Conversation | Eothen Stearn (with Maggie McKeown, Roy Robertson and Louise Williams)

6.30pm, Tuesday 3 May, 2022

Lothian Health Services Archive @ Talbot Rice Gallery
Courtesy of Lothian Health Services Archive, Edinburgh University Library

Eothen Stearn’s new body of work explores the HIV epidemic in Edinburgh through objects from the Lothian Health Service Archive and ongoing interviews with people who lived through it. For this informal group discussion Eothen will be joined by archivist Louise Williams, who has spent many years working with these materials, and two of the people featured in the interviews: Maggie McKeown, one of the founders of JOY, once Edinburgh’s biggest LGBTQIA+ club nights, and Roy Robertson, Professor of Addiction Medicine and GP. We will discuss Eothen’s development of the work and how it contributes to an ongoing enquiry into the contrasting practices of care and state policing of queer communities, whilst expanding this history through the experiences and expertise of the other participants.

The materials in the archive reflect the multifaceted impact of the epidemic, including maps of the safe spaces set up to support the gay, lesbian and bisexual community in Edinburgh, campaigns to destigmatise H.I.V. and the referendum on Clause 28, a bill established by Thatcher’s government to prohibit the ‘promotion of homosexuality’. As with the interviews, the conversation will animate these historical events through first-hand accounts of grief, kinship, resilience and solidarity.

The gallery will be open between 5.30pm and 6.30pm for those wishing to see the exhibition.

Click here to read more about Eothen Stearn. 

Talbot Rice Gallery
View on map