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Sue Lemos

PhD Research

'Pioneers of Our Own Future': Historicising the Black lesbian and gay movement in Late Twentieth Century Britain

Supervisor: Dr Laura Schwartz. Previously co-supervised by Dr Meleisa Ono-George

My PhD project aims to illuminate what was termed the 'Black lesbian and gay movement', as well as its antecedents and shifts in late twentieth century Britain (c. 1970s-1990s). This work situates itself within community historical production and draws on oral history methodologies to productively trouble the role of the 'academic historian'. It will seek to analyse queer Black historical actors, politics, kinship and community formations in late twentieth century Britain within trajectories of Black politics,'gay liberation', the women's movement, trans politics and queer politics.

In what ways did queer Black people form communities in late twentieth century Britain? How did queer Black people reconfigure the 'political'? How was the political signifier of 'Black' used to articulate solidarity and kinship between queer Black people and other marginalised people? And more generally, how does 'queer Black British history' allow us to tell an 'alternative story' of queer politics and the African Diaspora in Britain?

Academic Background

2020 - present, PhD History, University of Warwick

2019 - 2020, MA Social Science Research (Economic and Social History), University of Warwick

  • Dissertation: 'For ourselves, by ourselves': Historicising 'queer Black and Brown' solidarity in the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre (Project), 1985-1995

2014 - 2018, BA History, University of Warwick

  • Dissertation: Sisterhood and its Fragments: The Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent
  • Study Abroad: Northern Arizona University
    • Independent Project: 'Liberation disciplines' in the Neoliberal University

Awards & Prizes

Olivette Otele Prize, Institute of Historical Research, 2021

MA Dissertation Prize, History Department, University of Warwick, 2019-2020

ESRC (1+3) Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship, 2019-2023


October 2021, History Matters Presents: 2nd New Perspectives on the History of African and Caribbean People in Britain Conference

  • 'Feeling a strength in numbers': The London Black Lesbian and Gay Centre (Project), 1985-1995

September 2018, 3rd Annual Black Feminism, Womanism and the Politics of Women of Colour in Europe Conference, Berlin, Germany

  • Black Sisterhood and its Fragments: The Organisation of Women of Asian and African Descent

June 2018, Social History Society Conference

  • History & Diversity Plenary Panel (invited by Dr Meleisa Ono-George to co-present)

Public Engagement

Volunteer, Haringey Vanguard, 2018-2021

  • December 2019, ‘An Intergenerational Dialogue: Uncovering the Black Lesbian Movement in Britain’, Provoke: 17th Annual History and Archives Conference, London Metropolitan Archives

Volunteer, Young Historians Project, 2018-2019

  • November 2019, ‘The Young Historians Project’, Sociology in the Archives: Black and Asian Activism by and for young people Workshop, The British Library