Lucy Robinson
Arts and Humanities, Film and Music Production
Material Type:
Adult Education
  • Documentary
  • LGBT History
  • Queerama
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

    Queerama and Documenting Queer Stories

    Queerama and Documenting Queer Stories


    This is the third open educational resource inspired by the Daisy Asquith's film Queerama (2017).  Queerama marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offenses Act, which partially decriminalized private homosexual acts in England and Wales. The documentary was created from footage from the BFI National Archive and captures the relationships, desires, fears and expressions of gay men and women. You can follow the three learning blocks in order or pick and choose. This OER produced under a CC-BY license.


    This is designed to help users apply knowledge from the first and second resource through their engagement with Queerama and to invite them to think about the ways in which documentaries construct narratives.

    This step can help us think about how viewers imagine author/directorial motivation and how film makers talk about their own projects.

    Daisy Asquith in Conversation with Simon McCallum at the BFI


    Documenting Change

    The first part of the task is designed to encourage users to think about how historical change is representated in documentary and to see documentary making as another form of story telling

    The second task is designed to encourage users to think about the different ways that those stories might be told,

    In this part of the task we will think about how social and legal change has been explained by historians.  Is the history of queer Britain a slow evolution? is it marked by sudden change and ruptures? who is seen as the driving force for change? is it governments and politicians, media and culture or people themselves.

    You might find it useful to listen to the lecture on the Gay Sixties and the implications of the different ways that the subject have been explained. (apologies for the current very poor sound quality - you will need to turn up the sound after the initial footage)

    Lucy Robinson: Gay Liberation

    •How does Queerama relate popular culture to social or legal change?

    This step is designed to explore the signficance of invididual archival footage in combination with each other and to think about how moments or images combine to produce bigger narratives (or stories)

    •Select a short clip 1-2 minutes from Queerama. Or look at the BFI's introduction to its series marking the anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, Gross Indecency.

    BFI Gross Indecency


    Here is the list of all of the films used in Queerama. How many of them do you recognise?

    Queerama Film List


    Can you identify the different archival footage used? How else could it have been edited to tell a different story. If you had free reign (not permissions or rights involved) what footage would you include to tell your own story?

    •The BBC collection of footage relating to Gay History might inspire you 

    Building a Queer Canon

    This is designed to encourage the user to build on their understanding of the relationship between individual and collective stories to think about individual and collective representations. It might also be interesting to think about whether there can be such a thing as a 'queer canon'.

    Compare some collections of queer history documentaries. 

    •How do they fit together? Which films or types of evidence are privileged and why?  Do some stories get told more than others? How could we build a queer cannon (and are there any issues with this)?

    How could you edit clips of these different collections together to build your own story? You could even draw out storyboard of which parts of which films you might use.