A queer year ends at the LMA conference

It’s been a busy and productive year for the Haringey Vanguard project. We’d like to thank everyone who has worked with us through volunteering, or inviting us to speak.

In 2020 we’ll continue to collect these vital Oral Histories and look forward to sharing our work with the community.

The 17th LMA LGBTQ+ History & Archive conference was a great success. Our Intern Kamara Dyer Simms reflects on what was such a stimulating day.

PROVOKE: The 17th Annual LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference

How can we redress the invisibility, erasure and oftentimes appropriation of BAME LGBTQ+ history and culture?

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On Saturday 7 December 2019, London Metropolitan Archives hosted the ‘Provoke: The 17th LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference’ with a distinct focus on the history and culture of BAME LGBTQ+ communities. The conference consisted of a plethora of talks, workshops, round tables, and exhibitions – which included the Haringey Vanguard pop-up exhibition, as well as the Rainbow Pilgrims pop-up exhibition featuring the stories and portraits of LGBTQI+ migrant and traveller communities in Britain.

The need for intergenerational dialogue in archiving LGBTQ+ stories

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Commencing with opening remarks by Deborah Hedgecock about archiving BAME LGBTQ+ history, and Veronica McKenzie about the objectives of the Haringey Vanguard Project, the conference succeeded in bringing to the forefront the imminent need to preserve and ensure these histories are not forgotten or misrepresented. Funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the Haringey Vanguard project works in conjunction with the London Metropolitan Archives and Bruce Castle Museum to record the contributions made to politics and culture by Haringey BAME LGBTQ+ activists from the 1970s to 1990s through oral history interviews.

The overarching sentiment of the event was the importance of remembrance. In his ‘Decolonising Queer History’ talk, guest speaker Campbell X spoke to the importance of enriching the archive with BAME contributions, moving past cis-normative and heteronormative interpretations of BAME LGBTQ+ history. Furthermore, the panel with Sue Lemos, Olivette Cole Wilson and Femi Otitojo entitled ‘An Intergenerational Dialogue: Uncovering the History of the Black LGBTQ+ Movement in Britain’, showcased the need for intergenerational dialogue in engaging with LGBTQ+ histories and the understanding that the Black LGBTQ+ Movement in Britain is ongoing social justice work.

Representation, sanctuary spaces, and intersectional perspectives

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Several sessions throughout the day were concerned with BAME LGBTQ+ community sanctuary spaces and their visual representations, including a focus on LGBTQ+ representation in arts and media in ‘The Set Up: Representations of Race and Gender’ with Ope Lori, and the importance of nightlife in ‘We Own the Night’ with Hakeem Kazeem and ‘Documenting Community: A QTIBPoC (Queer, Trans, Intersex Black and People of Colour) Archive Project’ with Hayley Reid. ‘A World Within Music: 30 years of sounds, space and community’ with DJ Ritu spoke to the archival properties of music in the club scene. The penultimate session was the screening of the award-winning film ‘There’s Always A Black Issue, Dear’ directed Claire Lawrie, with an accompanying Q&A panel.

Some talks spoke to the connection between community-orientated justice and legislative challenges to the LGBTQ+ community. ‘Tracing Community Change; Churches and Same-Sex Love’ with Savi Hensman and ‘A legal and social perspective of the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community over the last 30 years: a young perspective on LGBTQ+ history’ with Sophie Whiffen referred this connection from the perspectives of the Church and young people respectively.

Delegates were introduced to the existing and ongoing work by various community organisations: BlackOut UK in Dr Rob Berkeley and Marc Thompson’s talk ‘Crunched into Others’ Fantasies and Eaten Alive?’, The Romani Cultural and Arts Company in Isaac Blake’s talk ‘LGBTQ+, Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Communities’, and METRO Charity in Sakthi Suriyaprakasam’s discussion on ‘Queer Transformations: From the Greenwich Lesbian and Gay Centre to METRO Charity (1993–2003)’. Many more LGBTQ+ organisations were represented in the eleven stalls leading into the main conference space.

Community-building and BAME LGBTQ+ interior life

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The camaraderie built throughout the conference through the emotional intervention into BAME LGBTQ+ interior life was inspired by many of the personal experiences shared by the facilitators of sessions including: ‘Let’s Talk about Faith: LGBTQ+ people of faith on life’ with Shaan Knan and Olivette Cole Wilson, ‘Exploring African LGBTQ+ Lives’ with Axmed Maxamed, Véronique Belinga and Tabisa Raziya, and the grounding ‘Breaking the Silence; Tell me who you are?’ workshop with Dennis Carney. With the conference culminating in the restorative ‘Hide Me Under the Blood’ chronological spoken word performance by Keith Jarrett, narrative became an integral part to understanding BAME LGBTQ+ culture and community archival processes.

This year’s conference brought the experiences of BAME LGBTQ+ communities to the forefront, with a few speakers presenting their work for the first time. Delegates were moved by the inclusivity of the programming, with one attendee expressing that “there was a great selection of speakers and contributors”, and another stating that they found the conference “very thought provoking and entertaining” – an overall success.

What a summer of protest it was!

It seems like the summer of 2019 was marked by the number of people taking their message to the streets -whether that be climate change, the People’s vote or the Million Women Rising.  There is power in protest, and there were many discussions around the rise of mega Pride events taking place in London, Brighton and Manchester, with questions about whether they had left their protesting roots behind, and embraced commercialisation and exclusion. The great news is that the rise of Prides in places such as Folkestone, Swansea and Margate, shows how important it is to have LGBTQ+ representation across the UK, and to push for change at a local level.

Thanks to all our volunteers! They have been incredible, and their contribution means we were able to attend events such as London Pride, Black Pride and Folkestone and Brighton prides, and reach hundreds of people interested in LGBTQ+ history and BAME LGBTQ+ History.

We hope to see you in the coming months although we recognise that it’s the start of term for many, and that you will be pushed for time!


Haringey Vanguard are looking for a paid intern.  Info here https://bit.ly/2lMm6KO

It’s a great opportunity to work at the LMA on such a unique project.


We have planned a few exciting events.

September 29th 2019 1.30pm.

We’re looking to increase our group of volunteers, so if you’ve been thinking about it come down to our next meeting. We’ll also have an eat and transcribe session for those volunteers working on interviews, who can carry out transcribing over food.

1.30pm at Bruce Castle Museum.

October 27th 2019 . We’ll be having a conversation with Olivette Cole Wilson and learning about her history of Black Lesbian Activism. She was a key member of the 80’s Black lesbian groups and a founder member of the Stonewall charity.

1.30pm at Bruce Castle Museum


Our LGBTQ+ Archives & History Conference takes place December 7th. The line up is taking shape, and there will be an exciting mix of talks, activities and screenings – all Informative, Provoking and Entertaining.

If you’d like to get involved in  the conference planning, or any of our other activities, please email me on haringeyvanguard@gmail.com.

Have a great week!


Knowledge is power!

Haringey Vanguard LGBTQ+

Our BME LGBTQ mapping

History Volunteer Group meeting.

Thanks for signing up to volunteer for Haringey Vanguard!

We are happy to have a number of new people express interest in the project. We meet once a month, and the meetings are a mixture of informal sessions where you can find out more about the project- the hows and whys of collecting BAME LGBTQ+ Oral Histories and workshops where we focus on a specific subject i.e Sound Recording.

In our mapping exercise (above) our volunteers came up with lots of ideas for interesting workshops. Also if you fancy being a guest blogger feel free to email me at haringeyvanguard@gmail.com.

Some of our volunteers are in the middle of transcribing, which can be lonely work. This Sunday we’ll have a section for those of you transcribing interviews to catch up with each other, and share tips.

We will have refreshments.  The next meeting is

August 25th 2019 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Bruce Castle Museum

Lordship Lane, Tottenham, London N17 8NU



27th October – For Black History Month Bruce Castle Museum will mount an exhibition which will include the contributions of local LGBTQ+ people.

We know this year there has been lots of celebration of the Stonewall Uprising in the US which kickstarted the Gay Rights movement 50 years ago. BAME people were at the forefront of that struggle, and this BHM is a great opportunity to look at and reflect on the history of BAME LGBTQ+ community in the UK over the last 50 years.

We plan to book some wonderful speakers who will reflect on their experiences of gay life in 60s, 70s and 80s UK so look out for more information and book your place early.



The 17th annual LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference

7 December 2019.

PROVOKE ‘stimulate or give rise to’

How can we redress the invisibility, erasure and oftentimes appropriation of BAME LGBTQ+ History and culture?

The London Metropolitan Archives seek new perspectives, and dynamic responses in exploring BAME LGBTQ+ history.

7th December 2019 is the next LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference at the London Metropolitan Archive. BAME LGBTQ+ History will be at the heart of the day.

We’re excited by the range of presentations submitted and speakers who want to get involved. We aim to reflect the wide diversity of histories with the BAME LGBTQ+ communities, so please still think about submitting an idea for the conference. We also have space for stalls – so take the opportunity to promote your organisation’s work.

You can see last year’s brochure here LMA_Edgy_prog_2018.

Have a great week!



Volunteering with Love at Pride

This month we thank Haringey Vanguard volunteer Susan Miller for her blog. She thoroughly enjoyed helping out at the London Metropolitan Archives stall at this year’s Pride London.

Susan giving out sweets

We were proud of Pride this year – thrilled by our rainbow family who marched through London. According to the Indy 1.5million revellers and activists poured into the city. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-pride-2019-lgbt-rights-equality-prejudice-party-a8991631.html

And we were proud of our city which opened its streets, and shops and parks, and overflowed with Rainbow happiness.

As HV volunteers, most of our actual Pride 2019 was spent in Soho Square at the London Metropolitan Archives’ stand, promoting HV and two other LMA projects, including the National HIV Story Trust project, which is collecting the stories of those affected by HIV  in the 80s.

We could hear the whistles and the roar of the crowds in the distance, but surrounded by other cheery stallholders and watching regular visitors to the Square it didn’t feel like we were too far away from the action.

As the morning passed into afternoon more people flocked into the Square and we saw an array of flags and rainbow-coloured people in all their glory. The visitors to our stall were all in a great mood – next door the Bishopsgate Institute’s stall was packed with badges and memorabilia to give away – and happy to chat.

I grabbed a ‘Glad to be Gay’ badge from their stall… having meant yet again to dress up I’d come plain. Memo to self, next year it’s Rainbow from head to toes!

Our stall guests and passers-by more than made up for it. We met people from all over the UK and the world, drawn to one of the world’s biggest Pride events. Our giveaway of packets of condoms – don’t ask – were extremely popular and so were our bags and LMA book markers promoting our upcoming LGBTQ+ History & Archive conference In December. Veronica’s assortment of lurid-coloured sweets also attracted interest and not just from me.

Our memorabilia posters proved popular, with younger people remarking on the ticket prices advertised from events in the ‘80s – sometimes just a pound or so as the entry fee – and the older visitors fondly remember the exciting names of bands, poets and activists performing.

We even got to meet the man (below) whose photo was used as part of the National HIV Story Trust project, he came over to have a look at his younger self and we grabbed the chance to photograph him. It was very moving.

So was chatting to the man who’d lost a lot of his friends to HIV in the epidemic, tears in his eyes and mine. We exchanged a big hug. Another hug from a countryman of mine, all the way from the humid, beautiful city of Durban. Both of us long-time Londoners but with memories to share.

And we signed up new BAME people with memories of Haringey in the 80’s to be interviewed for the HV project and also new people who wanted to volunteer their skills to assisting Hv and the National HIV Story Trust project. Many people were fascinated by the range and depth of materials held at the London Metropolitan Archives, so we know that place will be buzzing even more than usual, with dozens of people keen to visit it.

Pride is a huge party. One of the biggest in the world.

But loads of people want to give back – to the people who went before and paved the way, and to those still battling. And so, they flocked to the many good projects at stalls dotted all over the Square and elsewhere in town.

Projects like HV give people a chance to meet older activists, contribute – our volunteer posters based on original memorabilia  were superb – and even learn new skills. It’s a blast to chat so many people. Inspirational and fun.

And there’s a seriousness too. This was the second year the lesbian and bisexual women asylum seekers group (https://www.refugeewomen.co.uk/marching-with-pride/), the Rainbow Sisters, marched at Pride – being allocated 25 wristbands this year. At Black Pride the next day they appeared on the Wellbeing and Wellness stage to talk about their struggles.

Their message: “We need your support as allies. Asylum seeking and immigration are LGBT+ issues.”

Held in Haggerston Park in Hackney for the first time, moving north after a hugely successful 2018 in Vauxhall Pleasure Garden, this year’s Black Pride was the biggest yet. Over 10,000 revellers packed in for an amazing day.

Black Pride co-founder and creative director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah (Lady Phyll) said it left her ‘overcome with emotion’ as she remembered the very beginnings of the event 14 years ago in Southend-On-Sea. (https://www.ukblackpride.org.uk/blog/ukbp-2019-thank-you)

HV and volunteers Pride pic July 2019Back at the HV stall which was shared with the Opening Doors charity, Veronica hailed the day a success too. Lady Phyll popped by and more than twenty new people had signed up to be interviewed for HV and we’d chatted “to dozens more!”

Being proud – and aware – has never seemed so important. And neither has being involved… In the words of that 80’s hit by King ‘That’s what my heart yearns for now – love and pride’. Don’t we all!

Susan Miller loves chatting and writing – in that order. A very experienced content editor, she’s convinced of one thing. People will never cease to amaze you with their amazing life stories. As a HV volunteer, she’s enjoying learning more about the UK’s LGBT+ politics in the ‘80s and the workings of the LMA.  

Thanks to our Pride volunteers Susan, Becky, Savi, Elaine, Zarieu, Philip, Aldina, ShoSho, Sue, Veronique and Aimee.



Upcoming events- 

Haringey Vanguard Volunteer Interest Group meeting. Please come along to find out more about the project, our workshops and interviews. We will be running our popular Sound Recording and Oral History Interviews workshops again so do sign up.

August 25th 2019 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Bruce Castle Museum

Lordship Ln, Tottenham, London N17 8NU

Refreshments will be provided.

Our volunteer Rachel is also the Opening Doors Community Engagement worker for the BAME LGBTQ+ 50+ Group. Their next event with filmmaker Claire Lawrie is a screening of Beyond. It’s an amazing film, and Rachel has invited us all along. It’s free and link is here.


This will be Rachel’s last event before she moves on to pastures new, so please support, and from all of us at HV- THANK YOU!

Over the summer we will get the bulk of the interviews completed, so if you are interested please email with dates of availability to haringeyvanguard@gmail.com.

Also please check us out on social media.

Enjoy the sun!








Radical Compassion for Pride Month

Akiha HV poster 1

I’m pleased to welcome Savi Hensmen as our guest contributor for this blog following the successful ‘Campaigning then and now’ workshops she recently ran with our volunteers.

‘In the 1980s in Haringey, where the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre project was based at first, sexuality was hotly debated. Then as now, LGBT equality in education was urgently needed but especially controversial.

At a recent Haringey Vanguard workshop, I described some of local activism for equality by communities, along with trade unionists and members of the Labour Party. Then as now, it was important to build alliances, listening to people and looking for ways to connect with and persuade them. We looked at some materials from Positive Images – focusing on schools – and Haringey Black Action, working on broader unity in black communities. Images and shirt amounts of text worked together, both to reach others and help to affirm LGBTQ+ people in our own identities.

Today, social media makes it far easier than before to bring words and pictures together to try to change people’s hearts and the wider world. But, in a discussion, it was pointed out that this could also cause problems, since messages could be posted quickly and people react harshly.

Workshop participants prepared artworks aiming to be relevant to building greater mutual support today, which might allow people to tackle injustice in society and encourage us to care for one another and act with love.

It was suggested that, instead of a ‘call-out culture’ within our communities which can lead to an online ‘pile-on’ of condemnation, there could be a ‘call-in culture’ of speaking out without tearing down, and being supportive. Up-to-date means of communication, creativity and imagination can be used to help to build a better world.’

Using images produced by our volunteers Zarieu and Akiha (her work is above), we agreed to use the terms ‘RADICAL COMPASSION‘ and ‘LOVING EACH OTHER IS A RADICAL ACT‘ as inspirations for our Pride well-being campaign.

Please follow us at @hgveyVanguard on Twitter, and share on Facebook, to help spread a positive message of support to all BAME LGTQ+ people for Pride and beyond. The campaign aims to encourage all of us to reach out to each other, check in on each other and to not assume everyone is having a ‘fabulous’ Pride. Many in the BAME LGBTQ+ will not be able to, nor have the freedom to celebrate Pride.
We will have stalls at London Pride in Soho Square July 6th and UK Black Pride jointly with Opening Doors on July 7th. Thank you to all those who will be volunteering, and to everyone else enjoy Pride and please stop by and say hello!
Take care


Express yourself!

Haringey Vanguard was invited by Opening Doors and Flourishing lives to run our Getting it Down, Getting it Done Digital workshop at the Tate Modern’s Age/ncy late event.

The three-day programme spanned stand-up comedy, physical theatre, workshops, and collaborative installation to explore the idea of ageing as transition across the life course.

Rachel's poster

Big thanks to the HV volunteers who contributed, and credit to Rachel’s design. 

Our next Special Interest Group (SIG)  meeting and workshop is on 26th May 2019  and 
Bruce Castle Museum 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Workshop – Campaigning then and now: What can be learnt from campaigns in Haringey in the 1980s in which BME LGBTQ+ people were involved, which might be relevant to today’s digital age? A hands-on workshop: come prepared to be creative!
We’ll look at posters and leaflets from that time, as well as other activities aimed at changing hearts and minds and empowering LGBTQ+ people, examining how these set out to make a connection and persuade or encourage. Workshop participants would then then identify two or three issues of today and devise a series of tweets and accompanying images. You can also make a banners or posters for Pride 2019.
The workshop will be led by Savi Hensmen a leading activist from the 1980s and original worker at the Black lesbian and Gay centre, which started in Tottenham in 1985.
Pride month is coming!
With both London Pride and UK Black Pride fast approaching, the project would like to do something. We are looking for volunteers for the stall for London Pride on 6th July and UK Black Pride stalls on 7th July.
Please email haringeyvanguard@gmail.com to volunteer and come along to our SIG meeting on June 30th to discuss fun ways to represent the project at Pride.
Our forthcoming SIG group meetings are 
30th June – Pre pride discussion and planning.
28th July – Pride celebration at Bruce Castle museum.

25th August -tbc
29th Sept 29th – tbc
27th October – Black History month social and exhibition.
24th November –
SAVE THE DATE! 7th December 2019 is the next LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference at the London Metropolitan Archive. BAME LGBTQ+ History will be at the heart of the day. If you individually, or through your organisation would like to be part of the conference, we welcome ideas for workshops, and talks.  I can send out last year’s brochure to give you an idea of events.

Have a great week!

In celebration of us.

This time of year is full of celebrations! LGBTQ+ Month and International Women’s Day are dedicated to celebrating the political and cultural advances made, with events and the crucial Million Women’s March helping to shine a light on the continuing injustices facing our communities worldwide.

Thank you to all who attended our Vanguard of Then And Now Art and Social event at Bruce Castle Museum on the 27th February. Sherika HV Feb 27th

The vibe was friendly, and big up poet and activist Savi Hensmen, performance artist Lasana Shabazz and singer songwriter Sherika Shepard for their excellent contributions, which made the evening such a great success.

The feedback from the intergenerational ‘meet and match segment’, where interviewees spoke to potential interviewers was positive.



We’re scheduling the next batch of Oral History interviews, so if you’ve put your name down, we will be in touch soon.

HV Pt1


The exhibition of posters and flyers from BAME LGBTQ+ activists runs until March 31st 2019





Haringey Vanguard Artist call out

We’d like to invite artists from the BAME LGBTQ+ communities who have a connection to Haringey, through having either lived, worked or socialised in Haringey, to submit a creative response to the archives displayed at Bruce Castle museum.

Applicants can work in any artistic discipline, including zines, painting, print, video or poetry. Up to 3 ideas will be commissioned for £250 each, and selected work exhibited as part of an exhibition, celebrating LGBTQ Black History month in October 2019.

Please send your one page or max of two minutes video outlining your idea to haringeyvanguard@gmail.com with ART in the title by March 31st 2019.

Our next Special Interest Group meeting is on March 17th 2019 at 1.30pm.  

We’re happy to be hosting this jointly with the Opening Doors BAME LGBTQ+ Over 50’s group, run by Rachel. We will be screening ‘Under Your Nose’ about the UK’s first Black Lesbian and Gay Centre, and discussing future Haringey Vanguard events.

Please email haringeyvanguard@gmail.com by Saturday March 16th at 5pm to confirm your space as we need to know the numbers attending.

Shout out to our partners in last week’s event!

Batty Mama is created by Lasana Shabazz (Minstrels), Ama Josephine Budge (HYSTERIA) and Hakeem Kazeem (Collapse the Closet). Mx Hannah Iheoma Place
Founder at PLACE A  and filmmaker Hayley Reid.

Have a great week!