CANCELLED Lecture by Holly Hughes

** Please note: This lecture was unfortunately cancelled on account of the social distancing required by the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope to reschedule the event at a later date**

We are pleased to announce that the acclaimed artist and scholar Holly Hughes will be IHSS Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Sexual Cultures Research Group at SED in from 20-30 March 2020.

Professor Hughes will present a public lecture on the evening of 26 March, which I hope you can attend. The lecture is entitled “INDELIBLE: Performing Feminism in the Age of Trump“.

Date:                    Thursday 26 March 2020
Time:                   18.00-20.00
Venue:                 PP2 Lecture Theatre in the People’s Palace (next to the Queen’s Building) on Mile End Road

Booking:            Click here to visit the Eventbrite page

FREE. All welcome.

Holly Hughes is a Professor in the School of Art and Design and Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. She is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning performance artist, playwright and performance scholar whose work maps the troubled faultlines of North American identity. Her combination of poetic imagery and political satire has earned her extensive critical attention since the 1980s, especially since her controversial role at the heart of the US ‘culture wars’ of the early 1990s, when she became known as one of the ‘NEA Four’ (with Karen Finley, Tim Miller and John Fleck) after the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) rescinded on an offer of an arts grant in 1990 on account of pressure from conservative political and religious lobbyists. The ensuing scandal (involving a landmark court case against the NEA in 1993) raised the profile of critical debates surrounding the feminist ‘Sex Wars’, HIV/AIDS, free speech and the rise of neoconservatism.

Hughes has performed at venues across the US and Canada, Europe and Australia including the Walker Art Center, the Wexner Center, the Guggenheim Museum, the Yale Repertory, London’s Drill Hall, and numerous universities. She is the author of Clit Notes: A Sapphic Sampler (1996); and she is the co-editor of O Solo Homo: The New Queer Performance (with David Román, 1998), Memories of the Revolution: The First Ten Years of the WOW Café (with Carmelita Tropicana, 2015) and Animal Acts: Performing Species Today (with Una Chaudhuri, 2014). Hughes has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

Holly Hughes

Photo by Lisa Guido

CANCELLED An Evening with Sheree Rose (SexCult x LADA)

** Please note: This lecture was unfortunately cancelled on account of the social distancing required by the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope to reschedule the event at a later date**

The Live Art Development Agency  (LADA) and the Sexual Cultures Research Group at Queen Mary (aka SexCult) are delighted to present an evening  with the legendary performance artist, photographer and dominatrix Sheree Rose (US).

Rose is a pioneering body artist who became infamous during the 1980s as an artist and dominatrix for her collaborations with partner Bob Flanagan. Together they explored illness, love, death and pain for sixteen years until his death from cystic fibrosis in 1996. Their collaborative performances, photographic works, videos and installations are well known for their physical and emotional extremity.

In more recent years, Sheree Rose has made a number of collaborative performances with Martin O’Brien, an artist whose work draws upon his own experience of cystic fibrosis, and whose practice explores what it means – politically and philosophically – to be born with a life-shortening disease.

The evening features Sheree Rose in conversation with Martin O’Brien (QMUL SED), and hosted by Dominic Johnson (SexCult).

When: 2 April 2020, 7pm—9pm
Where: Live Art Development Agency, The Garrett Centre, 117A Mansford Street, London, E2 6LX
Booking: Free to attend, but booking is essential

An Evening with Sheree Rose is co-sponsored with the Sexual Cultures Research Group (aka SexCult) in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London. Supported by generous funding from the SED Strategic Research Initiative.


About LADA
The Live Art Development Agency is a ‘Centre for Live Art’: a knowledge centre, a production centre for programmes and publications, a research centre setting artists and ideas in motion, and an online centre for digital experimentation, representation and dissemination.

We support contemporary culture’s most radical and inventive artists, practices and ideas. We champion new ways of working, legitimise unclassifiable artforms, record untold histories, and give agency to underrepresented artists. We believe in Live Art as a means to challenge the status quo and initiate meaningful social change.

LADA’s space is wheelchair accessible and has gender inclusive bathrooms. LADA welcomes parents to attend with children, and humans to attend with companion species. We operate a policy of reasonable adjustment with regard to access requirements. Please get in touch with us to discuss this.


Saleem Haddad with Nadia Atia


Novelist and filmmaker Saleem Haddad in conversation with Dr. Nadia Atia

Tuesday 12 November 2019

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM GMT (Add to Calendar)

QMUL ArtsOne Lecture Theatre
Mile End Road, London E1 4NS (View Map)

Free. All welcome. Booking essential.

Saleem Haddad was born in Kuwait City to an Iraqi-German mother and a Palestinian-Lebanese father. His first novel, Guapa, published in 2016, was awarded a Stonewall Honour and won the 2017 Polari First Book Prize. His short stories have been published in a number of anthologies, including most recently in the Palestinian science fiction anthology “Palestine +100”. Haddad was also selected as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers of 2016 by Foreign Policy Magazine. His directorial debut, Marco, premiered in March 2019 and was nominated for the Iris Prize for Best British Short. He is currently based in Lisbon.

Saleem will be in conversation with Nadia Atia (QMUL). There will be an opportunity to buy copies of Guapa, which Saleem is happy to sign on the day.

Artist Talk by CASSILS

Artist Talk

Tuesday 1 October, 6pm.

Part of the Sexual Cultures Research Group series of public events in the School of English and Drama
Queen Mary University of London

The event is FREE to attend but booking is essential. All welcome.

The lecture takes place in ArtsOne Lecture Theatre, which is located in the ArtsOne Building in the Mile End Campus of Queen Mary University of London. The lecture will be followed by a wine reception with the artist.

Kindly supported by Wellcome Collection and Queen Mary. In association with the launch of Being Human, a new permanent exhibition of art about trust, identity and health at Wellcome Collection, London.

CASSILS is a visual artist working in live performance, film, sound, sculpture and photography. Listed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art,” Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, and gay male aesthetics, Cassils forges a series of powerfully trained bodies for different performative purposes. It is with sweat, blood and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique around ideologies and histories. 

Caption: Cassils, Alchemized, 2017. 30 x 30 inches, Plexi Face Mount. Photo (c) Cassils with Robin Black

Lecture by Lisa Downing on Female Narcissism

The Sexual Cultures Research Group is pleased to announce a public lecture by Prof. Lisa Downing titled “How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways…. On Female Narcissism, a Problem in the Psy Sciences.”

Thursday 30 November 2017, 5.30-7pm.
ArtsTwo Film and Drama Studio, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS

All welcome. No bookings taken. FREE. Refreshments served.

Abstract. Throughout the history of the psy sciences, there has been very little theorisation of, or published clinical data on, female manifestations of excessive selfishness, self-regard, or self-absorption — i.e. those traits that are pathologised in medical discourse as “narcissism”. Accounts that do exist are often characterised by contradictions, paradoxes and traces of gender bias. In the foundational texts of psychoanalysis, for example, we have Freud’s formulation of the re-routing of “inappropriate” primary female auto-eroticism into a more “properly feminine” secondary narcissism via motherhood and the pride a woman takes in her children. In the American psychiatric tradition, it is notable that there is a lower incidence rate of female patients diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), characterised by grandiosity and an egoistic lack of empathy. Where instances of female NPD are discussed in the literature, it is usually in the context of the deleterious effects of female narcissism on the nurturing of children (echoing Freud’s preoccupation with adult women as mothers rather than as selves). Throughout examples that cross national, linguistic, and historical boundaries, psy discourses appear to refuse to recognise exaggerated manifestations of female self-regard. My contention in this paper is that the shortage of scholarly consideration of narcissism in women is a facet of a larger cultural phenomenon in which women’s relationship with the whole concept of self is imagined differently from that of men, and is problematised. The material in this paper is part of a book project I am undertaking which considers the cultural, political, philosophical, and psychological meanings of female selfishness in the modern period.

Lisa Downing is Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality at the University of Birmingham, and the author of Desiring the Dead: Necrophilia and Nineteenth-Century French Literature (2003), The Subject of Murder: Gender, Exceptionality, and the Modern Killer (2013), and Fuckology (with Iain Morland and Nikki Sullivan, 2014) among other books.

#QMSexCult @QMULsed

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Queer Use: A lecture by Sara Ahmed

The Sexual Cultures Research Group is pleased to announce our third event, a public lecture by Sara Ahmed.

Wednesday 17 May 2017, 6pm.
ArtsTwo Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS

All welcome. No bookings taken. FREE. Refreshments served.

Sara Ahmed’s talk is entitled Queer Use:

The lecture draws from my current research into “the uses of use.” In this lecture I reflect on the gap between the intended function of an object and how an object is used as a gap with a queer potential. I do not simply affirm that potential, but offer instead an account of how institutional and sexual cultures are built to enable some uses more than others. Small acts of use are the building block of habit: use can build walls as well as worlds. To bring out the queerness of use requires a world-dismantling effort; to queer use is to make usage into a crisis.

Sara Ahmed is a feminist writer, scholar, and activist. She is the author of Living a Feminist Life, Willful Subjects, On Being Included, The Promise of Happiness, and Queer Phenomenology.

Ahmed poster

Lecture by David Getsy

Please join us for a public lecture by Professor David Getsy, the HSS Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Department of Drama at Queen Mary. It is the second event organised by Sexual Cultures Research Group

Title: ‘The Emotional Nature of the Number of Inches Between: Body Language, Sexuality, and Affectual Transfer in Scott Burton’s Behavior Tableaux of the 1970s’

26 April 2017, 6pm to 8pm
Arts Lecture Theatre, ArtsOne Building
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Campus, London E1 4NS

The lecture is FREE to attend. No booking. The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

David Getsy is the Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His books include Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender (2015); Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965-1975 (2012); Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture (2010); and, most recently, the collection of artists’ writings, Queer, for the Whitechapel Gallery’s ‘Documents of Contemporary Art’ book series (2016). His current major projects focus on queer and genderqueer performance art in the 1970s.


Throughout the 1970s, the artist-critic Scott Burton developed a mode of performance art that was unique amongst his peers. Called the Behavior Tableaux, these works participated in debates about theater’s role in contemporary art and were developed as a critical response to Minimalist art.  Performed at such venues as the Whitney Museum, Documenta, and the Guggenheim, the Behavior Tableaux fused elements of sculpture, theater, dance, and painting.  They catalogued scenes of interpersonal power dynamics and presented exchanges of desire, dominance, aggression, shame, and submission.  Burton developed these works from his study of the cybernetic literature on body language as well as his participatory observation of coded queer non-verbal communication, whether that be street cruising or in gay bathhouses.  This lecture will track the trilogy of Behavior Tableaux Burton created between 1972 and 1980 and discuss the ways in which sexuality became crucial to this critical response to the art theory supporting Minimalist sculpture and to this major contribution to the development of performance art in the 1970s.  In particular, a central question will be how Burton’s work was designed to transfer affect from performer to audience by manipulating the situation of viewing these silent, hour-long, and slowly moving performances. These works demonstrate how queer experience and politics became central to the definitions of postminimalism and, in Burton’s longer history, to public art.

David Getsy poster.jpg