LGBT History Month 2015

Gay life in Sheffield represented in photo exhibition

HPThe Sheffield Institute of Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS) and Research project Hidden Perspectives Project at the University of Sheffield have joined forces with the university's Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans Staff Network to celebrate LGBT History Month in February. The University will host a photo exhibition Monday 23 to Friday 27 February to celebrate the lives and achievements of the LGBT+ community in Sheffield.

The exhibition will bring together local amateur and professional photographers and will showcase images submitted by volunteer contributors to celebrate LGBT+ lives in the city and diversity at the University. Artists who submit their work will have the opportunity to add written content to share their thoughts, poems, or questions. By bringing together words and pictures the exhibition seeks to give a platform to LGBT+ people to express themselves through an artistic process and be a part of Sheffield's LGBT+ history.

The exhibit will also include work by University of Sheffield students on the new pioneering SIIBS interdisciplinary LGBT+ studies module.

The exhibition continues the legacy of previous LGBT+ projects at the University of Sheffield, celebrating everyday life, milestones in equality and to highlight challenges that the LGBT+ community continue to face. The event is organized by Dr Minna Shkul, who commented;

"It’s very exciting that the University is celebrating LGBT+ life in Sheffield with this exhibition, not only will in feature images from the LGBT+ community at the University but also from Sheffield’s own LGBT+ residents. The city is a diversely rich one in terms of its communities and I urge Sheffield's own LGBT+ community to submit their pictures, visualise their community and take part in a piece of history."

The exhibition launched on Monday 23 February 5pm in the Jessop West Foyer with a drinks reception and a lecture in adjacent Social Space (G03) on Leaveygreave Road. The exhibition then continued in the Jessop West Foyer until Friday 27 February.

The launch event included a lecture by Mark Pendleton (University of Sheffield):

Thinking Queer about the Life of James Kirkup: Poet, Conscientious Objector and Japanophile.

A lecture by Mark Pendleton (University of Sheffield) as part of the Launch Event of the Hidden Perspectives Photo Exhibition.

Forty years ago this year, the poet and translator James Kirkup (1918-2009) spent an academic year as a Writing Fellow here at the University of Sheffield, part of a short sojourn back to the UK that broke up thirty-odd years of living in Japan from 1958 to the early 1990s. A couple of years later, Kirkup published a poem in Gay News imagining the sexual desire of a centurion for the dying Jesus, which was the subject of a blasphemous libel case brought by the notorious 'family values' conservative Mary Whitehouse.

Before becoming a somewhat unwilling poster boy for 1970s debates between a newly confident British gay community and those defending what they saw as a threat to their family values, Kirkup was a teenage sex worker, a wartime conscientious objector, and a poet and translator with a long-term interest in Japan. Throughout his life, he published multiple autobiographies, poetry collections, multiple plays, several books on Japan and a novel. He fell in love and had affairs with men and women and, perhaps most notably, himself.

In this lecture, Mark will explore Kirkup's life and writings with the aim of 'thinking queer' (to use Matt Houlbrook's term) about the past.

Mark Pendleton is a social and cultural historian and Lecturer in Japanese Studies in the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield. His recent publications include the edited collection After Homosexual: The Legacies of Gay Liberation (UWA Publishing, 2013) and chapters in the Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia and Death Tourism: Disaster Sites as Recreational Landscape (both 2014). He is also an editor of History Workshop Journal and History Workshop Online.

Hidden Perspectives is a pioneering public engagement project that aims to open up interpretations of biblical narratives to underrepresented groups. The project is directed by Dr Katie Edwards and Dr Minna Shkul of SIIBS. Hidden Perspectives encourages inclusive discussion on dominant interpretations of biblical texts and narratives found in scholarship and mainstream culture. Working with groups and individuals from a range of faith and non-faith backgrounds, the project aims to foster an atmosphere of inclusivity and diversity in which biblical texts can be interpreted.

SIIBS is one of the leading global institutes for innovative, multidisciplinary research on the Bible. SIIBS staff research is internationally recognised and they explore a variety of interests in ancient and contemporary contexts. SIIBS staff research is in the top ten for UK research outputs in the recent Research Excellence Frame work (REF) exercise.

Out Aloud

Out Aloud is Sheffield's Gay Choir. It was formed in 2006 and enables lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgendered people in Sheffield to enjoy singing as a community.

Out Aloud have made this video in support of the campaign to pardon all the remaining British men who have convictions for homosexuality.
Please watch the video, share the link and sign the petition at