The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bartlett Research Conversations: Ryan Kearney

22 November 2022, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Birmingham Gay Community Centre

MPhil/PhD student Ryan Kearney discusses his research into the history of queer venues across Birmingham in the years between the advent of the gay liberation movement and the peak of the AIDS crisis, exploring the need for social space and how local nuances impact sites differently.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





The Bartlett School of Architecture


Room G12
22 Gordon Street
United Kingdom

Queer Space Archive: Tracing Birmingham’s LGBTQ+ Venues from Memory, 1966-1987


The endurance of LGBTQ+ venues demonstrates the continuing need for social space. UK-based LGBTQ+ historical studies, however, centre primarily on London. In response, this research collaborates with narrators across Birmingham to define how local nuances impact sites differently. It employs interviews and participatory drawing to co-produce an archive of no longer existing venues including bars, clubs, and community centres from 1966 to 1987, a period bookended by gay liberation and the peak of the AIDS crisis.

While this research draws from existing archival sources, it contributes new approaches to the eliciting potential of buildings – or, how drawings of space act as points of departure for describing not-yet-recorded experiences or memories. These drawings form diagrams from which narrators can expand on individual experience and help to trace a multi-layered history of space and how it is used and remembered in shared but conflicting ways.


Prof. Ben Campkin and Dr. Rebecca Jennings

Guest Panellist

Professor Alison Oram - Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, and Professor Emerita at Leeds Beckett University

About The Bartlett Research Conversations

The Bartlett School of Architecture’s Research Conversations seminars comprise work-in-progress and upgrade presentations by students undertaking the Architectural Design MPhil/PhD and Architectural and Urban History and Theory MPhil/PhD. All current UCL staff and students are welcome to attend.

Held regularly throughout the academic year, the seminars are attended by the programme directors, Professor Jonathan Hill and Professor Sophia Psarra, PhD Coordinators, Dr. Nina Vollenbröker and Dr Sophie Read, and other PhD supervisors.

Image: Birmingham Gay Community Centre. Courtesy Ryan Kearney.