Call For papers

A Very Victorian Scandal: conference heritage performance 2015

A Very Victorian Scandal: conference heritage performance 2015

The annual conference and gathering is organised in conjunction with OUTing the Past and will be held on the 21st and 22nd of May 2020 at Queen's University, Belfast.

Since its inception the conference has maintained a commitment to examining the subjects and methodologies that are part of the LGBT+ history. It furthers the goals of the OUTing the Past festival by coordinating a two-day programme featuring papers, panel discussions and workshops while providing a forum for productive and sustained engagements among its participants.

Past conferences have attracted delegates from over fifteen countries involved in scholarly research, political/human rights activism, as well as other voluntary organisations and professional practices outside the academy. While the festival conference is dedicated to LGBT+ histories, communities are creating and curating history now, so scholars from a range of academic disciplines, public scholars, students, librarians, archivists, heritage professionals, and others are all equally welcome.

Conference theme:

Reflecting its ongoing commitments, the theme for the 2020 OUTing The Past conference is Completing the Past: LGBT+ History and Creative Production. Theatrical productions have been centrepieces at recent conference gatherings, including A Very Victorian Scandal (2015), Mister Stokes: The Man-Woman of Manchester (2016), The Burnley Buggars’ Ball and Burnley’s Lesbian Liberator (2017) and a Queer Ceili at the Marty Forsythe (2019). Among the possibilities that would further highlight the roles that creative productivity can plat in better understanding the past, the conference Advisory Panel seeks to develop a programme that

  • Explores how creativity can be deployed and developed as a form of emerging historiographical enquiry

  • Describes how creative responses can be used to fill in the LGBT+ absences in the archive

  • Offers accounts of archives and collections that have hosted creative interventions to offer a queer reading of the past

  • Outlines methodologies for playwriting, poetry, spoken word, screenplays, short and long form fiction for queer engagement with the historical record of the past

  • Provides a platform for screening (or staging) films, performances, documentaries and other forms of media (e.g. augmented reality or virtual reality or podcasting, historical social media personas, etc).

The Burnley Bugger’s Ball: conference heritage performance 2017

The Burnley Bugger’s Ball: conference heritage performance 2017

Papers, panels and workshops: We welcome abstracts for papers and panels (provisionally, 25 and 90 minutes respectively) that explore the theme of LGBT+ history and creativity. Creative forms of presentation are encouraged: performative lectures, short films, short performances, visual arts, etc. Though preference will be given to those directly addressing the conference theme, we also encourage abstracts that historicise any aspect of the LGBT+ past or consider how we share knowledge of LGBT+ histories within and beyond the academy.

We also invite proposals for skill-based 90 minute workshops. Preference will be given to proposals that directly reflect the conference theme. Examples of past workshops include making historical videos, collecting oral histories and establishing archives. Other skill-based workshops on topics such as grant-writing, managing exhibits, creating or sustaining activist organisations, undertaking historically-informed forms of advocacy or resistance, etc. will also be considered.

Abstracts for papers, panels, or workshops should be submitted via the form below by 7th Jan 2020. Individual abstracts should be 150-250 words and include a short biography with contact information for each participant. (Provision of an email address will indicate permission to hold that information for the purposes of conference communications and logistics.) We kindly ask that presentations be made in English and will endeavour to source translators for Q&A sessions fo r those who are not fluent in English.

We encourage the submission of abstracts that increase contributions for students, activists and representatives of organisations committed to fostering a greater appreciation of LGBT+ history. OUTing The Past aims to provide bursaries to defray the cost of travel and accommodation for artists or activists who are chosen as presenters. Questions regarding participation can be sent to the conference Programme Coordinator at


Decisions on abstracts for papers, panels and workshops will be communicated by the conference Advisory Panel in January 2020. A preliminary programme and the registration will be available at from early 2020.

Friends and associates of OUTing the Past (l to r): Sue Sanders (Schools OUT UK), Peter Tatchell (Peter Tatchell Foundation), Stuart Milk (Harvey Milk Foundation), Tony Fenwick (Schools OUT UK)

Friends and associates of OUTing the Past (l to r): Sue Sanders (Schools OUT UK), Peter Tatchell (Peter Tatchell Foundation), Stuart Milk (Harvey Milk Foundation), Tony Fenwick (Schools OUT UK)

The conference in context:

OUTing the Past: The Festival of LGBT History is largely comprised of one-day public events scheduled at various locations throughout the UK - and beyond! - beginning in February so as to coincide with LGBT History Month. It represents an educational undertaking that seeks to address silence and denial by promoting insights into past attitudes and behaviours related to sexuality and gender. Its goals include:

  • Popularising the study of past attitudes towards sex and gender diversity within the academy and among the general public

  • Encouraging research into past attitudes towards sex and gender diversity, especially those endeavours seeking to question the silences and bias within general historiography

  • Seeking to develop partnerships in order to help address the growing public interest in past attitudes towards sex and gender diversity.

The two-day conference marks the end of the annual festival and furthers its goals through its programming as well as its commitment to fostering sustained engagements among contributors and participants.

Below you will be able to submit your papers for consideration from October 1st 2019 until January 7th 2020.

Burnley’s Lesbian Liberator: conference heritage performance 2017

Burnley’s Lesbian Liberator: conference heritage performance 2017


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