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LGBTQ+ History Month

Join The Higgins Bedford for LGBT+ History Month February 2024


Join us for our annual LGBT+ History Month celebrations. This year there will be a display in the foyer and events in partnership with the Queer Craftivism Collective and ELFT Rainbow Bedfordshire steering group. Come and enjoy a range of activities and inspiring talks throughout the month. Keep an eye on our website and social media for up-to-date details.

#RainbowBedfordshire strives to actively challenge stigma and loneliness by informing best practices through training, increasing visibility and social inclusion, and through building LGBTQ+/ally networks.


Stephen BourneDr. Cecil Belfield Clarke

4 February 2:30pm

Stephen Bourne talks about Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke: A Family Doctor and British Civil Rights Campaigner

Stephen Bourne will give an illustrated talk about Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke (1894-1970) who took care of the working-class community of London's Elephant and Castle from 1920 to 1965. In spite of heavy bombardment, he kept his doctor's surgery open all through the 1940/41 Blitz . A Cambridge graduate, Belfield Clarke was not only a trailblazer in the field of medicine, but an active campaigner in the Black British civil rights movement. For many years he shared a home with his partner Edward Walter. Stephen has written about Dr Belfield Clarke in Under Fire - Black Britain in Wartime 1939-45 (The History Press, 2020). For further information about Stephen's books go to


Saturday 24th February 2024

LGBT+ History Month Festival 

The Higgins Bedford, Barbican Studio

11am Welcome from Lydia Saul on Under the Scope theme

11.10 ­– 11.50am Alex Baird from University of Bedfordshire 'Que(e)rying Leadership on a LGBTQ+ Leadership Development Programme for UK Higher Education (HE) staff'

11.50 – 12noon break

12 – 1.30pm Poetry workshop with Katie O’Pray

1.30 – 2.15pm Lunch

2.15 – 3.15pm Redefining Green in the Rainbow: Exploring Queerness in Nature by Sian Hodgkinson in partnership with Recovery College Voice Box

3.15 – 3.30pm break

3.30pm – 4.45pm Drama workshop with Ollie Thoupos

4.45 – 4.50pm Sum up of the day

4.55pm go on to Green Earth Café for evening drinks and Open Mic Variety performance with Jan. Light sandwich refreshments 5 – 6.30pm, 6.30pm – 8pm performance.


Our speakers:

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Alex Baird – University of Bedfordshire

'Que(e)rying Leadership on a LGBTQ+ Leadership Development Programme for UK Higher Education (HE) staff'

The connections between LGBTQ+ lives and leadership are not always explicitly made by LGBTQ+ individuals nor are LGBTQ+ leaders’ capital always recognised by others. Despite LGBTQ+ leaders navigating a rather distinct leadership path, often without LGBTQ+ mentorship, there is currently no LGBTQ+ leadership development programme offered by Advance HE. This highlights the significance of a leadership development programme that ran for LGBTQ+ academic and professional staff in one post-1992 university from Sept 2022 to May 2023. Recognising the potential to query leadership in UK HE, I accessed the programme as an ‘insider’ of the LGBTQ+ population, an ‘outsider’ of the host university, and a ‘participating observer’. By reframing leadership, this research helps to make LGBTQ+ leaders’ leadership intelligible and makes leadership more accessible and pertinent to LGBTQ+ staff. Significantly, it offers an alternative leadership that appears to be relevant to the challenging landscape of UK HE and offers some resistance to the negative pressures and bearings of neoliberalism. This research may also guide future leadership development programmes in order to attract, retain, and progress LGBTQ+ talent.



Katie O’Pray – Poetry Workshop

In this workshop, we will spend time reading poems together, having a chat about them and starting to write our own. With support from award-winning queer poet, Katie O’Pray, we will take inspiration from contemporary LGBTQ+ writers and experiment with writing prompts in a friendly, relaxed environment. Whether you are an avid writer or consider yourself a novice, this is an opportunity for us to enjoy poetry and community, without judgement. 




Ollie Thoupos Drama Workshop

In this interactive workshop with Ollie Thoupos (He/Xe) we will explore celebration of LGBT history and queer existence through playful and theatrical collaboration! No experience is necessary, this is a chance to channel your favourite lgbt celebrity, work with costumes, props, movement, and text.  With guided games, discussion, and exercises, we aim to create an expressive space, pushing binaries and queering concepts.



Siân Hodgkinson

Join us to discover how queerness exists within nature. Explore the diversity of sex, sexuality (and gender?) among other species, from plants to fungi, fish to mammals. Learn how our understanding of the natural world has been shaped by those who have studied it, and how the field of queer ecology challenges heteronormative assumptions within nature.”