreadings with historiography.”

  • 16:00

  • Closing remarks and notices (15 mins)
  • 19:30

  • Conference Banquet … (90 mins)

    Joyce Layland LGBT Centre, Sidney St, Manchester. Opposite All Saints Park.

  • Sunday


  • Tea and coffee reception … (45 mins)

    Breakfast available in many venues close to the conference. Complimentary tea and coffee available at the conference venue.

  • 09:45

  • Stuart Milk: Conference Opening … (30 mins)

    Stuart Milk, president of the Harvey Milk Association, formally opens the day.

  • 10:00

  • Panel 5: Oral Testimony and reconstructing past attitudes to sex and gender … (90 mins)

    Chair: Mark Walmsley (University of Leeds)

    • Alva Traebert (University of Edinburgh). “At the Intersection of Queer History, Academic Community and National Archives: Scottish Storytelling Sessions 2012-2014”.
    • Emma Vickers (Liverpool John Moores University). “Breaking the silence: trans* veterans of the British Armed Forces and the power of oral testimony”.
  • Panel 6: What Narratives can we include in LGBTI History? … (90 mins)

    Chair: Dr Justin Bengry (Birkbeck, University of London)

    • Alejandro Melero (University Carlos III de Madrid): “Problems and difficulties in the study of the representation of homosexuality in Spanish cinema under Franco”.
    • Kirsty Heyam (University of Leeds): “Medieval languages, modern assumptions: a call for interrogative translation”.
    • Cheryl Morgan (Out Stories Bristol): “Their-stories: Interrogating gender identities from the past”.
  • 11:45

  • How to Do LGBT History Showcase 3 … (45 mins)

    Prof Stephen Whittle (Manchester Metropolitan University) presents “How to historicise past attitudes towards gender diversity”.

  • 13:00

  • A Very Victorian Scandal: The Trial … (60 mins)

    In the concluding part of the series, you will discover what happened to the fancy dress ball attendees. Original newspaper accounts have been used to dramatise the infamous court trial. Will all of the prisoners maintain their vow of silence, or will the threat of prison force someone to speak out?

  • 13:45

  • How to Do LGBT History Workshop: Historians and the LGBT Archive … (60 mins)

    Chair: Craig Griffiths (St Marys, London Uni) with invited participants from National and Regional Archives and Libraries.

    Kindly supported by the Britten-Pears Foundation

  • 15:00

  • Panel 7: Uncovering and Undoing the Political Uses of Past Attitudes towards Sex and Gender … (90 mins)

    Chair: Prof. Sally Hines (University of Leeds).

    • Runar Jordåen et. al. (University of Bergen): “Establishing a queer historical archive in Norway”.
    • Jennifer Ingleheart (Durham University): “Romosexuality: Ancient Rome and modern LGBT identities”.
    • Marianna Muravyeva (Oxford Brookes University): “How traditional is “non” traditional: writing the early history of Russian LGBT community today”.
  • Panel 8: Non-Metropolitan Readings of Past Attitudes Towards Sex and Gender … (90 mins)

    Chair: John Garrard (formerly of Salford University)

    • Matt Cook (Birkbeck College, University of London) & Alison Oram (Leeds Beckett University): “Local queer history”.
    • Colin R. Johnson (Indiana University, Bloomington): “What the Torch-Wielding Villagers Knew”.
  • 16:30

  • Feedback and Announcements … (30 mins)

    Announcements and feedback about:

    • The 3rd What Is & How to Do LGBT History Conference 2016
    • The 2nd National or International Festival of LGBT History 2016
    • The 1st Joint Archive & Historians LGBT HM Manifesto Conference - Summer 2015.


  • Archival research and the uncovering of source materials
  • The influence of other disciplines on historical study
  • Experiences of conducting research within the academy
  • Reclaiming forgotten histories
  • Writing the history of under/unexplored regions
  • The relationship between historical study and political activism
  • Considering the impact of our work as historians
  • The problem of naming in a historical context
  • Ethical issues in historical research


We are pleased to announce that the conference will be hosted at The LGF Conference Venue, 5 Richmond St, Manchester. More information about the venue is on the LGF website.

Academic Patrons

(History & Archeology)
  • Harry Cocks (Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts, Nottingham)
  • Matt Cook (Senior Lecturer in History & Gender Studies, Birkbeck, London University.)
  • Martin Hall (Vice-Chancellor of Salford University & Archaeologist)
  • Shelia Rowbotham (Professor, School of Social Sciences, Manchester University)
  • Charles Upchurch (Associate Professor of History, Florida State University)
  • Jeffrey Weeks (Research Professor, Arts and Human Sciences, South Bank University).


© 2014 LGBT History Festival

Part of Schools OUT UK, Registered Charity #1156352 in England and Wales.

Uncovering & celebrating our past to enlighten our present & thereby guiding our creation of a more inclusive & equitable future.

LGBT History Festival website created with love by Kim Foale and Squid.