Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Gay pride adds colour to inaugural professorial lecture

November 21, 2012

Gay pride adds colour to inaugural professorial lecture

It was billed as not your usual inaugural professorial lecture, and Professor Lynda Johnston’s free public lecture at the University of Waikato last night [Tuesday November 20] certainly lived up to expectations.

About 200 people came to hear Professor Johnston speak about how gay pride parades and festivals transform the usually taken-for-granted heterosexual spaces of cities.

Her inaugural professorial lecture also featured drag queens and colourful feather boas, and at the end the audience was invited up onto the stage to join the University’s senior executives for a group performance of the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The audience had been invited to “dress fabulously”, and acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor David Lumsden, who introduced Professor Johnston’s lecture, noted that although some in the audience could have tried harder, academic regalia – consisting of a gown, hood and mortaboard traditionally worn at formal academic events -- was gay enough as it is.

In her lecture entitled “Proud people and places or just more Riff Raff? The spatial politics of Gay Pride”, Professor Johnston said she’d chosen to come to the University of Waikato as a PhD student because of its history of radical, feminist, Marxist, post-colonial and Māori scholarship.

After completing her doctorate she spend three years lecturing at Edinburgh University, before returning to Waikato as a lecturer in geography and tourism studies with a research focus on the links between place, gender and sexual identities.

Her public lecture started with examples of two Hamilton monuments – the Farming Family and the Riff Raff statue. Riff Raff, she said, queers the streets of Hamilton. “It challenges the view that public monuments should be heteronormative.”

She also spoke about the experience of participating in gay pride festivals in Sydney, Edinburgh and Hamilton, and the importance for the queer community of appropriating the streets and challenging the complacency of heterosexual norms.

“Festivals are still politically important expressions of identity,” she said. “My research has found that participants often feel a mix of pride and shame, and sometimes fear of the reception they might get from the public. Feeling in or out of place – what might be called geographies of belonging.”

Professor Johnston discussed the debate surrounding the Auckland Hero parade, which was first held in 1994 and is due to be revived next year, and also talked about last year’s Hamilton’s Gay Pride festival.

“We rubbed up against the Rugby World Cup which led to a clash of cultures. This created geographies of not belonging, but also some fabulous PR opportunities. I was interviewed on Radio New Zealand National after the city council refused to allow us to hang our rainbow knitting on Victoria Bridge, although we were in the end allowed to drape it on the Riff Raff statue.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Kiwi Pride: Accolades For Film About Man Who Falls In Love With A Stick

A short animated film written and directed by New Zealand born Matthew Darragh has been selected for the Courts des îles, International Festival of Short Fiction Films. More>>

ALSO:

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Foo Fighters: Exclusive Show In Support Of Music Foundation

Frontier Touring has today announced that the Foo Fighters will play a last minute intimate and exclusive benefit show at the Auckland Town Hall this Friday February 20 with all profits going to The New Zealand Music Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Celia Lashlie: Legacy Will Live On

Social justice advocate Celia Lashlie leaves a legacy that will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of New Zealanders for years to come, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Celia was a powerful voice for reason, sense and compassion. Her work, particularly with teenage boys, was ground-breaking." More>>

ALSO:

Obituary: Sad Farewell To PPTA Activist Robin Duff

Duff has been a long-time fixture of the association... Most recently Duff has been working hard to support Canterbury teachers through the quakes that devastated the region. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news