History of Art


Provost's Public Engagement Award

28 May 2019

The department is pleased to congratulate Professor Bob Mills, who has been awarded a Provost's Public Engagement Award (Established Career category).

Bob Mills leading Hide and Seek Tour

Professor Bob Mills is the recipient of a Provost's Public Engagement Award for organising Hide & Seek, a walking tour of Bloomsbury in London that showcases the people and places that have contributed to the area’s rich and diverse LGBTQ+ heritage.

Bob Mills and Provost Michael Arthur

Bob developed the Hide & Seek project, an innovative walking tour of Bloomsbury designed to throw light on the peoples and places that have contributed to the area’s rich and diverse LGBTQ+ heritage. Bob devised the itinerary, format, content and publicity materials. He also recruited, coordinated and trained a group of LGBTQ volunteer guides to recount stories and anecdotes connected with specific locations along the route. The format proved very popular and the walks were a 'sell out' success, being reprised three times in 2018.
The walks started with a talk delivered by Bob where he reflected on UCL's own LGBTQ+ histories. Walkers were then issued with route maps, and set off on a ‘queer’ exploration of the neighbourhood. Walkers encountered a diversity of voices and perspectives on the tour and were encouraged to share their own stories. He is currently working with UCL Urban Laboratory to turn Hide & Seek into an audio tour with additional content, potentially also collaborating with Ramble London based in UCL Geography.
This project grew from Bob’s significant and sustained public engagement in the field of LGBTQ histories and equalities. Highlights include organising Art + Activism: Queer and Feminist Visibilities, a conference featuring a line-up composed mainly of artists, performers, activists and curators; advising on a history display and trail at the British Museum; participating in the steering group for the ‘Pride of Place’ project on England's LGBTQ heritage, launched by Historic England; and giving numerous public talks at festivals and events programmes, several of which have been successful online (including the most watched UCL Lunch Hour Lecture on YouTube, with more than 1.2 million views to date.)

You can read more about the Provost's Public Engagement Awards here, and you can also watch a brief video about the Hide & Seek tour via YouTube