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Durham University

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Working and Studying in Schools 32 Years After Section 28

(12 February 2021)

Join Professor Catherine Donovan (Department of Sociology) and guest speakers in this LGBT History month event on Friday 26 February between 1pm-3pm. Further information including the full programme, and details on how to register can be found on the Eventbrite page here.

Talks and films include:

• LGBT+ Teachers perspectives: Dr Anna Llewellyn, Durham University • Mothers of Invention: Filmmaker Julie Ballands • Understanding LGBT+ youth experiences of homo/bi/transphobic bullying: Dr Eleanor Formby, Sheffield Hallam • 'I'm gay dash councillor': Filmmaker Richard Bliss

This is an event with a mixture of speakers and films that, together, provide an opportunity to look back over thirty years in the lives of LGBT+ people in Britain.

The programme is outlined below:

Welcome, introductions, short (15 mins) background and context: changing landscapes from discrimination to equality – Prof Catherine Donovan, Sociology, Durham University

  • LGBT+ Teachers’ perspectives: from gay shame to 'gay tsar' and
  • LGBT+ everything in-between Dr Anna Llewellyn Assistant Professor,
  • LGBT+ Education, Durham University

Mothers of Invention by Julie Ballands. This film tells the story of a group of dykes on Tyneside in the 1980s/1990s, who were both political activists and what would now be called cultural producers. Film maker Julie Ballands will show her film and be on the panel:

Understandings of LGBT+ youth, and related homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, in English schools Dr Eleanor Formby Reader in Sociology and Youth Studies, Sheffield Hallam University

‘I’m gay (dash) councillor’ by Richard Bliss. This film tells the story of Richard Bliss, who, in 1988 was elected as the first ‘out’ gay Councillor in Newcastle.

Panel Q&A with speakers and film makers chaired by Catherine Donovan

Both Films were commissioned by Tyne and Wear Museums in Partnership with Curious Arts and were launched here along with four other films under the theme: Reimagining Pride: Must-see Stories (

Richard Bliss an artist/tailor. Richard usually works in public, sewing on a domestic sewing machine. Frequently he finds himself having conversations about family, trans and cis masculinity and how and why some men are disturbed by feminism. The other strand of Richard’s work is uncovering hidden histories, with a focus on LGBTQI history and working class craftspeople. His forthcoming exhibition . “Workers' Thread" celebrates some of the forgotten characters who have contributed to the history of Durham.

Julie Ballands is a filmmaker and digital storyteller whose work explores themes connected to people’s sense of place and belonging, often drawing upon archived material and personal testimonies. Having undertaken artist residencies and commissions for many organisations in the community, charity and arts sectors, Julie has also worked for the last 20 years in cultural institutions across the North East.

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