Tuesday, 8 February 2011

welcome to the blog

Welcome to my little blog. As the name suggests I hope to make this blog about and instructive to my forthcoming dissertation on Sheffield's gay history. Let me tell you a bit about me and why I am undertaking this project. I am originally from Beverley, near Hull, and I came to Sheffield in 2000 to study the History of Art, Design and Film at Sheffield Hallam University. In 2007 I joined Out Aloud, Sheffield's only LGBT choir and loved it! It wasn't long before I found myself on the organising committee for the local pride event. There hadn't been a pride event so far in Sheffield, and so working on the event was great, as we had a blank canvas almost to create the event we wanted to see. The first Sheffield Pride was in 2008 (officially called South Yorkshire Pride) and for that I co-ordinated a community tent with workshops and activities, and helped with some fundraising nights along the way. I stayed on the committee for the next event in 2009, again running the community tent and acting as treasurer too. Work on the Pride events was a huge amount of fun, and even more hard work. In September 2009 I started the MA I am currently on now, in History, Local and the Global.

Being involved in the gay community of Sheffield on the Pride Committee way started me thinking about the nature of the gay community here in Sheffield. It has always seemed odd to me that we never have had many gay bars in town, and the ones that we do have are spread out, some of them right out of the city centre. Comparing this to local places such as Leeds and Manchester, where the gay bars are close to one another and seem very close knit, made me wonder about the history of Sheffield's gay community, and how the members of this community interacted with one another in the past. A workshop by the Sheffield Archives staff about Sheffield's gay history made me even more intrigued. There seems to be very little material and evidence of what Sheffield's gay community has been like during the 20th Century. We know of course, of Edward Carpenter who lived near Sheffield with his partner, and are lucky to have so many records of his life and his literary works. However, after Carpenter, came a gap in the records of the local archives. My project aims to fill this gap, and to delve into where people met, who they talked to and had relationships with, how they coped with the prejudice and discrimination of the times and what kept them going.

So if you have memories of living in Sheffield as a gay person, please feel free to share them on the blog, and contact me if you would like to take part in the project.

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