17 June 2023, 14:00 — 15:30
Sean Burns
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Dorothy Towers, 2023, Sean Burns. Courtesy the artist.

Join us for a screening of Sean Burns’s film Dorothy Towers and a panel discussion with Candice Nembhard and Lynsey Hanley on the themes of the work: architecture, community and histories of HIV/AIDS.

Dorothy Towers is the story of the legendary Clydesdale and Cleveland Towers, two residential blocks in the centre of Birmingham, UK. Completed in 1971 as a social housing development and located next to the city’s Gay Village, the towers’ proximity to the community means they have long been a haven for LGBTQ+ people.

The 31-minute, 16mm film reflects on the complex relationship between architecture, community and memory. It features testimonials from current and past residents and explores ideas of queer kinship and inheritance alongside experiences of HIV in the 1980s and ’90s. Dorothy Towers frames the buildings through a history that extends back to the city’s postwar redevelopment via its modernist underpasses and nightclubs.

Born in Birmingham and having spent his formative teenage years in its queer communities, Burns has been developing this project in dialogue with local people for over two years.

The screening will start at 14:00, with the panel discussion starting shortly after it ends.

Tickets are £5.00, with all proceeds donated to Positive East.

This event is presented in partnership with Edinburgh Arts Festival and The Museum of the Home, London.

Sean Burns is an artist and writer. He is the director of the film Dorothy Towers and the co-founder of QSP, an independent publishing imprint. He lives in London, where he is an assistant editor of frieze.

Candice Nembhard (okcandice) is a writer, artist-curator, archivist and musician between Birmingham and Berlin. They are the founder of all fruits ripe, a series for queer, Black/Global Majority filmmakers, and founder of Portals, a digital archive for British West Indians. Candice is currently a Jerwood Arts Curatorial Fellow and previously an Obsidian Foundation fellow. Elsewhere they host Must Be The Music on Refuge Worldwide and Bedtime Stories on Cashmere Radio.

Lynsey Hanley was born in Birmingham and lives in Liverpool. She is the author of ESTATES: AN INTIMATE HISTORY (Granta, 2007) and RESPECTABLE: THE EXPERIENCE OF CLASS (Penguin, 2016), and writes for The Guardian and Financial Times. She regularly makes programmes for BBC radio, including two major series on housing: Streets Apart (Radio 4, 2017) and A Home of Our Own (Radio 4, 2021).