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Dissertation Medal Winner 2020

Cesspits of Filth: Queer Vernaculars in West Yorkshire 1975 -1985

Part 2 Dissertation 2020
Lizzie Osborne
University of Huddersfield | UK
Cesspits of Filth is a speculative project that studies the history of Huddersfield's iconic 80's gay club. Once described as 'The Studio 54 of The North', The Gemini was shut down in 1983 following a series of raids, being branded as a 'Cesspit of sexual filth' from the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police. Reflecting on the visceral and traumatic impact of police brutality and surveillance of queer spaces, intertwined with the AID's Crisis, this dissertation aims to challenge our concepts of vernacular histories and spaces of survival.

Cesspits of Filth aims to propose a series of immersive tactile spaces based on the fabric of the Gemini Club, what happened there, and what parts of that story we are choosing to continue with into our future. The project aims to reappropriate British vernaculars in a way expresses the subliminal coding of desire and expression as were played out between the various characters within this story. The theoretical focus of this project is undoubtedly retrospective -- however, it is crucial to understand that this does not make this a work of nostalgia. In order for Huddersfield to re-imagine itself, there needs to be a more intimate understanding of the town’s social structures as manifest of space.

Lizzie Osborne

Nic Clear
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