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CFP: OUTing the Past Festival Conference 2019: “LGBT+ Solidarity: Past and Present”, Belfast, 29–31 March 2019.

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OUTing the Past Festival Conference 2019
LGBT+ Solidarity: Past and Present
29 – 31 March 2019 at Ulster University, Belfast

The conference:

The sixth annual conference is organised in conjunction with OUTing the Past: The Festival of LGBT History and will be held 29th – 31st March 2019 at Ulster University, Belfast. Since its inception, the conference has maintained a commitment to examining the subjects and methodologies that are part of LGBT+ history. It furthers the goals of the OUTing the Past festival by coordinating a two-day programme featuring papers, panel discussions and workshops while providing a forum for productive and sustained engagements among its participants.

Past conferences have attracted delegates from over fifteen countries involved in scholarly research, political/human rights activism, as well as other voluntary organisations and professional practices outside the academy. While the festival conference is dedicated to LGBT+ histories, communities are creating and curating history now, so scholars from a range of academic disciplines, public scholars, students, librarians, archivists, activists, heritage professionals, and others are all equally welcome.

Conference theme:

Reflecting its ongoing commitments, the theme for the 2019 OUTing the Past festival conference is LGBT+ Solidarity: Past and Present. Among other possibilities, the conference Advisory Panel seeks to develop a programme that:

  • Showcases actors, events, and testimonials that illuminate or complicate notions of solidarity across time
  • Highlights LGBT+ history that speaks to working across regions, nations, ideologies or identities
  • Draws on the past as a way of interrogating current modes of LGBT+ allyship or conceptions of community
  • Explores or imagines alignments that seek to develop new frameworks for generating and communicating LGBT+ history
  • Proposes projects that utilize LGBT+ histories as a means of empowerment for under-represented groups, such as youth, the elderly, BAME / people of color, people with disabilities, diasporic communities, etc.

Papers, panels and workshops:

We welcome abstracts for papers and panels (provisionally, 25 and 90 minutes respectively) that explore the theme of LGBT+ solidarity. Though preference will be given to those directly addressing the conference theme, we also encourage abstracts that historicise any aspect of the LGBT+ past or consider how we share knowledge of LGBT+ histories within and beyond the academy.

We also invite proposals for skill-based 90 minute workshops. Preference will be given to proposals that directly reflect the conference theme and spirit of the festival. Examples of past workshops include making historical videos, collecting oral histories and establishing archives. Other skill-based workshops on topics such as grant-writing, managing exhibits, creating or sustaining activist organizations, undertaking historically-informed forms of advocacy or resistance, etc. are encouraged.

Abstracts for papers, panels, or workshops should be submitted by 1st October 2018 via Please include “Conference abstract” in the subject line. Individual abstracts should be 150-250 words and include a short biography with contact information for each participant. (Provision of an email address will indicate permission to hold that information.) We kindly ask that presentations be made English and will endeavour to source translators for Q & A sessions for those who are not fluent in English.

We encourage the submission of abstracts that increase contributions from students, activists and representatives of organisations committed to fostering a greater appreciation of LGBT+ history. Questions regarding participation can be sent to the conference Programme Coordinator at


Decisions on abstracts for papers, panels and workshops will be communicated by the conference Advisory Panel in November. A preliminary programme and registration will be available at from December.

The conference in context:

OUTing the Past: The Festival of LGBT History is largely comprised of one-day public events scheduled at various locations throughout the UK – and beyond! – beginning in February so as to coincide with LGBT History Month. It represents an educational undertaking that seeks to address silence and denial by promoting insights into past attitudes and behaviours related to sexuality and gender. Its goals include:

  • Popularising the study of past attitudes towards sex and gender diversity within the academy and among the general public
  • Encouraging research into past attitudes towards sex and gender diversity, especially those endeavours seeking to question the silences and bias within general historiography.
  • Seeking to develop partnerships in order to help address the growing public interest in past attitudes towards sex and gender diversity.

The two-day conference marks the end of the annual festival and furthers its goals through its programming as well as its commitment to fostering sustained engagements among contributors and participants.

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