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What does LGBTQ+ inclusivity mean to UCL Culture?

UCL Culture10 March 2022

UCL Culture is a multidisciplinary team committed to connecting the world with UCL. We use our collections, museums, theatre and most importantly our people and know-how to mobilise the UCL community, inspiring them to engage people with their research and their research with people.

We know that unless we are inclusive of everyone, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, then we are failing both the UCL community and the wider communities of which we are a part. We also know that “being inclusive” is an active not a passive state of being, and that we, as a department, need constantly to challenge our own thinking and actions, and those of others.

Fundamentally, we want to reaffirm UCL Culture’s commitment to challenging our own thinking and actions on inclusivity – and to ask others to challenge us. Below are some of the current projects we are involved with in support of our LGBTQ+ colleagues and communities. We are also launching an open call for future projects that continue and strengthen this support.

Current projects

  • Supporting an informative exhibition on trans lives, led by UCL’s Trans Network, to be displayed in the Cloisters and other locations at UCL around Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) 31 March 2022. The display will use lived experience from members of UCL past and present to explain what being transgender does and doesn’t mean.
  • Writing Trans Lives, enabled by a UCL Culture Beacon Bursary, recently brought together aspiring and established trans and non-binary writers through workshops, a public reading and the published anthology ‘Transcribed’. The established writers provided practical advice and developed aspiring writers’ expertise and experience in writing their own narratives.
  • LGBTQ+-led non-profit organisation QUEERCIRCLE are partnering with UCL Engagement on the evaluation of their new LGBTQ+ health and wellbeing programme. QUEERCIRCLE will host a diverse programme supporting LGBTQ+ artists and offering community participation opportunities, and UCL Culture will provide evaluation expertise, including a new trainee role specifically for a person from the LGBTQ+ and Black/Asian/Minority Ethnic community.
  • Co-Production Collective recently published a response to UCL’s decision not to rejoin Stonewall’s diversity schemes, reaffirming their commitment to inclusivity at UCL and in their work with external co-production partners. This response also invited audiences to share thoughts on how Co-Production Collective can support the trans community and champion inclusion and challenge discrimination more widely.
  • UCL Culture EDI Committee acts to advance and embed equity and inclusion in UCL Culture ways of working across all areas of our activity.

Future projects

  • Do you have an idea for a UCL Culture exhibition, workshop, talk, live experience, or other public activity that supports, empowers or champions LGBTQ+ communities, at UCL and beyond?
  • Has one of the projects above inspired to you respond, or take an idea further?

Whatever stage your plans are at, we invite you to book onto an online Programming and Exhibitions Drop-in session where you can discuss a proposal with a member of our team.

Please book into one of our regular sessions here: https://calendly.com/chrisjwebb/programmes-exhibitions-drop-in

We look forward to hearing from you!

Meanderings in the Vault

Martine Rouleau24 November 2016

Vault artist in residence Kara Chin and Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick from the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis introduce a screening of Magnetic Rose, a Japanese animé that follows four space travelers who are drawn into an abandoned spaceship that contains a world created by one woman’s memories, alongside It’s a Good Life, an episode of the Twilight Zone television series.

h - Version 2

This double programme started with an exchange between Kara and Martin about themes found in science, urban planning, art, films and other cultural productions. The essence of this discussion can be found here. Kara Chin is hosting a screening of the Japanese animé Paprika, also discussed here, on the evening of the 29th of November.

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The Slade Rock Room Takeover – ‘Poison’

Nick J Booth5 May 2016

For the past three years MA sculpture students from the Slade School of Fine Art have been involved in an experiment creating work influenced by the Rock Room, the Geology Collections and the Earth Science Department here at UCL. Every year the resultant one day pop-up event has been totally different from the last, you can read about previous events here and here. This year marks the fourth instalment of the project, and the last in the Rock Room’s current home.

The Rock Room Slade Takeover will be open to the public between 12.30 – 4pm on Friday 13th May, while special selection of museum objects and books from UCL Special Collections will be on display between 1 – 2 on Wednesday 11th.

Slade - art works in the mineral display.

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This year’s theme is ‘poison’, which came about as a result of a separate student led pop-up earlier in the year. For the first time this year’s take over will be preceded by a workshop in the Rock Room on the Wednesday before, with the aim of  bringing together researchers, staff and students around the ‘poison’ theme.

Slade - art work in the Rock Room.

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Specimen of the Week 231: Common Pipistrelle

tcrnrh118 March 2016

In case you haven’t heard, it’s UCL BAT WEEK! So it seems appropriate that this week’s Specimen of the Week is a small nocturnal friend of ours… the common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus).

Photograph of the fluid specimen, Pipistrellus pipistrellus

POW! It’s not the famous crimefighter this time, it’s the common pipistrelle. LDUCZ-Z2603 Pipistrellus pipistrellus

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Bentham the feminist?

Nick J Booth3 March 2016

Recently I was helping an artist, Kristina Clackson Bonnington, with some research into the collections I look after. Kristina is working on an event for this year’s International Women’s Day, and is starting to plan for the centenary of women getting the vote in the UK (2018). While discussing her project I thought it would be interesting to see what Jeremy Bentham’s thoughts on women’s rights were. I’m very pleased to say that he had some modern sounding ideas…

As with all my questions relating to Bentham’s life and works my first port of call was the friendly people at the Bentham Project. Their initiative ‘Transcribe Bentham’ is working to publish all of Bentham’s manuscripts and is finding now information all the time. One recent manuscript they sent me is pictured below, and rather wonderfully shows Bentham arguing for the use of gender neutral pronouns.

Bentham Manuscript - Courtesy of UCL Special Collections.

Bentham Manuscript – Courtesy of UCL Special Collections.

When both sexes are meant to be intended, employ
not the word man– but the word person

26 When both sexes intended employ person not man

Let it be understood that when the word person is
thus employed he the pronoun masculine includes the female
sex as well as the male (more…)

Safe drinking water in Mexico: a project by EWB-UCL

Nick J Booth28 January 2016

On Friday 5th February the student society Engineers Without Borders UCL will be hosting a special event in the Rock Room focusing on one of their successful projects. Between 12.30 – 4.30pm members of the society will be on hand to talk to visitors, who will also get the opportunity to inspect museum specimens from the Grant Museum, UCL Art Museum and UCL Geology Collections which relate to the subject of their project – providing safe drinking water to a rural community in Mexico whose drinking water was contaminated with fluoride and arsenic.

Arsenic Sample. Photo from Wikipedia.

Arsenic Sample.
Photo from Wikipedia.

UCL Engineers Without Borders’ mission is to ‘facilitate human development through sharing engineering and technical expertise in the developing world’. It is open to everyone to join, not just those with an engineering background and in 2014-15 it was involved in nine development projects across the world.

I met the society’s president, Gabriela May Lagunes, last summer at UCL’s Spark Fest, (more…)

A UCL Museums Murder Mystery

Dean W Veall25 August 2015

Dean Veall here. UCL Museums, comprising of UCL Art Museum, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and the Teaching and Research Collections and us, teamed up for an evening of dark noir, intrigue and subterfuge in celebration of Museums at Night 2015. A crime had been committed on campus and with prizes to be won we invited visitors to solve this museum murder mystery.

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The Great Grant Knit-a-Thon

Dean W Veall18 August 2015

12 hours in the Museum knitting – why – I hear you ask? Dean Veall here and another installment of Museum Events. As part of the Strange Creatures: The art of unknown animals exhibition events series we decided to run an event that took inspiration from co-curator Sarah Wade’s research, and the display of artist Ruth Marshall’s knitted skin of a Thylacine. We set the knitters of London the challenge of knitting some of the strange creatures from our collection. Visitors could bring their own knitting needles to ‘stitch one purl one’ for an hour over lunch or come after work and join in over a glass of wine.

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Games at the Grant

Dean W Veall11 August 2015

Dean Veall here. I bring you the second of our Museum Events blog series. How do you turn research ideas into participatory gaming activities? This was the challenge we set ourselves in a Grant Museum and Public Engagement Unit collaboration. We invited participants to shuffle their cards and roll a dice to win on this night of fun and fierce competition. UCL researchers inspired by their research art, language and literature and the Museum’s collection were the games masters for this very special games night. (more…)

Looking at Strange Creatures Seminar Day

Dean W Veall4 August 2015

Dean Veall here. Following on from the first blog in the series, Why do museums bother running events?, I’ thought I would work backward highlighting some of our events from the last year presenting them as case studies in an effort to better understand why we here at Team Grant bother running events. Many of our readers are fellow museum peoplpe and I thought our blog would be perfect space to share some of our practice, the lessons I’ve learnt as a practitioner in museum event programming as well as a more permenant record of the event.

The seminar day was the penultimate event of the series accompanying our Strange Creatures exhibition. Throughout the series we offered visitors the opportunity to engage with some of the themes of the exhibition through various different event formats from our open mic night Animal Showoff and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo film night, to straight up lecture, DINOSAURS! of Victorian London. The seminar was a foray into a programmed series of talks that offered a more academic take on the world of animal representation. It included perspectives of art from the historical to the contemporary with some zoology thrown in for good measure.

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