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Discrete CollectionsHall-Carpenter Archives
TitleWatney Simon, 1949-, gay activist, cultural theorist, media analyst and art historian
Extent145 boxes
Admin Biographical HistorySimon Watney is an art historian and writer on health. He became involved with the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in the winter of 1970, whilst studying at Sussex University, and helped to establish the Sussex GLF in Brighton the following year. Following four years as an art history lecturer at Brighton Polytechnic (1971-1974), Watney moved to London in 1975 and joined the Gay Left Collective two years later. They published his article 'The Ideology of GLF' in 1980. He worked as a Senior Lecturer in the history and theory of photography at the School of Communication, Polytechnic of Central London, from 1976-1986, and published several books on art history. He continues to write and lecture in his capacity as an art historian.

Watney left the academic world in 1986 to concentrate on practical efforts in fighting AIDS, working on short contracts for several AIDS/HIV projects from 1986-1992, and undertaking voluntary sector work. Amongst other roles, Watney chaired the Policy Group and the Health Education Group of the Terrence Higgins Trust, and was a founder-Trustee of The National AIDS Manual and of Gay Men Fighting AIDS. In 1990 he was one of the founders of OutRage!. From 1988, he wrote a regular HIV/AIDS column in Gay Times, and was awarded the US Words Project for AIDS/Gregory Kolovakos award for his book Taking liberties: AIDS and cultural politics (Serpent's Tail in association with the ICA, London, 1989). Since 1992, Simon Watney has been the Director of the Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust, an HIV/AIDS funding initiative supporting education around the world for those at demonstrably high risk from HIV. In 1995, The Independent described him as one of the forty most influential gay men in Britain.

Publications: Imagine hope: AIDS and gay identity (Routledge, London, 2000); Policing desire: pornography, AIDS and the media (Methuen, London, 1987); Practices of freedom: selected writings on HIV/AIDS (Rivers Oram, London, 1994); The art of Duncan Grant (Murray, London, 1990); Taking liberties: AIDS and cultural politics (Serpent's Tail in association with the ICA, London, 1989); editor of Photography politics (Comedia, London, 1986); Fantastic painters (Thames and Hudson, London, 1977); English post-impressionism (Studio Vista, London, 1980).
DescriptionThe papers mostly consist of materials collected for research into AIDS, HIV and wider gay issues - newspaper cuttings, articles, reports, magazines, leaflets and information sheets, plus manuscript notes made by Simon Watney on these materials. There are drafts and final versions of articles, reports and lectures/speeches written by Watney for various magazines, journals and events, especially on the subjects of "re-gaying" AIDS and the representation of AIDS in the media. There are papers relating to the various organisations with which Watney was involved, including the Gay Liberation Front, ACT-UP, Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust and OutRage! There are a large number of materials regarding AIDS and art, especially photography and film-making - magazines, articles, leaflets and promotional exhibition material. Most materials are UK-related, but there is strong US representation and some European, Canadian and Australian material.
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