Lots of new activity has started for the Speak Out staff and volunteers. Selection of exhibition documents is due to start next month and, with the creation of the website happening over the next few months, our intern, Josie, has been digitising as much of LMA’s LGBTQ+ collections as she can. Once uploaded, these will constitute an enormous range of material which anyone will be able to access.
However, the way in which archives can display their collections is governed by copyright laws. Some collections are owned by LMA, so we can go ahead and scan these to our heart’s content. However, others are simply deposited with us, which means that we have to be very careful in our selections of which bits what we can and cannot use.
Because of this, I’ve been taking the opportunity to explore the Rukus! archive. Rukus! is a unique resource at LMA: a collection which brings together historical, cultural, and artistic documents which capture the experience of black LGBTQ+ people living in the UK. Whilst the archive contains the records of Rukus! itself, it also contains the property of individuals who have contributed their personal records to Rukus! These people include the Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay, an openly gay Nigerian pastor whose interests lie in reconciling spirituality and sexuality; Linda Bellos, ex-politician, businesswoman, and gay rights activist; and American poet and activist Essex Hemphill (among many others).
We can’t wait to share these collections with you, but in the meantime here are some images to show you what you can expect.