SYMPOSIUM | Shame on You: Theorising shame, pride and community in contemporary culture

Rainbow bag over head

09 Feb 2018

10am to 7pm

Shame on You is a day-long symposium that draws together performance artists, psychoanalysis academics and novelists to discuss shame, sexuality and identity. Focusing on the experiences of socially marginalised groups, our conversations will cover shame/pride movements within LGBTQ communities, the persistent shaming of female bodies and combatting of female sexuality, and the role that class, state and power should play when theoretically mapping the internal dynamics of shame.

The symposium will address questions such as:

What are the connections of visibility to pride and shame?
How do the intersections of race and class shape notions of shame and pride?
What aspects of homosexuality are rendered silent by pride and how can shame address dissident gender identities?
Are male and female bodies inscribed with shame differently?
Why is female sexuality still a dominant source of shame in our communities?
Are pride movements the best means of combatting the shame experienced by marginalised groups?

Confirmed contributors
Katy Baird
Stephanie Bird
Rose Boyt
Ford Hickson
Johanna Linsley
Martin O'Brien
Susie Orbach
Victoria Sin
Matthew Todd

More TBA!


Students £6
Full Price £8

Booking essential.

As part of the symposium we will host an aural presentation by Shame Chorus, a research project made in collaboration with the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the Freud Museum and Susie Orbach and funded by Arts Council England.

Convened by Jordan McKenzie (CCW) and Akosua Bonsu (UCL).
This event is presented by the Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon Graduate School Public Programme.
Project partner: Fringe Centre, University College London.

Let us know you're attending on our Facebook event page. 



Pre-order a signed copy of Susie Orbach’s latest title In Therapy at a special symposium price of £5.

To buy your copy CLICK HERE.

Sales close on Sunday 4 February.
Note that books are only available for pre-order and will not be on sale on the day.

Contributor biographies:

Katy Baird is an artist, curator and producer of Live Art. As an artist Katy has performed at Live Art festivals and venues as well as squat parties, clubs and raves. Her recent solo performance Workshy, a show about work and the things we do for money, has toured internationally to over 30 cities. Since 2016 she has been artist in residence at queer club night Knickerbocker. As a Curator she co-produces Steakhouse Live, a DIY platform for radical performance practices. It’s rough. It’s raw. Unprofessionalism is embraced. Work cuts across performance art, theatre, visual art, cabaret, sculpture, dance, drag and participatory performance. Katy has also worked with a number of artists supporting their practices by assisting with the development of existing and future works. Katy previously worked as Coordinator at the Live Art Development Agency from 2012--2017.

Stephanie Bird is Professor of German Studies at University College London. She has published on topics ranging from the interaction of fact and fiction in the biographical novel, the relationship of female and national identity, and the representation and ethics of shame. As Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded project ‘The Reverberations of War’ she worked on a comparative study exploring the significance of the comical in German-language cultural representations of suffering. Her latest book, Comedy and Trauma in Germany and Austria after 1945: The Inner Side of Mourning, analyses how the comical interrogates the expectations and ethics of representing suffering and trauma. It does so by integrating a critique of dominant paradigms, such as that of trauma and of victim identity. She is currently working on an AHRC-funded interdisciplinary project on the representation of perpetrators of Nazi violence, with a particular emphasis on questions of justice. Within this wider project she is working on a corpus which has as a key character the figure of a Nazi disguised as a Jew.

Rose Boyt is the author of three novels, Sexual Intercourse, Rose and How’s Your Father. As a child she lived on a ship taking cargoes round Scandinavia and the Caribbean. She attended a foundation course at Central School of Art and studied English at UCL. In the eighties she ran clubs and worked as a DJ in Soho. A big photographic project is in progress and she is working on a fourth novel. She was born in London where she now lives and works.

Ford Hickson is Assistant Professor, Department of Social & Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Ford worked at Terrence Higgins Trust and Frontliners in the late 1980s. He joined Sigma Research in 1990, and the team is now based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Ford has spent the last twenty five years researching patterns of sex between men, particularly with reference to HIV transmission. Between 1997 and 2008 he led the design of the National Gay Men’s Sex Survey and was centrally involved in the European MSM Internet Survey in 2010 and 2017. In 1998 he co-authored the national HIV prevention strategy for gay and bisexual men (Making It Count) with a group of community health promoters, which was subsequently adopted by the Department of Health. Ford's doctoral thesis was on Authority, HIV and Sex between men in England. He has co-authored over 50 peer reviewed journal articles and a book, as well as numerous monographs and several book chapters. He holds a Bsc in Psychology and a BA in Opera Studies.

Johanna Linsley is an artist, writer and producer. Her work is iterative, research-based and focused on performance. It often results in projects with multiple versions or outcomes. Current interests include documentation, procedure, listening (especially eavesdropping), queer domesticity, collaboration, and formations of the public. An interest in the Zspeculative and fantastical underlies this work. Johanna is part of the London-based live art team I’m With You, which investigates queerness, domesticity, private life and public space. She is also a founding partner of UnionDocs, a centre for documentary art in Brooklyn, New York. Johanna is a researcher on the Wellcome Trust-funded project ‘Challenging Archives’ at the Theatre Collection Live Art Archives at the University of Bristol. She received a PhD in performance studies from Queen Mary, University of London, and also studied at Smith College.

Martin O’Brien's work considers existence with a severe chronic illness within our contemporary situation. Martin suffers from cystic fibrosis and his practice uses physical endurance, hardship and pain based practices to challenge common representations of illness and examine what it means to be born with a life threatening disease. His work is an act of resistance to illness, an attempt at claiming agency and a celebration of his body. Martin loves his body and his work is a form of sufferance in order to survive. Martin has been commissioned and funded by the Live Art Development Agency, Arts Council England, Arts Catalyst, Midlands Art Centre, DaDaFest, Spill Festival of Performance, and the British Council. Martin received a PhD from the University of Reading and his work has received critical attention in publications such as Contemporary Theatre Review and the book Access All Areas: Live Art and Disability. He co-edited, with Gianna Bouchard, a special edition of the journal Performance Research ‘On Medicine’ and is a lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London. The first book about his work will be published in 2016 by the Live Art Development Agency.

Susie Orbach is a psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, writer and social critic. She is the founder of the Women's Therapy Centre of London, a former Guardian columnist and visiting professor at the London School of Economics and the author of a number of books including What Do Women Want, On Eating, Hunger Strike, The Impossibility of Sex, Bodies - which won the Women in Psychology Prize - and the international bestseller Fat is a Feminist Issue, which has sold well over a million copies. The New York Times said, 'She is probably the most famous psychotherapist to have set up couch in Britain since Sigmund Freud'. She lives in London and lectures extensively worldwide.

Victoria Sin is an artist using speculative fiction within performance, moving image, writing, and print to interrupt normative processes of desire, identification, and objectification. Victoria was born in Toronto Canada and currently lives in London UK. They received an MA in Print at the Royal College of Art and their BFA at Camberwell College of Art. Recent presentations include Glitch Feminism, ICA, London (2017); Tenderflix 2017, The Royal College of Art Gorvy Theatre, London (2017); Mount Florida Screenings, GoMA, Glasgow (2017); TATE EXCHANGE: GENDER TALKS, Tate Modern, London (2017); ON & OFF, Poyectos Medellin Gallery, Mexico City (2017); The Conch, South London Gallery, London (2017); Edinburgh Artists' Moving Image Festival, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2016); Dream Babes, Auto Italia, London (2016); The Ingram Collection Bodies!, The Lightbox, Woking, (2016).

Matthew Todd is a writer, broadcaster and performer. He was editor of Attitude magazine between 2008 and 2016 where he was awarded Stonewall Journalist of the Year 2011, British Society of Magazine editors Men’s Brand Editor 2011 & 2015 and Scoop of the Year 2016 after Prince William appeared on the cover. His play Blowing Whistles was called ‘the brightest gay play in ages’ by and played in London and Australia. His first book Straight Jacket has been described as ‘utterly brilliant’ by Owen Jones in the Guardian and as ‘an essential read for every gay person on the planet’ by Sir Elton John. It was shortlisted for the Polari Prize and was voted Boyz Best LGBT Book of the Year 2017. He has presented a short film on BBC Newsnight, hosted ‘Matthew Todd and Friends’ at the Soho Theatre and appeared in the Radio 4 play ‘How Success Ruined Me’.

Photograph by Christa Holka.