National award for Queer Heritage and Collections Network

Professor Richard Sandell at Kingston Lacy, a National Trust property in Dorset.

A partnership supporting museums and heritage bodies to reveal and publicly present LGBTQ+ histories – of which the University of Leicester is a founding member – has won a prestigious national award.

The Queer Heritage and Collections Network, led by five founding partners – the University’s Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG), Historic Royal Palaces, Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust – was named Partnership of the Year at the annual Museums + Heritage Awards on Thursday.

The Network, project-managed by Rachael Lennon and Dan Vo and financially supported by the Art Fund and National Lottery Heritage Fund, provides peer support for people working with LGBTQ+ collections and histories and now has 75 member organisations across the UK.

Awarding the prize in an online ceremony to the RCMG on behalf of the Queer Heritage and Collections Network, host Samira Ahmed commended the Network for “helping to ensure diverse voices are at the table and representation and inclusion are embedded at the core of all activity”. The group, she added, is “the definition of effective collaboration”. 

Professor Richard Sandell, Co-Director of the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, said: “This award is especially welcome at this crucial moment for the sector. Although there has been growing interest in revealing and presenting queer histories, many organisations still find this work challenging.

“Importantly, the Network provides support to take forward new thinking and practice, and recognition from the Museum + Heritage Awards 2021 gives all of us involved in this work the impetus and encouragement to move forward in bold and exciting ways.”

One of the RCMG’s collaborative projects with the National Trust, Prejudice and Pride, was previously recognised for its major contribution to advancing LGBTQ+ equality and respect with a Pink News Award.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “All of us at the University are very proud of this recognition, driven by the hard work and dedication of the team in our Research Centre for Museums and Galleries.

“Queer history is an important part of our shared history and heritage, and so it is crucial that partnership such as this continues to provide support and other opportunities for researchers studying chapters of our past that will also help inform our future.” 

Find out more about the Queer Heritage and Collections Network on the RCMG webpages.