Decolonising@Lincoln: Academic spotlight

We have added a new article to the School of Architecture and the Built Environment ‘Decolonising Architecture’ page on the Library website:

Decolonisation in Tertiary Design Education. Redesigning the Content, Structure and Space of Design Disciplines for an Inclusive Pedagogy

Denver Hendricks is an Senior Lecturer in Interior Architecture and Design. He is a mixed-race Professional Architect, Tertiary Design Educator and Researcher who was part of the drive towards the decolonial and digital pedagogical transformation in South Africa. Previously he was a full-time lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, where he tought design, technology and theory. Through his innovative pedagogical approach to design education,  he established the Fabrication Laboratory at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture and is the designated Development Coordinator. His focus in education is on developing collaborative 21-century curricula and research which embraces both decolonisation and digital design methods of tomorrow. Denver was Head of the Department of Architecture from 2017 to 2021 and now pursuing a PhD in alternative and innovative pedagogies. He also has almost 20 years of practice experience in public, residential and commercial architecture and urban design.

His studies include a Masters in Urban Studies, A postgraduate degree in Architecture and undergraduate diplomas in architectural technology. He won both the Housing Development Agency and PG Bison Awards during his final year of studies. He has completed short courses in material studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an external examiner for architecture schools in South Africa, sits on examination panels and was invited to talk at institutions in New York, Italy and the United Kingdom. He also has a strong international network of academic peers.

Here is a link to his personal website:

Decolonisation, the Library and reflecting on the building and its colonial past


Dr Simon Obendorf from the University of Lincoln reflects on the Library building and it’s colonial past.

“The Great Central Warehouse Library building, in its site, purpose and physical structure, provides us with many opportunities to reflect on Britain’s colonial pasts. Built on a site first identified by the Romans as an ideal harbour for their “Colony on the Lindum” (Lindum Colonia – Colony by the Dark Pool), the site was used as a hub for trade across Roman Britain and out to other parts of the Roman Empire. As the United Kingdom gained – and gained from – its own Empire, the site on the Brayford was expanded and strengthened to become a key transshipment point between water-based and railway transport. In 1907, the Great Central Goods and Grain Warehouse (our present-day Library) was opened. In its physical structure, the building embodied the global reach of Britain’s colonial power at its height. The huge 16.5m long pine beams that hold up the roof, and on which the original winching machinery was installed, were shipped to Lincoln all the way from Canada. The warehouse itself served as a focal point for an increasingly globalised trade: a building in which the goods of empire were organised, sorted and sent on to destinations across Britain and around a globe that had been reshaped by colonialism. Today, the Warehouse – and its new Library occupant – plays a similar role in collating, organising and sharing forms of knowledge. The history of this building should inspire us to ask: what sorts of knowledge “goods” are organised and catalogued here? Who is able to access and benefit from this warehouse of knowledge? Our hope is that, just as the physical form of the Warehouse has been disrupted and given new purpose by its architectural transformation into the University Library, we can transform and decolonise our collecting, cataloguing, knowledge sharing and librarianship to better reflect a post-imperial, plural United Kingdom – and to better serve the global community of scholarship, research, pedagogy and practice of which we are a part”.

Dr Simon Obendorf
Senior Lecturer

School of Social and Political Sciences

College of Social Science

Rhodes must

Decolonising is a term that you may have heard a lot about recently as it has gained traction in Higher Education in recent years. At Lincoln, several key groups have been set up to discuss what it means to us as an institution and how we are going to move forward to address the issues.

Decolonisation of HE originated as a movement 20 years ago to ensure that the knowledge and practices of indigenous people were represented in the HE curricula of post-colonial countries.

“More recently the ‘decolonising the curriculum’ agenda was reignited in South Africa in 2015 with the “Rhodes Must Fall” movement, where students demanded the removal of the statue to the colonialist, Cecil Rhodes, and for indigenous knowledge to be placed on an equal footing in the curriculum with that from the global north. This agenda has gained momentum in the UK, led by the National Union of Students ‘Why is my curriculum white?’ campaign which suggests that while the Arts and Humanities disciplines have the most work to do regarding decolonisation, all subjects have opportunities to reconsider teaching matter”. Dr Neil Williams, Kingston University

So, the opposite of a decolonised curriculum is a colonial curriculum. A colonial curriculum is:

  • Unrepresentative because it selects particular teachings and excludes others
  • Inaccessible because it consequently prevents recipients of the teaching from identifying with the narrative (but appealing to the historically favoured demographic)
  • Privileged because it continues to ensure that this select group of people is the dominant narrative

Picture of a woman with loud speaker with 'Your Voice'

As a University, we have committed to recognise and uphold the five principles of our One Community Values: equality, understanding, listening, kindness, acceptance. The present project of decolonising our curriculum and pedagogy flows from and embeds this commitment. This means that we should critically question the ways our scholarship, teaching and practice have been shaped and look at ways that the Library is able to contribute.Historically, the voices of Black, Indigenous and other non-White people have been silenced, misrepresented or suppressed. This is the key focus where we can engage with decolonisation across the University. We must also remember to situate our thoughts and actions around this with the intersecting aspects of gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, dis/ability and/or religion.

One Community logo

Everyone in the University can play a part in thinking about these issues – thinking about the sources of knowledge that have been marginalised and drawing on a broader range of voices, ideas, approaches and intellectual perspectives.

The Library is an integral part of this way of thinking. It also goes way beyond adding a few extra texts to a reading list. It is also a different but linked agenda to the work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

To decolonise, not just to diversify, recognises that knowledge is marked by power relations in which straight, white, hetero upper class men, still have disproportinate prominence.

Yinka Shonibare books

From the Library, Hope Williard and Oonagh Monaghan are on the Decolonising steering and working groups. Hope and Claire Arrand are also on the Reimagining Lincolnshire group. Hope and Oonagh have attended various related conferences and events over the last couple of years and recently contributed to the University of Lincoln IMPact Journal which is a peer-reviewed, open access journal. The article ‘Critical reflections and collaborative approaches to the University of Lincoln’s decolonising projects: A library perspective‘ was included as part of a special issue on ‘Race matters: towards and Anti-praxis in higher education’ and was a reflection of the these events and how they have influenced planning and practice for the future in the Library at UoL.

Decoloniality at Lincoln Toolkit

The Library toolkit is designed for everyone in the University community to understand more about decolonisation work. This currently sits under the ‘Learn’ menu of the Library Website but there are plans to highlight this more during the University year.​

Each subject guide should have a section introducing the topic and have specific subject related links.​ and the aim of this is to provide a student friendly introduction to what it means and how it relates to their experience of HE.

There is no simple ‘to do’ list or quick fix to decolonise the Library but we take our starting point from thinking critically about our current practices and policies. Critical librarianship aims to put issues of social justice at the centre of everything we do.

  • What are we doing as part of our equality and diversity practices?
  • Do we represent the lived experiences of the people who work and study in the University and Library?
  • Do we collaborate with our users and enable exploration of the collections in new ways? What does our collection consist of?
  • How do we decide what is in the collection?How can we amplify marginalised voices? How can we challenge the status quo?
If we take action in our policies and interpret and disseminate what is in our collections, more students and staff will be able to understand what decolonisation is and how the Library and it’s engagement with staff and students is instrumental in the wider processes underway in schools and colleges.

Watch this space for the next steps in the Library…..

Intersectionality: Marginally Empowered, Struggles for Accepted Identities 

Dr Zakkiya Khan (they/them)

School of Architecture and the Built Environment 


Photograph of Dr Zakkiya Khan (they/them)
Zakkiya Khan (they/them)

This post is the result of a talk I did for the School of Architecture and the Built Environment as an effort to process my own growing awareness of decolonising education. I wanted to share this process as a reflection and hope that somewhere something may resonate with readers. 

This process began for me with awareness.  

Continue reading “Intersectionality: Marginally Empowered, Struggles for Accepted Identities “

Inside and Beyond the +

By Dr Simon Obendorf
Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Political Sciences, College of Social Science and member of Decolonising@Lincoln Steering Committee.


More information about Simon’s research can be found here: Staff Directory


February in the UK is LGBT+ History Month: a time for reflection, celebration, and activism by and for lesbian, gay, bisexual trans, and non-binary folk. Certainly, there is much to remember, and even more of which we should be rightfully proud. But there is also a growing need to be aware of the challenges facing our communities. The increased prevalence in public discourse of certain forms of intolerance – especially against trans and gender non-conforming people – is something we must be steadfast in resisting. We should not lose sight of the fact that LGBT+ History Month is held in February precisely to commemorate the successful campaign of activism that led to the repeal of the discriminatory Section 28 of the UK’s Local Government Act. Together we are stronger; together we can change our society for the better.

Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives, Critical Interventions contributes to the critical field of queer decolonial studies by demonstrating how sexuality, race, gender and religion intersect transnationally. book
The book in the Library ‘Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives, Critical Interventions’

Recent controversies should also inspire us to remember the importance of solidarity. We must recognise that many people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or gender expressions are marginalised not only by mainstream society but too often within supposedly inclusive LGBT+ spaces as well. In the West, political activism has been reasonably successful in articulating rights claims and carving out spaces for social participation for particular groups of lesbians, gay men, bisexual folk and trans people (the LGBT of the acronym). But we have paid far less attention to intersectional experiences of oppression and the lives and needs of those represented by the supposed catch-all of the “+” in “LGBT+”. This LGBT+ History Month, I’d like us to spend a bit more time thinking about these issues – inside and beyond the plus. Here I am inspired by thinkers from queer of colour scholarship and those seeking to bring decolonial perspectives to bear on issues of gender and sexuality.


So, what might unpacking some of these issues lead us to consider? Firstly, it would involve acknowledging that anyone’s experience of sexuality or gender is shaped by a range of other factors: age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, migrant status, bodily capacity, class, education, location, profession, to name just a handful. For too long, much of our activism, commemoration, politics and practice in the West has centred the experience of white, Western, cis-gendered, non-disabled people. If we are truly to embrace and value diversity in our communities, we have to start by asking ourselves how diverse and inclusive they already are. There are heartening steps being taken here, from programmes combating sexual racism to the development of connections and resources regarding sexuality and gender in, by and for particular faith-based, ethnic or social groups. But more urgently needs to be done in order to make LGBT+ spaces and politics ones in which non-white, non-cis, non-Western and/or non-normative people and bodies see themselves recognised, valued and included. The Black lesbian scholar Audre Lorde famously wrote: “community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretence that these differences do not exist.”


Secondly, this should lead to us think about the stories we tell and the experiences we centre. Whether it be the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969, the election to the Board of Supervisors and subsequent assassination of Harvey Milk in San Francisco in 1977-78, the emergence of the Gay Liberation Front in the Britain of the 1970s or the rise, oppression and rebirth of queer society in Berlin during the 20th century, it can sometimes seem as if the LGBT history we celebrate and remember took place within a handful of postcodes in majority-White, Western cities, with White, cis-gendered gay men as its key actors. If we are truly to remember LGBT+ history, we must ensure that the contribution of women, drag practitioners, trans and non-binary folk and people of colour is never overlooked. To take just one example, when we consider the history of the Stonewall riots we do not celebrate and honour enough the central roles played by people like Marsha P Johnson (a Black gender-non conforming drag queen), Zazu Nova (a Black trans sex worker), Stormé DeLarverie (a butch lesbian drag king) and Sylvia Rivera (a Latinx trans person). The heroes who fought many of the early battles for LGBT+ freedom and inclusion are largely from the communities that are still, currently, under the most attack and experiencing the most oppression. We would better honour their memories by ensuring the inclusion they fought for is extended to everyone today.


Finally, I would like us to be more sensitive to terminology. Those who do not fit into the categories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT), deserve to be spoken of more – and with more respect and recognition. These folk deserve much more than just a “plus”; they are not just an addendum after the main event. Inclusion matters. Here in the UK, we need much greater awareness and sensitivity towards those who live and identify as queer, asexual, aromantic, genderqueer, intersex, non-binary, pansexual, polyamorous, genderfluid or polysexual (and the list could continue!). There’s a wealth of rich, beautiful, fascinating history and experience that we should be celebrating and recognising.


This need for better awareness – and more sensitive language – becomes even more urgent when we widen our view. In their modern, globally circulating form, gay, lesbian, bisexual and even trans identities have emerged from very Western socio-historical experiences. Recently, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) recognised publicly that many of the terms used to describe our communities “are of Western origin, and that, in particular, the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer represent concepts of personal identity that are not universal.” They pointed to the fact that around the world people conceive of their gender and sexualities in different ways, use different terms to describe them and prioritise different things in their gender/sexuality activism. Whether it be gender liminal categories such as the kathoey of Thailand, the hijra of India, the fa’afafine of Samoa, or the two-spirit of indigenous North American cultures, or the new types of identity coalescing around same-gender attraction such as同志 (tongzhi) in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, the varieties of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation – and the terms used to describe them – are as diverse and polyglot as our planet itself. Accordingly, many NGOs and international organisations are now shifting away from using language like LGBT+ to more accurate and inclusive acronyms like SOGIESC (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sexual Characteristics). Groups like the IOM and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) SOGIE Caucus are at the vanguard of making us think more critically and inclusively about the terms we use and how we use them. Roberto Kulpa and Joseli Maria Silva capture some of this in their piece “Decolonizing Queer Epistemologies”: “we need not only to look for ‘non-Western’ examples of the world-wide diversity. Rather, and perhaps foremost, we must reconceptualise our own practices of ‘doing knowledge’”.


This LGBT+ History Month, I encourage you to take some time to consider how those of us in the LGBT community have “done knowledge”. Whose stories have we told? What language and terms have we used? Whose voices, histories, bodies and struggles have been seen to count? Whose identities, politics and futures have been made central. And what – and who – has been overlooked or left out? We have so much to celebrate. But we also have much still to do, so many battles still to fight. Recognising and celebrating the diversity and richness of our communities is a necessary first step towards standing in solidarity with those whose voices have for too long, especially in Western LGBT activism, been marginalised, silenced, or ignored. Celebrating our successes is important. But so too is recognising that new forms of oppression, discrimination and prejudice are emerging within the UK – and elsewhere – today. Similarly, we must acknowledge that, in 2023, the legacy of British colonialism continues to shape understandings, laws and values to do with sexuality and gender in damaging ways around the world. Recognising the depth and diversity of our histories and the plurality of our communities is key to building better futures. And this will require many of us to broaden our view, deepen our understanding and be more ambitious in our goals. As José Esteban Muñoz, challenged us in his book Cruising Utopia: “We must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds”.

Recommended reading


Bakshi, Sandeep, Suhraiya Jivraj, and Silvia Posocco, eds. Decolonizing sexualities: Transnational perspectives, critical interventions. Oxford: Counterpress, 2016.

Channell-Justice, Emily, Feruza et al Decolonizing Queer Experience : Lgbt+ Narratives from Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Ung Loh, Jennifer, and J. Daniel Luther. 2019. Queer Asia : Decolonising and Reimagining Sexuality and Gender. London: Zed Books.

Suparna Bhaskaran Made in India : Decolonizations, Queer Sexualities, Trans/National Projects. 2004. New York ; Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Haritaworn, Jinthana. 2015. Queer Lovers and Hateful Others : Regenerating Violent Times and Places. London: Pluto Press.

Scott Lauria Morgensen Spaces between Us : Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization. 2011. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Horswell, Michael J. 2006. Decolonizing the Sodomite : Queer Tropes of Sexuality in Colonial Andean Culture. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press

Sylvia Rivera: a positive voice in defence of the most vulnerable and marginalised

By Anna Chivers (she/her)

In the past, I have been invited to speak on behalf of the charity Mermaids [link:] at Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) events at the University of Lincoln. So, it was especially meaningful to be asked to speak in my own right at the most recent, student organised TDoR event and vigil, on Sunday 20th November 2022.  On Monday 20th February I have been invited to speak by the University of Lincoln’s student Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Humanities and Heritage School.  Please join me!

LGBTQ+ History Month - An event with Anna Chivers, an artist, carer and former Mermaids volunteer and trustee. - Date of event - Monday 20th February 6-7pm - Location NDH0020 - Funded by College of Arts EDI committee fund. Image of Sylvia zine and "mother of all gay people"
LGBTQ+ History Month event with Anna

The social impact of the COVID pandemic had emphasised the importance of connection, community and solidarity to many of us in the trans including non-binary community, where the isolating effects of prejudice and discrimination are already significant challenges. This has been compounded over recent years in the UK by a growing trend of hostile rhetoric in politics and the media, creating an environment where reported hate crimes and incidents break shameful new records year on year.


Continue reading “Sylvia Rivera: a positive voice in defence of the most vulnerable and marginalised”

The Zine and Queer Self Expression

Jamie Markham (BA History Student)

SEDIC (Humanities and Heritage: Students Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee) Student Representative


This past December, I was given the opportunity to create my own zine (available here on the Library website: Queer Love: An Invisible History) with the workshop that the lovely University of Lincoln staff hosted in the Library. Knowing little about zines, this event allowed me to unravel a rich queer history of self-expression. Much more than a booklet, the zine was a movement, an outlet, and a message to society. One in which allowed LGBTQ+ people to become fiercely visible in the face of oppression. Let me guide you through this rich cultural history as I take you back in time.

Picture of zine Queer Love: An Invisible History by Jamie Markham
Queer Love: An Invisible History by Jamie Markham

Continue reading “The Zine and Queer Self Expression”

Tell’d: A Lincolnshire queer zine for the community

By Lindsay and Louie

Creators and editors of Tell’d


Tell’d is an independently published, queer led zine which curates local queer art, accounts and writing. Our aim is to aid in the communication of local queer people, especially those from isolated areas, something common in Lincolnshire – as well as to provide a source for marginalised local creatives to safely display their work. Our zine celebrates positive representation and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community in a place with few queer spaces and outlets.


Photo of Summer issue of Tell'd zine - new and exciting art and poetry from local queer creatives - on laptop with photo of Library zine collection on the screen.
Tell’d zine – Summer 2022

We are currently working on our 3rd edition. We are so proud or our zine; editions 1 and 2 are full of such wonderful work. People are submitting written accounts, reflections, poems, art and photography – highlighting the wealth of talent from Lincolnshire’s LGBTQ+ community. Furthermore, people are making positive connections with other local creatives, discovering and championing their work. People have also expressed that they have found solace, reassurance and inspiration through engaging with the zine’s content. Tell’d is an outlet for celebrating people’s lived experiences and with this in mind, we are currently applying for funding to produce a book; we want to expand the scope of Tell’d zine, harnessing and exploring the positive response we have had so far.


The book will incorporate all forms of creative expression – as we have seen in the zine so far, but will have more focus on the stories, accounts and experiences of Lincolnshire’s LGBTQ+ community, past and present. This will be a powerful way of documenting queer histories, histories and lived experiences that are very difficult to access in Lincolnshire. To generate a book of these stories would provide a rich resource for LGBTQ+ heritage. It will help people to realise the richness of our county’s social and cultural fabric which will in turn help younger generations and people struggling with their identity/sexuality to feel connected with their peers. This project will help us to understand the social and cultural context of the LGBTQ+ community within different times and spaces.

LGBTQ+ History Month display boards and zine information
LGBTQ+ History Month display boards and zine information

We have had a great response to the initial stages of the book so far. We are calling out for anybody who would like their stories (or artwork) to be a part of this book. We would greatly appreciate this! We are happy to gather these stories by any means – for example, you could email them, send a word doc or we could gather them orally, recording them in an environment which suits you best. If you would like to find out more or have any questions at all, please email us at: or on Instagram/FB @telldzine


And please remember – we are always looking for submissions for our zine – this is an ongoing call out!


Lindsay has been in discussions with Subject Librarian, Oonagh Monaghan about further collaborations including the planning of a Tell’d book, and has featured the current LGBTQ+ History Month display and zines promotion in the next issue of Tell’d which will be available soon!

Queer People ‘Behind the Lens’

By Jemima Sims
Library Assistant in the Main University Library

Founded in 2004, LGBTQIA+ History month is upon us, and the theme is “Behind the Lens”. In February 2023, the UK will celebrate the people behind the scenes of stage and screen, such as costume designers, composers, playwrights, screenwriters, make-up artists and many more. Queer actors and actresses are gaining more visibility than ever, however the people off-screen are often unknown, and their contributions are huge.

Photograph of LGBTQI+ history month display
LGBTQ+ History Month in the main Library

The University Library have put together some social media posts to celebrate these talented and creative people, beginning with some of the most exciting costume designers in history; Adrian, Orry-Kelly and Patricia Field.

Continue reading “Queer People ‘Behind the Lens’”

Holocaust Memorial Day Blog Post 2023: Ordinary People

By Olivia Hennessey (3rd year student, Chair of University of Lincoln’s Students Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee in the School of Humanities and Heritage). Olivia is regional ambassador for The Holocaust Educational Trust

Display in Library
Holocaust Memorial Day in the Library

‘We will continue to do our bit for as long as we can, secure in the knowledge that others will continue to light a candle long after us’- Gena Turgel MBE, survivor of the Holocaust (1923-2018)

Continue reading “Holocaust Memorial Day Blog Post 2023: Ordinary People”

Black History Month 2022

For Black History Month 2022, the Library has two great activities for you to join in with!  Everyone is invited to join in with these events.  

Connected Heritage & Reimagining Lincolnshire: Black History Month Wikithon (in collaboration with the Library) 


Reimagining Lincolnshire: Black History Month Wikithon logo used above was designed by Oonagh Monaghan and features art created by ‘Ccrow Illustration’ (Kes Whyte), University of Lincoln graduate, 2022 and photos from Reimagining Lincolnshire’s collection.


You are invited to learn Wikipedia basics and make some edits to highlight some of the stories and people with connections to Lincolnshire uncovered by the research team at Reimagining Lincolnshire. This event is a part of Wikimedia UK Connected Heritage project, which is funded by DCMS and The National Lottery through The Heritage Fund’s Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.  

Editathons aim to address the underrepresentation of people from the Global South, women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people in Wikipedia entries and among contributors. 

The event will take place on Thursday 20th October 1pm-4.30pm online via Zoom and there will also be email communication before the event for all those registered to make sure attendees are prepared. 

Book on Eventbrite at 


 Book Giveaway!

Selection of donated books for giveaway

The Library will showcase book and film recommendations from staff and students at the University 

Add your nomination for a book or film recommendation to our reading list  by emailing us or tagging us on social media. Include the hashtag #UoLBHM22 and include your reason for nomination. 

Win one of the amazing books donated by Blackwell’s bookshop in the Library. 

Email or tag us on Twitter @LibraryUoL or Instagram @uollibrary 


Get thinking about what books or films have had an impact on you or ideas for books to buy 

  • Is there a book you would like to read but never have? 
  • Is there a new book available that you would like us to purchase so you can read it? 
  • Are there particular texts, authors, films etc that have had a profound influence on you? 
  • Is there a film that you think everyone should see? 
  • Have you felt low or disempowered and been helped by a particular text? 
  • Are there texts that have motivated you to do more or challenge the status quo? 
  • Some texts might be challenging or triggering – let us know if we need to include a warning 
  • Tell us the reason for your choice of book or other resource.