I was fortunate enough to attend and present at day one of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning) conference held at the Bishopgate Institute, 22nd June 2016.
The day one conference is available here
Events/talks included a talk on the artist Gluck, a woman, who dressed as a man from the Fashion Curator at Brighton Museum. Donations to the museum included dresses, ‘female’ clothes, and there was a mystery in terms of whether she really wore it, was it for significant others? This demonstrated the importance of context. Questions afterwards also highlighted differences in interpretation regarding the artist – whether she actually identified as a man, or otherwise?
Also in the sources panel, of particular interest to me, was Daniel Laurin on ‘Contains Nudity: Experiencing the Erotic in the Queer Personal Archive’. Talking about The Mario Prizek Archive ‘housed in the University of Toronto’s Media Commons’, he looked at nudity within the collection – a range of different types of nudity- ‘photographs of friends showering at the cottage in the 1970s, but also for materials that document Prizek’s sexual exploits’. I was interested in the fact that ‘contains nudity’ was a phrase that describes all this material in the collection – saying as much about the archivist, as the material
Art responses to collections and the ethics of art responses were apparent in Ken. To be destroyed: photography, a transgender relative and a family archive by Sara Davidmann (London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK) and Documentary Theatrics: I am my own wife’s archival deceptions by Polly J. Thistlethwaite (Professor and Chief Librarian, City University of New York, USA). The former talk looking at transgender correspondence and photographs within their family. Correspondence was entitled ‘to be destroyed’- very powerful – although i believe that it is vital to keep, there is an argument for respecting someone’s wishes – although would their minds change today? Artwork was produced with photographs – manipulating photographs so the transgender person could appear as they wanted to appear. The second talk looked at playwriting/creative writing /documentary theatre , and the dangers of distorting fiction so it appears as facts.
I presented in a terminology panel. There was a talk on language and appropriate terms – UDC: A Universal Discriminative Classification?– by Gregory Toth (Metadata & Discovery Manager, Senate House Library, London, UK). I looked at cataloguing multiple identity collections, involving research into terminology and description, controlled vocabulary, and ways to improve collections’ searchability.
This was a fantastic day and very much enjoyed being here!
Archivist & Special Collections Officer