Queer Activisms

Communities, Networks, Empowerment

  • N83 BBZ 30

    Image: Naeem Davis (BBZ).

Past Event


This event was on Saturday 11 May, 11.30am - 5pm

How do queer spaces build communities? This day features a workshop by queer collective and club promoters BBZ, a panel discussion on activism and queer spaces with Ben Campkin (UCL), filmmaker Veronica McKenzie, DJ Ritu, Justin Bengry (Goldsmiths) and curator Vassilios Doupas, followed by a screening of McKenzie’s documentary Under Your Nose about the now closed Black Lesbian and Gay Centre in Peckham.

11.30am – 3pm: Workshop: Active Archives with BBZ

1pm-3pm: Panel Discussion

3.30pm – 5pm: Film Screening

Part of Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today

Workshop: Active Archives

11.30am: Workshop
Free, booking required

Active Archives: Exploring QTIPOC memories and how to keep them for those to come

This workshop for those that identify as QTIPOC is led by queer collective and club promoters BBZ to address questions of emotional labour and sustainability in hosting and maintaining safe spaces, and community building.

How can we make physical archives in a world that feels so temporary? In the age of social media being present in most if not all of our lives, camera rolls holding thousands of pictures we never revisit and everything’s expiry date feeling a lot sooner than ever. How do we look back and forward to create new ways of archiving marginalised voices, even more so in our community the voices, narratives and experiences of QTIPOC.

In this workshop participants will collectively map memories and experiences to open a conversation about blackness, queerness and diaspora. This process creates a new physical archive that can be built on and edited over time. The conversation will question what queerness looks and feels like, including questions surrounding performative identities and occupying places as QTIPOC.


Register here for workshop

Please note: This workshop is open to all individuals who identify as queer, trans or intersex and are a person of colour (QTIPOC). If someone attends it is because they feel that they are included by this policy.

Panel Discussion and Screening

1pm-3pm: Panel Discussion: Queer Spaces and Activism

What is the relationship between the activism for queer spaces and wider political struggles in London, from anti-gentrification to anti-fascist movements? What strategies are there to keep spaces open, and also to make spaces safe and inclusive for everyone? Can contemporary art play a role in activist campaigns?

We invite a range of speakers to consider these questions; chaired by Vassillios Doupas, Co-Curator of Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today, this panel includes Ben Campkin on UCL Urban Lab and filmmaker Veronica McKenzie, Justin Bengry, Programme Leader in Queer History at Goldsmiths University, and DJ Ritu. 

3pm – 3.30pm BREAK

3.30pm: Screening: Under Your Nose

Thirty three years ago a group of activists came together with one aim – to open a centre for the BME LGBT community in London. Against the backdrop of 1980s politics, Thatcherism, and burgeoning gay rights, ‘Under Your Nose’ celebrates those trailblazing human rights workers whose political legacy is still apparent today.

About BBZ

BBZ is an ever-evolving curatorial & creative production collective born, raised and based in South East London with roots in nightlife and clubbing culture. Prioritising the experiences of queer womxn, trans folk and non binary people of colour in all aspects of their work, we provide physical and online platforms for this specific community. Challenging insitutionalised behaviours and looking at democratising access to public institutions.

We explore experiential practices from interactive installations, sound, poetry and archive to celebratory communion, photography, group shows, film and more. Organised by a stand out collective of seven queer black artists and headed by co-founders Tia Simon-Campbell and Naeem Davis.

About Ben Campkin

Ben Campkin is Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism at The Bartlett School of Architecture and Co-Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory. He is the author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (2013), which won the 2014 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Foundation Award. Ben is co-editor of Sexuality and Gender at Home: Experience, Politics, Transgression (Bloomsbury, 2017) and LGBTQ+ Night-spaces in London: Past, Present, Future, Urban Pamphleteer (2018), and co-author, with Lo Marshall, of LGBTQ+ Cultural Infrastructure in London: Night Venues, 2006-present (2017), a report that has influenced activism and policy in London. The exhibition Queer Spaces, London: 1980s–Today features case studies, archives and data from the research Ben leads, and he is currently writing a book on this topic for Zed Books.

About Veronica McKenzie

Veronica McKenzie started out in the Voluntary sector before following her passion for writing. She completed an MA in Screenwriting and was a Storyliner for Coronation Street, before setting up Reel Brit Productions in 2010. Veronica has co-produced shorts The Last Supper(2011), and ITSY (2017). Her feature documentary Under Your Nose (2016) has screened at the V&A, and numerous universities, and more recently her debut feature Nine Nights won the 2019 Pan African Film Festival Narrative Feature Award in LA. She co-directed the short Monica Loose On A Cruise which is selected for BFI Flare 2019.

About Justin Bengry

Dr Justin Bengry is Lecturer in Queer History at Goldsmiths, University of London where he convenes the world’s first MA in Queer History. He was awarded a PhD in History and Feminist Studies from the University of California after which he held postdoctoral fellowships in Canada and the UK. Justin was the lead researcher on Historic England’s project Pride of Place: England’s LGBTQ Heritage and the AHRC project Queer Beyond London. He has published widely on LGBTQ histories and is a leading public historian of Britain’s LGBTQ past. Justin’s book The Pink Pound: Capitalism and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Britain is under contract with the University of Chicago Press.

About Vassilios Doupas

Vassilios Doupas is a writer and curator. He has held senior positions in galleries in London, Athens and Istanbul. He was Head of Fundraising for the Athens Biennial and is currently Curator of Programs at Contemporary Art Society, London. His curatorial interests include queer politics, abstraction and the politics of representation.

About DJ Ritu

Dance music pioneer & trailblazing broadcaster DJ Ritu presents the UK’s definitive global music show, A World in London – weekly at SOAS Radio & Resonance 104.4FM. Her 33 year career includes co-founding cult label Outcaste Records, signing Nitin Sawhney and Badmarsh & Shri, touring in 30 countries with her own bands Sister India and The Asian Equation,  plus performing at major venues and festivals like Tate Britain, the BFI, Spiritland, WOMAD, Royal Festival Hall & Trafalgar Square. A Rough Guides CD compiler, Ritu also manages two London club nights: Kuch Kuch and Club Kali which are the longest running Bollywood events in the UK. A musical chameleon, her repertoire includes soul, disco, Motown, pop, drum n’ bass, as well as Turkish, Greek, African, Latin, and Middle-Eastern sounds. Ritu hosts various festivals at The Southbank Centre, Rich Mix, and numerous nightspots! She is a member of the London Music Board, and the European World Music Charts panel.

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