Late capitalism has produced British cities with a decline in industry, massive socioeconomic inequalities and an environment that is more hospitable to business than it is to human lives. Reflecting on the ways in which queer lives offer possibilities of resisting this bleak status quo, this panel considers queer lives that use the city as a springboard for ways of living that resist the lifecycles of capitalism, offering hope in an otherwise cataclysmic political landscape.
Including speakers Mo Moulton, Ajamu X, Yshee Black and Lacey Alexandria.
Mo Moulton is a queer writer, a historian of the twentieth century, and an extremely-privileged migrant to this island. They work at the University of Birmingham's History Department and have published widely on subjects ranging from agricultural cooperatives to detective fiction.
The self-proclaimed Alison Hammond of drag – Yshee Black – is loud, bubbly and always up for a laugh & known for her high energy performances. She hosts a lip-sync competition in Birmingham called “The Church of Yshee” that she started in 2017. On top of hosting and producing events around the UK, she hosts the Popbuzz Year Book that interviews the alumni of Canada’s Drag Race, Drag Race down under and Drag Race UK Series 2 & 3. Currently, she is working in London with Tuckshop on various projects such as The Crown drag competition and the West End Drag Panto “Dick Whittington”.
Ajamu X (aka Master Aaab) is a darkroom/fine art, neurodivergent photographer, archive curator and radical sex activist. His practice incorporates portraits, nudes and studio-based constructed imagery which unapologetically celebrates black queer bodies, the erotic, pleasure and difference. His work has been shown worldwide in museums, galleries, and alternative spaces. He is the co-founder of rukus! Federation and the award-winning rukus! Black LGBTQ Archive. He is one of the UK’s leading black queer heritage, history, and cultural memory specialists. Most recently, he has co-founded Spit & Spider Press, an alternative publishing venture focusing on the radical materiality of the book.
Lacey Lou is a freelance event manager, visual artist and advocate for Diversity & Inclusivity. She began as one of Birmingham’s first female drag queens 8 years ago and has worked ever since to create a more inclusive community within Birminghams LGBTQ+ village and surrounding areas. One of her most proud achievements was working on the amendment of the dictionary definition of ‘Drag Queen’ to be gender inclusive. Lacey also began running inclusive events, which are still running including ‘Glitter Shit’, ‘Disco Pussy’, ‘Hooker Club’ and newly launched ‘Hu$$y’. Some of these events have been featured in Dazed and Confused Magazine, Teen Vogue and were part of Red Bulls Top LGBTQ+ events to attend in the UK.
The Living Room Talks
Based loosely on the eighteenth-century French salon, the Living Room invites you in. Recognising the exclusivity of the salon, and its associations with heteronormativity, whiteness, and elitism, The Living Room instead seeks to promote the voices and experiences of LGBTQ+ folk, first nations/indigenous people, and QTIPOC. Reflecting on some of the themes that have informed the programming and artistic work of the Healing Gardens of Bab, the Living Room invites you in for conversations with local and international artists, activists and queer icons. We hope to see you in the Living Room for a brew and a chat soon!
The Living Room talks have been conceived by Hassan Hussain and Patrick Vernon.