AGM Talk on Classical Erotica

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Nov 082017

Embossed Roman cup showing two naked men, the young man being anally penetrated by the older.

Detail of Warren Cup

The audio from our AGM lecture, “EP Warren’s Classical Erotica: LGBT+ activism and objects from the past” by Dr. Jen Grove of Exeter University, is now available below. If you would like to see the accompanying slides they can be downloaded here.

EP Warren was an early 20th Century Classicist who developed a passion for collecting evidence of same-sex relations in the ancient world. Most famously he gave his name to the Warren Cup, now in the British Museum.

The talk was sponsored by the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bristol in honor of the birthday of John Addington Symonds, 19th Century Bristol-born writer, art historian and pioneer of homosexual rights.

Some Bristol Trans and Intersex History

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Oct 032017

In 1997 a Bristol City Councillor caused a media sensation when she announced that she would be transitioning gender from male to female. Her name is Rosalind Mitchell and she represented Redland for Labour. Sadly, in those days, life for trans people was not easy. Mitchell was not always treated well, both by the local media and by some of her colleagues in the Labour Party. She ended up leaving Bristol.

At OutStories Bristol we have kept this story under wraps to avoid any unwanted media attention for Mitchell and her family. However, times changes, and Mitchell is back in the public eye. She now lives in Scotland and is involved in politics once again with the SNP.

Last Thursday, Mitchell appeared on the BBC 2 Scotland programme, Timeline, to tell her story. That broadcast is currently available on the iPlayer. Mitchell tells us that some material has been recorded for Points West and, provided there are no big local news stories, will be broadcast this Wednesday (Oct. 4th).

We will be bringing you more of the Rosalind Mitchell story in the coming weeks.

New LGBT+ History Schools Resources!

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Feb 012017


Rainbow circles surround text reading 'Mapping LGBT+ Bristol' superimposed on a black and white map of bristol

Out today for the start of LGBT History Month 2017 is our new LGBT+ History Schools resource pack. The resources draw on our map and app (search ‘OutStories’ in your app store) and were developed in partnership with local LGBTQ+ youth group, Freedom Youth and the University of Bristol as part of our most recent big project, Mapping LGBT+ Bristol.

The new curriculum resources draw on the material collected through the course of Mapping LGBT+ Bristol and make use of the map and mobile app as an innovative and exciting method of engaging secondary school students in local LGBT+ history and its geographies.

Through engagement with this rich and locally relevant source material, the resources aim to cultivate in students, a connection to place and elicit profound reflection on social and philosophical questions around gender, sexuality, social norms, freedom, crime and punishment.

The resources also raise methodological questions around what it is that different kinds of source material – like historic newspaper articles or oral history recordings – can tell us about the past as well as the difficulties that are encountered when trying to understand historic practices using contemporary concepts.

While the resources are free to download and a limited run of printed materials are available on request (contact: N.eisenstadt[at] schools may also buy-in delivery of the sessions. Delivery will be carried out by peer facilitators from Freedom Youth trained as part of the wider Mapping LGBT+ Bristol project.

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Beyond The Well of Loneliness – The AGM Lecture

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Oct 102016

We are delighted to be able to bring you a recording of the keynote lecture from the 2016 OutStories Bristol Annual General Meeting. The lecture is titled “Beyond The Well of Loneliness: Reassessing Radclyffe Hall’s Place in LGBTQ History” and is given by Dr. Jana Funke of Exeter University. Unfortunately we can’t make the slides available as some of the images are subject to copyright.

In addition to being part of our AGM, the lecture was given to celebrate the birthday in 1840 of John Addington Symonds, Bristol-born writer, art historian and pioneer of homosexual rights. Mr. Symonds birthday is celebrated annually by the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bristol who also provided the venue and refreshments. Our thanks to both Dr. Funke for a fascinating lecture, and to Dr. Nico Momigliano for the arrangements.

New map and mobile app exploring Bristol’s LGBT+ past launched

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Jul 072016
Would you like to know more about Bristol’s LGBT+ history, or do you have a story that you’d like to share?

'Mapping LGBT+ Bristol' logo superimposed on a old street map of central BristolAn online map and mobile app exploring Bristol’s LGBT+ past was launched at Bristol Pride Saturday 9th July.

The map uses pictures, oral history recordings, archival documents and personal stories to bring hidden histories to light. The team was brought together by local LGBT+ history group OutStories Bristol, working together with the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and Bristol Record Office, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The app allows users to explore this history on the move and in the very places referred to on the map. The map can be accessed on OutStories Bristol’s own website where visitors can contribute their own stories.

The map also appears on Bristol City Council’s website Know Your Place which brings together multiple layers of Bristol’s diverse history.

See the map:

Get the app: search “Mapping LGBT+ Bristol” on Google Play (Android) or the Apple App (iTunes) store.

Middle-aged woman in knee-length skirt standing in the entrance door of a small 2-storey building with fully-glazed windows onto the street.

Joan Weegenaar and the Radnor Hotel, early 1960s. Copyright: Anna Henderson.

Andrew Foyle, co-Chair, OutStories Bristol said:

“We’re really excited about the new map and the possibilities it will bring for engagement within LGBT+ communities and beyond. Bristol has never had the resources for an LGBT+ community project on this scale and we’re really grateful for the fantastic work put in by the University of Bristol and the Arts and Humanities Research Council who funded it all. This is all about reclaiming a sense of our past which, on the local stage, has never been written down before. LGBT+ people have been around throughout history, we didn’t just appear in the 1960s. In the current political and social climate establishing these facts will be hugely significant.”

Dr. Nate Eisenstadt, Co-Investigator, University of Bristol:

“We knew about OutStories from the impressive LGBT history work they’d done as part of their Heritage Lottery funded project and exhibition Revealing Stories at Bristol’s M Shed museum. They knew about us from the community historical mapping we have been doing with Know Your Bristol. When Outstories got in contact and suggested an LGBT+ history mapping project, it seemed like a perfect match. We can’t wait for people to see the results!”

Mark Small, Bristol Record Office:

“We wanted to put Bristol’s LGBT+ history in the mainstream – that’s why putting a layer on the Know Your Place website and depositing the archives that have been collected at Bristol Record Office was so important”.


University of Bristol acquires archives of theatre designer Oliver Messel

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May 102016
Photo of Oliver Messel

Oliver Messel

The University of Bristol Theatre Collection recently acquired the personal archive of Oliver Messel, one of the 20th Century’s foremost designers for stage and screen 1904-1978. The archive celebrates Oliver’s life as an openly gay man in high society during that period and some of the challenges he faced, including service in the second world war. It also features arts benefactor Peter Watson.

Neither men had significant connections with the Bristol/Bath region, however the university would welcome collaboration with anyone interested in Messel and wishes to be involved with workshops, exhibitions, etc, regarding his life and work.

If you are interested, contact Katie McKeogh of the University of Bristol Development and Alumni Relations Office.

Mapping LGBT+ Bristol

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Oct 032015

8380389-old-book-with-copy-space-and-inkstand-isolated-on-whiteMapping LGBT+ Bristol is a major project to create a permanent digital archive and online map of the LGBT+ history of Bristol and the surrounding areas: Bath, South Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

The project is a collaboration between OutStories Bristol, the Know Your Bristol project at the University of Bristol, and Know Your Place, an interactive mapping website run by Bristol City Council. The project is being funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, a government-sponsored body that finances research and post-graduate projects.

Know your place imageMapping LGBT+ Bristol will:

  • Support OutStories volunteers in researching and mapping the LGBT+ history of the Bristol region.
  • Add a dedicated LGBT+ community ‘layer’ to the Know Your Place website Know Your Place provides a series of map bases from 1750 to the present that allows you to explore your neighbourhood through historic maps, images and linked information.
  • Create a new user-friendly interface embedded in the OutStories Bristol website that will directly access the LGBT+ layer on Know Your Place and facilitate crowd-sourced contributions.
  • Create a custom-made mobile app for smart phones and tablet PCs that will interface with the LGBT+ layer on Know Your Place. This will feature walking tours, push notifications and connections to social media.
  • Produce a series of ‘story-maps’ – geo-coded digital stories – on different facets of LGBT+ history.
  • Collaborate with Bristol’s LGBT+ youth group Freedom Youth in producing curriculum materials to be used in local schools to combat the stigmatization of gender diversity and homosexuality.
  • Add new material to the LGBT+ archives at the Bristol Record Office and other museums and archives.
Radnor Hotel, St Nicholas Street, Bristol

 Copyright: Anna Henderson

Mapping LGBT+ Bristol will be a series of explorations of LGBT+ lives, both historic and present. The project will draw teams of people together to research and record histories of the diverse individuals and communities that make up the region’s LGBT+ life.

Pride Bristol 2011 - main stagePlaces of significance may range from common places where people meet (now or in the past), the shifting map of the LGBT scene, sites of memory or life events significant to one individual or small groups, places of religious toleration, dissent and diversity, and sites relevant to public, political and civic oppression and acceptance.

The project will last for one year and will culminate with a public roll-out to coincide with the Bristol Pride festival in July 2016.


Everyone is welcome to get involved. We seek people to do research, conduct oral history interviews, produce video/audio, and create digital material for uploading to Know Your Place and our own website. Get in touch via our contact form.

University of Bristol AHRC logo   BristolCityCouncil_logo   Bristol museums logo

Mapping LGBT+ Bristol is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council