Written by Jackie Stacey, Sabine Sharp, and Janelle Hixon

In May 2021, the Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture (CSSC) held its 14th Sexuality Summer School (SSS), organised this year around the theme of ‘Queering the Archive’ and taking place online over Zoom.

The SSS demonstrates the university’s commitment to tackling injustice in the form of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, providing a space for up to 40 postgraduate students from across the UK and beyond to come together with researchers and local communities to discuss key debates and ideas. With this year’s events, we sought to offer opportunities for local BAME and LGBT communities to engage with research in SALC on topics of sexuality, gender, and race in relation to history, memory, and archives. Through our focus on ‘Queering the Archive’, we interrogated what it means to archive and who has historically been left out of or rendered invisible through the archive and archiving practices. To think about these questions at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality, we programmed a mix of events. Forging a new connection with Greater Manchester’s own Rainbow Noir – an activist group celebrating LGBTQIA people of colour – we sought to spotlight these voices in discussions about preserving and recovering stories, challenging dominant narratives of history, and rethinking who archives serve and why.

Alongside an intense week of seminars and workshops for postgraduates, we scheduled a programme of public events. These included a film screening of Topher Campbell’s film FETISH (2018) (93 audience members), readings from Julietta Singh’s forthcoming book The Breaks (2021) (101 audience members) and from Jordy Rosenberg’s forthcoming work (81 audience members), art and photography presentations from Ajamu X (85 audience members) and Del LaGrace Volcano (71 audience members), as well as a poetry reading and discussion with Roma Havers (42 audience members). Many of these events were supported with the help of chairs and facilitators including Olivia Michiko Gagnon and Adrienne Adams, as well as CSSC members Monica Pearl and Honor Gavin.

Our events this year were organised by Professor Jackie Stacey, Dr Sabine Sharp, and Janelle Hixon, with further support from Oscar Lister and James L. Slattery.

Project duration: 24th – 28th May 2021

Project leads:

  • Professor Jackie Stacey, Dept. of English & American Studies and Centre for New Writing, UoM
  • Dr Sabine Sharp, Dept. of English & American Studies and Centre for New Writing, UoM
  • Janelle Hixon, PhD, Dept. of Art History and Visual Culture, UoM

Internal Partners: The Centre for New Writing (SALC), The Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture (SALC), SALC Graduate School

External Partners: Greater Manchester LGBT Arts and Cultures Network (Barry Priest), Rainbow Noir (new partner; contact Tolu Ajayi), HOME (Rachel Hayward), Screen (film studies journal)

Audiences involved: Postgraduate delegates (PGT and PGR) from Τhe University of Manchester and institutions across the UK and abroad, including US, Canada, India, Poland, and Germany. Members of the public, including local BAME and LGBT communities.

Audience feedback: 

“the workshop came in very timely for me because I was struggling with questions of the archive for my research. The school helped me understand what archive is and can be and has made me much more confident in addressing the questions I had. As I will soon be writing my prospectus, I could not hope for better timing for the summer school. And, yes the wonderful introduction to the works of Ajamu and Le Grace; I loved being introduced to their work. Their word had a powerful impact on me, for sure. So, I once again want to thank and congratulate you for putting up a very interesting and helpful summer school.”


“I just wanted to thank you all for an incredible week, it was fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a very detailed and well organised summer school that was jam-packed. I mentioned in my feedback that I have previously been to summer schools that have felt very competitive and combative in nature but this was very respectful and really fostered open dialogue among the students which I am very grateful to have been a part of.”

Funding sources: Delegate fees, Arts Methods @ Manchester, SALC Social Responsibility Award, Screen Journal, NWCDTP


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