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Drag Through the Gardiner Collection

  • Free
  • Discussion
  • Captioned (online)
A tablet standing on a desk. A black and white photograph on the screen shows Bert Errol, in character, wearing an elaborate 1920s white dress
Exploring Research Seminar: Drag Through the Gardiner Collection, Photo: Kathleen Arundell. © Image on screen: Bert Errol, in character, wearing an elaborate white dress. Process print, 1925. Source: Wellcome Collection.

What you’ll do

Watch a conversation with historian Jacob Bloomfield delving into some of the rich material within the James Gardiner Collection, which includes postcards and photographs exploring gender and sexuality in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Jacob discusses his new book, ‘Drag: A British History’, and talks about the sustained popularity and changing forms of male drag performance in modern Britain. He shows how drag artists, including those who feature in the James Gardiner Collection, have consistently been some of the most significant entertainers of their day. 

The event is facilitated by Leila Sellers, a Wellcome-funded PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London. James Gardiner joins the conversation for a Q&A at the end.



Need to know


Booking a ticket guarantees you entry to the online event. You will be given joining instructions in your confirmation email.

Captioned (online)

The online event will have live captions, which may be useful for people who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, deafened or neurodiverse. The captions will be embedded in the event video window online. Ticketholders for the livestream will also receive a link to view the captions in a separate window.

For more information, please visit our Accessibility page. If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 0 2 0. 7 6 1 1. 2 2 2 2

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About your contributors

Jacob Bloomfield

Jacob Bloomfield


Jacob Bloomfield is a Zukunftskolleg Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Konstanz and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent. His research is situated primarily in the fields of cultural history, the history of sexuality, and gender history. Jacob is the author of ‘Drag: A British History’ (2023). His second monograph will be about the historical reception to, and cultural impact of, musician Little Richard.

Leila Sellers

Leila Sellers


Leila Sellers is a Wellcome-funded PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research explores the everyday lives and experiences of trans women through a history of the Beaumont Society – a UK trans support group. Previously Leila worked in archives and libraries across London, including Wellcome and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.