conference: 2021

‘Mainstreaming Queerness: The New Queer Vanguard’ Conference

Thur/Fri, 10-11th June, 2021.

With special guest keynote speakers:

Conference Template

We hosted our first conference titled ‘Mainstreaming Queerness: The New Queer Vanguard’ which took place online on 10-11th of June, 2021.

For this online conference, we invited contributions from anyone thinking about queer in new and exciting ways.

As an academic tool, ‘queer’ has traditionally defied definition, acting as a mechanism through which one can disrupt established norms and question conventional understandings that surround us. We saw it crucial for establishing a forum in which individuals can explore queer themes in a rigorous and supportive way.

Most of the conference was recorded and will be released on youtube in September 2021.

Conference outline

The conference focused on interrogating the ways in which ‘queer’ is currently being used. Queer in public spheres has become an identity label as well as being co-opted into institutional spaces to work more as ‘equality and diversity’ and less as a tool for political/social disruption. We heard about how ‘queer’ currently operates, and we examined these further in both academic and public spheres.

On the basis of this broad objective, the conference was organised around several themes that included but were not limited to:

  • The role of history in shaping our contemporary and future understandings of queer
  • Ways of using queer that de-centre Western narratives
  • The co-option of queerness by institutions and states
  • Organising under queer as a term that defies definition
  • The future of queer activism in the time of neoliberalism and hyper-capitalism
  • Rejecting (homo)normativity: new ways of understanding queer
  • The exclusivity of queerness in a more connected society
  • The future of queer


The conference aimed to provide a forum that encouraged international and interdisciplinary dialogue.

Conference Schedule

Thursday 10th June 2021

- Introductory Talk


- Queer Memories Panel 

This panel looked at fragments of queer memory and how we articulate and rediscover the memories that have fallen down the cracks in time.

  • Ben Hammond: 'Opushchennye - Downtrodden': the Importance of Soviet Queerness in our Historical Understanding of the Soviet Union and Ourselves
  • Aleksandra Gajowy: 'Queer/Jewish/Polish? The Queer Ghosts of Muranów'
  • Ada M. Patterson: ...when we come up for air
  • Alice Reed: The Future of Memory: Queer Archives as Radical Praxis
  • Martha Robinson Rhodes: Queer Time in Oral Histories of Bisexuality and Multiple-Gender-Attraction


- Queer Languages Panel

This panel looked at how language allows us to articulate how to be queer and do queerness. It asked questions about the limits of inclusivity and exclusivity in language.

  • Matt Kennedy: Trans Studies Navigating the Academy as Queer Studies' Evil Twin
  • Liam Lewis: 'Eko; Eko; Azarak': Witchcraft, Gibberish and Queer Untranslatability
  • Nastassia Rambarran: Ize Queer: Naming and Claiming in the Caribbean
  • Jeana Moody: Liminalities of Language: Queer Stories that Expose and Disrupt Discursive Constructions of Heteronormativity.
  • Tessel Veneboer: The wrong kind of desire: the queer potential of envy in Kathy Acker’s anti-identitarian project.


- Keynote - Jack Halberstam - 'An Aesthetics of Collapse' 


- Queer Institutions Panel

This panel looked at understanding and redefining normative political and social apparatus that define how we view the world around us. It asked what a queer approach can offer us moving forward.

  • Eli Erlick: Belonging Through Exclusion: Motivations and Struggles of the Transgender Far-Right
  • Alexandra Brown: Black Queer subjectivity and decolonisation within British secondary schools: An invitation to dwell in a constant state of renewal
  • Emma Sheppard: Cripping Queer Futurities
  • Liang-Kai Yu: Racial Marginality at AIDS/Queer Exhibitions


- Sign off


Friday 11th June 2021

- Introduction


- Keynote - Heather Love - 'Historicizing Queer Disruption, Before and After'


- Queer Sex Panel

This panel explored what queer sex is, looks like, feels like and how we can use queer thinking to redefine how we view and understand sex.

  • Alexandra Carina Grolimund: Bridging the consent narrative towards sex-positivity: BDSM as transgressive queer practice
  • Levi Appleton/Tom of Tottenham: Fucking queers. Negotiating BDSM and finding queer intimacy.
  • David Carrillo-Rangel: Before the Dominance: A Queer Killjoy Guide for Activism, Academia and Sex.
  • Patrick (aka Sebastian) Baxter: Manchester Penetrated: Mapping Queer transgressive sex, intimacy & pleasure Through autoethnographic storytelling techniques
  • Ash John: Fucking Against a Gravestone: Cruising and Post-AIDS Sexual Geographies


- Queer Media Panel

This panel asked what are the limits of media and how can we queer/break those boundaries that are often imposed on media creators and consumers.

  • Vítor Blanco Fernández: Rendering Utopia: Queer Worldbuilding Through Avant-Garde 3D Aesthetics
  • Dylan SB: Toward Joy: Utopian Imaginings and Non-Binary Futurity in Arca's "KiCK i"
  • Ryan Montgomery: Drag, Horror, Filth and Glamour: Redefining Realness in the Boulet Brothers' Dragula
  • Masha Godovannaya: Balancing at the edges: experimental filmmaking as a site for queer relationality
  • Morel O’Sullivan: Star-Crossed Others: from the Queer Aesthetics of Space Travel Film to Contemporary Queer World Building


- Queer Spaces Panel

This panel looked at what it means to have queer space, carve out queer space and queer existing spaces.

  • Claire Tunnacliffe: a queer practice of placemaking
  • Suzanne Lenon: The Biopolitics of “Queerly Homesteading”: Pride, Place, and the Politics of Queer in a Small Canadian Prairie City
  • Giulia Casalini: Transnational Queer-feminist Methodologies in Live Art: Examining Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi’s work
  • Cathrin Fischer: Making space for queer joy


- Sign off 

introduction to the conference

This video gives some more details of the conference giving an outline of the questions the conference wanted to ask and an introduction to the organisation from the co-conveners and co-founders of queer/disrupt Hannah Ayres and Nick Cherryman.

Also if you want to check out a particular talk you can click here and it will take you all the talks that were recorded by us. For privacy and confidentiality reasons not all of them have been made available.

reading lists

Here are some suggested readings that were provided by our speakers!


  • Halberstam, Jack (2020) Sex before, after, and against Nature. In: Halberstam, Jack. Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire. Duke University Press: London. 3-32.

Queer Memories

  • Ahmed, Sara (2006) Conclusion: Disorientation and Queer Objects. In: Ahmed, Sara. Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Durham and London: Duke University Press: 157-180.
  • Bond Potter, Claire (2006) Queer Hoover: Sex, Lies, and Political History. Journal of the History of Sexuality,15 (3): 355-381.
  • Halberstam, Jack (2005) Chapter One: Queer Temporality and Postmodern Geographies. In: Halberstam, Jack . In A Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York University Press: 1-21.
  • Essig, Laurie (1999) Queer in Russia, A Story of Sex, Self, and the Other. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Duke University Press. 
  • Evans, Jennifer V.  (2018) ‘Sound, listening and the queer art of history’. Rethinking History22 (1): 25-43.

Queer Languages

  • Bucholtz, M. & Hall, K. (2004). Theorizing Identity in Language and Sexuality Research. Language in Society, 33 (4): 469–515.
  • Hoff Kraemer, Christine (2012) Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Paganism. Religion Compass, 6 (8): 390-401. 
  • Long Chu, Andrea (2018) On Liking Women. [online] Available from: (Accessed 11 May 2021)
  • S. King, Rosamond (2014) Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination. University Press of Florida.
  • Stryker, Susan (2004) Transgender Studies: Queer Theory's Evil Twin. GLQ, 10 (2): 212-215

Queer Institutions

  • Brown, Alexandra (2020) What Has the Murder of George Floyd Revealed About the Internal and External Nature of White Supremacy? [online] Available from: (Accessed 1st June 2021).
  • Cuboniks, L (2018) The Xenofeminist Manifesto: A Politics for Alienation. Verso.
  • Rao, Rahul (2020) Spectres of Colonialism. In: Rao, Rahul. Out of Time. Oxford University Press: 107-135.
  • Reilly, Maura (2018) Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating. Thames and Hudson. In particular, check out pages 159-165!
  • Spade, Dean (2020) Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next). Verso.

Queer Sex

  • Esteban Muñoz, José (2009) Ghosts of Public Sex: Utopian Longings, Queer Memories. In: Esteban Muñoz, José. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: NY University Press: 33-48 
  • Karat, Toni (2019) FAGDYKE CRUISING [online]. Germany. Available from: (Accessed 27 May 2021).
  • Motta, Carlos (2014) Towards a Homoerotic Historiography. [online] Available from: (Accessed 17 May 2021).
  • Weait, Matthew (1996) Fleshing It Out. In: Bently, Lionel & Flynn, Leo. eds. Law and the Senses. Pluto Press.
  • Woods, Gregory (2016) Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World. London: Yale Uni Press.

Queer Media

  • Amin, Kadji, Jamilla Musser, Amber & Pérez, Roy (2017) Queer Form: Aesthetics, Race, and the Violences of the SocialASAP/Journal, 2 (2): 227-239.
  • Esteban Muñoz, José (2009) Introduction: Feeling Utopia. In: Esteban Muñoz, José. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: NY University Press: 1-18.
  • Kristeva, Julia (1982) Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. S. Roudiez, Leon (trans.) New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Oman-Reagan, Michael (2015) Queering Outer Space. [online] Available from: (Accessed 11 May 2021).
  • Rocha, Jara y Femke Snelting (2017) The Possible Bodies Inventory: dis-orientation and its aftermath. InMaterial,(3): 43-60.
  • Simpkins, Reese (2017) Temporal Flesh, Material BecomingsSomatechnics, 7 (1): 124-141. 

Queer Space

  • Ekine, Sokari & Abbas, Hakima. eds. (2013) Queer African Reader. Oxon: Pampazuka Press.
  • Gieseking, Jen Jack (2020) A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbian, Dykes and Queers. New York City Press. 
  • Lorde, Audre (2007) Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. In: Lorde, Audre. Sister Outside: Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press: 87-91.
  • Smith, Malinda & Fatima, Jaffer. eds. (2012) Beyond the Queer Alphabet: Conversations. In: Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality. University of Alberta: Teaching Equity Matters E-Book Series.  
  • Walcott, Rinaldo (2019) The End of Diversity. Public Culture, 31 (2): 393-408.

Spotify playlist

We asked all of our speakers to suggest songs that they wanted to share to create a conference playlist. We have a wonderfully diverse selection of music below, which hopefully captures the myriad voices and thought coming together at this conference.

Spotify is free to register with if you don't have an account, otherwise you can see the list below and listen to it on whatever platform you choose.