By Joshua Sewell (volunteer in the University Library)
Lincoln Cathedral holds a lot of history for a structure composed mostly of stone and glass, a history that goes back nearly a thousand years. Once the tallest structure in the world and formerly one of the resting places of an original copy of the Magna Carta, the building is no stranger to events and possessions of historical importance. But those stories have been told forever and evermore. What we want to find are those tales that are less well known, but still of high value. One such tale finds its home in the Russell Chantry area of the Cathedral, and its events took place not so long ago. Inside the Chantry can be found a set of murals that adorn the walls and hold a significance that many may not be aware of. The murals have been open to public viewing since 1990, but their existence predates this by more than 3 decades. Here a question of great interest presents itself, why were the murals hidden from public view for all that time?
Happy #LGBTHM22 everyone! If you have picked up some of the books in our library displays, you might have noticed that a number of them are about queer histories. The way these stories are told has changed over time, but a plethora of gender identities and expressions, and experiences of sexuality and identity, are a constant of human history. In other words, queer people have always existed. History books like Sapphistries or The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes depend on a wide array of sources, particularly what historians call primary sources, which are materials–diaries, documents, drawings, and more–made by someone who lived through or experienced a particular time, place or event. Historians often think of primary sources as texts but they aren’t always–comics in a zine like Not Trans Enough could be something historians use to understand the lives and experiences of trans people in the 2010s, in the same way that a Pride flag facemask will be a primary source to a scholar looking back on the 2020s.
During LGBTQI+ History Month, the Library is blogging and sharing resources on social media to further shed light on the content we have which may be of use in research or for general interest purposes. In preparation for this, we conducted a brief survey of our databases and, in particular, I wanted to see if some of our less obvious databases also contained pertinent content on LGBTQI+ subjects and issues.
Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Change takes a long time, but it does happen and that fight for change also needs people behind it to fight for what is right and fair and to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. What we need to avoid, is for the change to be a negative and regressive pulling back of hard fought-for rights.
For 2021, the Library has a great new reading list which includes many new titles that have just arrived in the Library. In addition to new titles, there are also examples of other books and resources which link to the theme ‘Politics in Art: ‘The Arc Is Long’
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
This year’s theme is Politics In Art: ‘The Arc Is Long’ taken from Dr Martin Luther King jnr’s quote “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice”. The community has faced many setbacks over the years and is still striving for full equality. LGBT+ History Month is all about ‘claiming our past, celebrating our present, creating our future’ so when we celebrate it, we should always be mindful that celebration of successes is always situated within the context of ongoing discrimination. There is a continuing fight for equality which needs to be acknowledged. LGBT+ History Month should not be just a performative gesture with a few rainbows and a tweet saying ‘Happy LGBT+ History Month’.
February is LGTBQ+ history month in the UK and library blog is celebrating by featuring posts about resources for exploring LGTBQ+ lives in the past, present, and future. This first post in our series is about one of our online archives. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.
Adam Matthews Explorer (AM Explorer), is one of the library’s newer databases, and contains a huge range of online archives organised around a wide range of themes. Queer histories A collection that might be of particular interest for exploring LGTBQ+ histories in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries centuries is Sex and Sexuality. The archive collects the research papers, notes, and interviews of people who have researched sex, sexual behaviour, sexuality from an academic and medical perspective, such as Alfred Kinsey and Norman Haire; and archival collections which focus on lived experiences of individual people.
Even if you have some experience researching for your studies, working with an online archive can sometimes be overwhelming! There are a range of ways to explore the collection in order to find material you are looking for or interested in. You can search for specific names or keywords–if you are searching for particular words and phrases keep in mind that our vocabulary around sex and sexuality has changed a lot (and continues to do so), so you might find it helpful to take a look at the research tools section for ideas. If you are interested in browsing specific topics, like gender identities or art and literature, there’s a feature that lets you browse by topic. And if you struggle to locate material that is relevant to your research or interests, do contact your subject librarian–we’re here to help!