Archives LGBT Conference, Guildhall and Guildhall Art Gallery


Sailor and the Showgirl Project (cross dressing and safe sex)

Sailor and the Showgirl Project (cross dressing and safe sex)

UCA Archives and UCA Photography graduate, Rebecca Andrews, will feature in the 10th Archives LGBT conference, held at Guildhall Library on the 16th February.

UCA Archives will showcase the Tessa Boffin Archive in a display. The archive is currently held at Maidstone campus.

Tessa Boffin was a lesbian photographer, writer, curator and performance artist. She studied photography in the 1980s at Polytechnic of Central London, and her work involved sex and sexual fantasy, where she explored issues such as transvestism, homosexuality and lesbianism. She was the first British lesbian doing political work around AIDS as early as the 1980s. She co-edited the 1990 Ecstatic Anti-bodies with Sunil Gupta, and edited Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs with Jean Fraser. Although her life was cut short at the age of 32, she built up an impressive body of work

Tessa Boffin’s archive is visually attractive and suitable to make an engaging display. It contains her student photographic work of The Slings of Arrows and Outrageous fortune AIDS: the body politic, her project work, including concept photographs of her cross dressing and safe sex project work ‘The Sailor and the Showgirl’ and her photographic project books.

Andrews’ work compliments the archive of Tessa Boffin. She explored transvestism, photographing couples, and explored issues of sexuality and gender identity, including interviews with, and photography work on female body builders. Her work for female body building looked at the concept of ‘wearing’ the body and how we choose to wear our bodies in a society that generally corresponds to fixing boundaries of gender, which the female bodybuilder departs from.

Alongside the display a talk from Rebecca Andrews will take place regarding the work done, inspirations, and what she found regarding her transvestite work, also using the Tessa Boffin work and archive to suggesting whether there are similar attitudes now, as there was to cross dressing and transvestism in the 1980s.

The conference costs between £25 and £35 pounds and booking is essential

The Tessa Boffin Archive catalogue can be accessed here

To contact UCAArchives please email, or contact Rebekah Taylor, Archivist, on


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