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Photo: Summer Sexuality School

Queer Dialogues: Manchester’s Sexuality Summer School

On 20th May, the University of Manchester will welcome international guests including academics, artists and activists, to their Sexuality Summer School. This year, a course of public lectures and events held over five days across the city will create a dynamic conversation around the theme of Queer Dialogues.

The school is held by the University’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures and is chaired by Professor Jackie Stacey. The summer school was founded in 2008 and has brought multiple aspects of Manchester’s thriving culture scene together to create a celebration of diversity and inclusivity. 

American performance artist Dan Fishback said of his experience at the Summer School in 2018, “I think it speaks really well of this programme that it’s bringing academics and practicing artists… into a really generative mix.”

The events are open and accessible to anyone, with many of the lectures free and unticketed. However, for the events that are ticketed, students get a fantastic discount – typical prices range from £3 to £5. This includes the opportunity to see some internationally famous scholars and artists on stage in Manchester.

Highlights of the summer school include a comedy performance written and performed by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, cleverly named Retro(per)spective. The legendary lesbian feminist company Split Britches revisit their best works over the past three decades in a hilarious double act performance. Their show proves that their work remains as vitally relevant as ever. It will surely be a side splitting, and warmly nostalgic evening.

Closing the event is a conversation between Cheddar Gorgeous and Kate O’Donnell chaired by Superbia’s Greg Thorpe. Cheddar; the international drag superstar and Kate; the founder of the UK’s first transgender-led theatre company TransCreative, will discuss what trans and drag have meant to them both personally and professionally. The talk promises to provoke interesting debate over the history of both trans and drag, and provide a fascinating look across both their colourful and impressive careers. Both of which have spanned Manchester and beyond.

Other highlights include a talk given by Madhavi Menon on sexuality and gender in India, with a focus on her well-known novel Infinite Variety: A History Of Desire in India and a symposium for the influential intellect Eve Sedgwick.

Events Schedule

20th May:

  1. A Conversation with Elizabeth Freeman @ Ellen Wilkinson Building, 12:00 pm. Opening of SSS 2019, Freeman in conversation with Jackie Stacey. No ticket required (free).
  2. Dial(ogue) D for Dyke Disruption @HOMEmcr, 18:30-20:00. Part of HOME’s ‘Celebrating Women in Global Cinema’ series. Tickets = £6 full price / £5 concession.

21st May:

  1. Split Britches: Retro(per)spective @ Martin Harris Centre, 19:00-20:30. Lesbian feminist company Split Britches revisit over three decades of work in their comedic and accessible production. Tickets = £12 full price / £6 concession / £3 student.

22nd May:

  1. Eve Sedgwick Symposium @ Martin Harris Centre, 10:00 – 17:00: Dialogues on Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s A Dialogue on Love. 19:00-21:00: Evening roundtable. No ticket required (free).
  2. Split Britches: Retro(per)spective @ Martin Harris Centre, 19:00-20:30. Lesbian feminist company Split Britches revisit over three decades of work in their comedic and accessible production. Tickets = £12 full price / £6 concession / £3 student.

23rd May:

  1. Madhavi Menon: The History of Desire in India @ Martin Harris Centre, 17:30-19:00. Madhavi Menon speaks publicly on her research into India’s queer history and about her book, Infinite Variety: A History Of Desire in India. No ticket required (free).
  2. The Hidden Pin Up @ Samuel Alexander Building, 19:15-20:00. House of Ghetto team up with artist Gemma Parker to look at the fetishisation of the black female body, from the hidden history of the pin up girl to the legacy of racial stereotypes still found in modern day life. No ticket required (free).

24th May:

  1. Cheddar Gorgeous & Kate O’Donnell: A Queer Dialogue @ HOMEmcr, 18:30-20:00. ‘A queer dialogue on trans and drag’ in the final SSS event. Tickets = £5 full price / £4 concession.

The official website for the Sexuality Summer School can be found here.

Tags: cheddar gorgeous, comedy, drag, Gender, kate odonnell, lecture, Manchester, sexuality, split britches, Summer School

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