Last Saturday ourÂ annual Diversity Week culminated in an exciting creative writing workshop inspired by LGBT history.
This workshop provided a fascinating insight into the ways archival material can be used creatively.Â ItÂ was facilitated by Evlynn Sharp, who worked previously with The National Archives and HMP Lewes on the Unlocked Reflections project.
The creative workshop used both facsimiles and originals of archival material to inspireÂ creative writing. The event had a safe, comfortable space for sharing our writing, and we usedÂ the documents and group discussion to prompt our thoughts. This was followed by time for free writing, which is continued writing on the page without stopping.
The line up
First, we looked at police photos of people in Billie’s Club in Soho, after a raid byÂ plain clothed police officers inÂ 1937; they wereÂ charged with being a â€˜disorderly houseâ€™. At this time, homosexual sex between men was illegal.
Though it is a criminal record,Â we discussed how itÂ still gives an insight into what it might have been like on the gay social scene at this time. It illustrates the risks involved, but also the fun that could be had.
Two images from a previous raid (CRIM 1/387) particularly evoked a creative response. These images detail the defendants Robert Carre Britt, Constance Berg, Charles (alias Lowhurst) Anderson, James Weir and others. Their charge: keeping a disorderly house.