Events | IMA Event

Taking Pride in the Past': LGBTQ+ Engagement at Museums and Heritage Sites

19 February | 09:30 - 17:30

Ulster University in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces

Taking Pride in the Past': LGBTQ+ Engagement at Museums and Heritage Sites

Clore Learning Centre, Hillsborough Castle & Gardens 

This symposium will explore the ways in which museums and heritage sites can better engage with LGBTQ+ identity and communities.

Using their collections, stories and spaces to reinterpret current practice, we will hear from museum practitioners and academic researchers who have already started on this journey. This research event has been organised by Ulster University in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces.

  • Keynote lecture provided by Prof Richard Sandell, Professor of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
  • Optional LGBTQ+ Tour of Hillsborough Castle at 4pm

Lunch will be provided



 9.30am to 10am 

Registration in Clore Learning Centre 

10am to 10.15am


Dr Christopher Warleigh-Lack (Senior Curator, Historic Royal Palaces) & Professor Elizabeth Crooke (Ulster University) 

10.15am to 11am

Keynote: Prof. Richard Sandell

Professor of Museum Studies at University of Leicester with publications including Museum Activism (2019), Museums, Moralities and Human Rights (2016), Museums, Equality and Social Justice (2012) 

11am to 11.15am 

Break: Tea and Coffee 

11.15am to 12.45pm

Session 1: Reinterpreting and Queering our Collections/Stories

This session will explore the methods through which queer heritage and stories can be uncovered in our collections. Speakers from Historic Royal Palaces, National Gallery of Ireland and National Museum of Ireland will discuss their own experience of developing LGBTQ+ programming and displays at their sites. 

12.45pm to 1.15pm 

Lunch (provided) – Clore Learning Centre 

1.15pm to 1.30pm 

Paul Mullan, Director, National Lottery Heritage Fund NI 

1.30pm t0 2.45pm

Session 2: Collaborating with LGBTQ+ Partners.

By collaborating with LGBTQ+ communities, museums have the capacity and indeed the responsibility to introduce a meaningful practice with the capacity to effect change in the societies they serve. This session will consider how museums and heritage sites can partner with LGBTQ+ organisations in developing a queer practice at their sites and the impact of doing so. 

2.45pm to 3pm 

Break: Tea and Coffee 

3pm to 4pm

LGBTQ+ Interpretation Workshop

This practical workshop will consider the pathways and barriers to LGBTQ+ engagement at museums and heritage sites. The information gathered will contribute to a PhD research project entitled "Queering Northern Ireland's Museums: LGBTQ+ rights, social justice and museum activism in a post-conflict society." It is therefore an entirely optional element of the day and participant permission will be sought in advance. 

4pm to 5.15pm 

LGBTQ+ Tour of Hillsborough Castle (optional)

Research Unit

Music, Drama, Film and Museum Studies

Organising Committee

Kris Reid; Prof Elizabeth Crooke; Dr Philip McDermott; Nuala McGreevy (Learning Producer, Historic Royal Palaces) and Shan McAnena (Public Engagement Manager, Historic Royal Palaces)