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Shame on You

Photograph of a man wearing a paper bag with the LGBT rainbow flag on it by Christa Holka
Photo by Christa Holka.
, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Christa Holka.

Shame on You was a symposium that drew together performance artists, psychoanalysis academics and novelists to discuss shame, sexuality and identity.

9 February 2018

Focusing on the experiences of socially marginalised groups, the conversations covered shame/pride movements within LGBTQ communities, the persistent shaming of female bodies and combatting of female sexuality, and the role that class, state and power should play when theoretically mapping the internal dynamics of shame.

The symposium addressed the following questions:

  • What are the connections of visibility to pride and shame?
  • How do the intersections of race and class shape notions of shame and pride?
  • What aspects of homosexuality are rendered silent by pride and how can shame address dissident gender identities?
  • Are male and female bodies inscribed with shame differently?
  • Why is female sexuality still a dominant source of shame in our communities?
  • Are pride movements the best means of combatting the shame experienced by marginalised groups?

The event included a presentation of Jordan McKenzie’s Shame Chorus, a research project/artwork made in collaboration with the London Gay Men’s Chorus, Freud Museum and Susie Orbach and funded by the Arts Council England.

Convened by Jordan McKenzie and Akosua Bonsu.

Project partner: Fringe Centre, University College London.


Katy Baird, Stephanie Bird, Akosua Bonsu, Rose Boyt, Ford Hickson, Johanna Linsley, Martin O'Brien, Susie Orbach, Victoria Sin, Matthew Todd.


Introduction by Jordan McKenzie.