UCL Alumni


Queer Infrastructures and Special Relationships: LGBT Activism and Urbanism in the Global City

24 June 2021, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

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The UCL New York Alumni Club presents this talk and Q&A with UCL Urban Laboratory Co-Director and Bartlett School of Architecture Professor, Ben Campkin, plus special guest speaker, Dr Sheldon Applewhite, Associate Professor of Sociology at The City University of New York.

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How have movements for LGBTQ+ rights and equality connected with the governance of cities? How do these populations, and the venues and neighbourhoods they identify with, feature in urban planning and development? Why do mayors march in Pride parades?

New York native Dr Sheldon Applewhite, Associate Professor of Sociology at CUNY-BMCC, will open by sharing insights about the importance of visibility and community. Harlem resident Sheldon will also touch on his research into HIV prevention and the challenges faced by LGBT of colour populations.

Ben Campkin, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism at UCL, will then further explore these questions, looking at the case of London through the scholarship on gay movements, urban change and ‘queer space’ that has developed internationally across numerous disciplines over the past 60 years.

Using case studies of queer spaces, Ben will bring out connections between scholarship, culture and activism between the US and the UK. He will argue that that individual venues are networked into an adaptive and transnational infrastructure that shifts according to changing frontiers in the politics of gender and sexuality, generational priorities, and institutional socio-economic drivers for diversity.

The Coronavirus pandemic has intensified threats to the survival of cultural venues, especially independent ones and night-time scenes. With this in mind, the lecture will highlight how radical queer spaces, and the practices of urbanism and culture they foster, facilitate utopian imagination, helping to confront local and global challenges, and creating affirmative places for exchange across geographical, political and social divides.

Thursday 24 June, 12pm-1pm EDT | 9am-10am PDT | 5pm-6pm BST

About the Speakers

Professor Ben Campkin

at Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

Photo of Ben Campkin
Ben Campkin is Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism in The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London and Co-Director of UCL’s transdisciplinary Urban Laboratory. He is the author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (2013), which won the 2015 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Foundation Award, co-editor of Urban Pamphleteer, and co-editor of Sexuality and Gender at Home: Experience, Politics, Transgression (2017).

Dr Sheldon Applewhite

Associate Professor of Sociology at The City University of New York (CUNY-BMCC)

Photo of Sheldon Applewhite
Sheldon Applewhite PhD.  is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Social Sciences & Human Services Department.  Dr. Applewhite earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from Howard University in 2006.  His specializations are urban and medical sociology.   Dr. Applewhite joined the faculty of BMCC in 2010.  Professor Applewhite currently teaches courses in sociology including  Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of Health & Illness, Health Problems in Urban Communities, Race & Ethnicity, and The Black Man in Contemporary Society.  A native New Yorker, who attended NYC public schools, His current work focuses on health disparities among racial and ethnic groups and health issues of the LGBTQ of color populations.  His current research primarily focuses on HIV prevention strategies for same-sex couples, PrEP prevention strategies among same sex couples and young gay men of color, and HIV prevention among young black gay men, and the COVID-19 crisis and community college students.   He has also contributed to the Grio Webzine, AM New York, and the Amsterdam News