Out and About! Archiving LGBTQ+ history at London’s Bishopsgate Institute

From now until Monday, March 21st, London’s Bishopsgate Institute takes over The Curve at Barbican Centre, with Out and About!, an archive installation of objects, ephemera, and media highlighting 40 moments and stories in London’s LGBTQ+ history.

Bishopsgate Institute has been collecting the lived experiences of everyday people for over a century, and their unique special collections and archives present the stories of individuals, collectives, and organisations who fought for social, political, and cultural change. 

This archive installation includes items documenting areas of pride, protest, performance and art; from the gay rights movement to the everyday celebrations and struggles of LGBTQ+ Londoners. 

Free to attend, the installation will be accompanied by a programme of informal talks and conversations hosted inside the gallery by the individuals whose stories are on display.

Attendee at HIV Roadshow outside Hackney Town Hall, 30 November 1990. Credit: Gordon Rainsford Archive, Bishopsgate Institute.
Lesbian Strength March, 19 June 1982 held in the weekend before the annual Lesbian and Gay Pride march. Credit: Robert Workman Archive, Bishopsgate Institute.
Volunteers from the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard dress as the Village People for a fundraiser event held at Heaven nightclub, 27 May, 1982. Crédit: Robert Workman Archive, Bishopsgate Institute.

Free Out and About! Events:

Switchboard: The LGBT+ Helpline – Saturday, March 5th 2022 at 3pm – Tash Walker (Co-Chair of Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline) uncovers the history of Switchboard with a look back through the log books, showing how the milestones of the LGBTQ+ communities can be traced in the calls to the helpline since 1974. Listen to a special episode of Tash Walker’s podcast, The Log Books, all about the Out and About! exhibition.

50 Years of Pride: Celebrating How Far We’ve Come and Agitating for More – Thursday, March 10th 2022 at 7pm – A talk by activist, writer, and performer Dan Glass. Glass will look at just how far LGBTQ+ rights have come over the last 50 years, as well as how much further we still have to go. Dan Glass is an Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) healthcare and human rights activist, performer, presenter, and writer. His latest book is United Queerdom: From the Legends of the Gay Liberation Front to the Queers of Tomorrow.

Faizan: Imaan and LGBTQ+ Muslim activism – Saturday, March 12th 2022 at 3pm – LGBTQ+ community organiser Faizan thinks back to Gay Pride 2005 when they addressed a 10,000 strong crowd at Trafalgar Square, talking about LGBTQ+ Muslim experience. The outfit they wore that day, a camouflage-patterned shalwar kameez (a traditional south Asian outfit composed of a long tunic worn with loose, baggy trousers and accessorised with a black nylon niqab) is now a symbol of that experience. Faizan is a LGBTQ+ community organiser. In 1999, they co-founded the UK’s first—and the world’s oldest—LGBTQ+ Muslim organisation, Imaan.

Archiving LGBTQ+ history at Bishopsgate Institute – Saturday March 19th 2022 at 1pm – Exhibition curator and Special Collections and Archives Manager at Bishopsgate Institute Stef Dickers introduces the display in Out and About and gives a brief history of collecting LGBTQ+ stories. Stef Dickers is the Special Collections and Archives Manager at Bishopsgate Institute and has been responsible for the development of the Institute’s collections on the history of London, protest and activism, and LGBTQ+ Britain. He qualified as an archivist in 2001 and started at Bishopsgate in 2005. Previous to this, Stef worked in the archives of the London School of Economics and Senate House Library.

A History of LGBT+ History Month – Saturday March 19th 2022 at 3pm – A talk from UK Founder of LGBT+ History Month Sue Sanders. Sue Sanders will talk here about her experience of campaigning for LGBT+ rights over the last 40 years. Sue Sanders is Emeritus Professor Harvey Milk Institute 2015, Co-Chair of Schools OUT and UK Founder of LGBT+ History Month. In 2019, Sue was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the rainbow honours board and in 2014, short-listed for the lifetime achievement award in the National Diversity Awards. She regularly appears in the Independent LGBT Power list.

Archiving LGBTQ+ Futures at Bishopsgate Institute – Saturday March 26th 2022 at 1pm – Meet the team behind Out and About! Archiving LGBTQ+ history at Bishopsgate Institute. Head to the Bishopsgate Institute for an archive open day with panel discussions, displays, archive tours and an opportunity to donate to the collection and the future of LGBTQ+ history.

Head to the Barbican website for opening times and more details on Out and About!

Out and About! Trailer

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