About the speakers

Double Lives: speakers & performers

Dr Alessandro Ceccarelli is an archaeologist by training. He studied ancient and modern community networks and social identities at the University of Cambridge, and published on the subject. He is interested in what objects from national collections can tell us about real lives, including queer lives from the past.

Alessandro’s current career in Equality and Human Rights developed in academia, the charity sector and the public sector in Italy, Spain, India, England, and Wales. He advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and for ending new HIV transmissions. In his day job, Alessandro is Head of LGBTQ+ Policy for the Welsh Government. But he appears at Aberration with his archaeology hat on! https://alessandroceccarelli.com/

Alis Hawkins grew up in Ceredigion and currently lives on the Welsh–English border. Her Teifi Valley Coroner historical crime series – featuring partially sighted ex-barrister Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant, John Davies – is set in the area where she grew up and has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Historical Dagger.

Her new novel, A Bitter Remedy, is the first in her new Oxford Mysteries series. It introduces readers to young Welsh polymath Rhiannon Vaughan and college lecturer Basil Rice. https://alishawkins.co.uk/

“A Bitter Remedy is an excellent historical mystery dripping with atmosphere (and bodily fluids) that exposes the chauvinism, misogyny and bigotry of late Victorian England. It’s often highly amusing and even features a cameo by the cipher-mad Reverend Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). Not only gay Welsh feminists will love it.” Mark Sanderson, The Times

Tom Marshman has been a practising artist for more than 20 years. He has produced over 60 projects across many mediums, including museum audio-tours, theatre and cabaret. Encouraging dialogue with participants through socially engaged processes such as ‘Tea Parties’ allows him evocative glimpses into everyday life, letting him tell engaging, poetic and unpretentious stories. He often focuses on the outsider and on the LGBTQ+ stories that have been omitted from the archives.

Tom’s work incorporates video, stylised movement, sound and text. He has appeared at or had work shown at top venues from Bristol Old Vic to Chapter Arts Centre and at various festivals.

“One of the most exciting things about Marshman’s work is his ability to pick a seemingly small subject and peel back the layers to expose something unexpectedly profound.” The Big Issue


Norena Shopland is a historian specialising in the interlocking histories of Wales, women, and LGBTQ+ people. Norena was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University in recognition of her work on raising awareness of diversity in Welsh history. Norena lectures extensively and has appeared in the press, radio, and TV. She has been a regular at Aberration over the years, entertaining and informing us with her latest research. Norena worked with the Big Pit museum on the first exhibition of women miners in Wales; with Swansea’s Waterfront Museum on an exhibition of Welsh button badges; and Race Council Cymru on their Windrush heritage project.

Norena Shopland’s book Forbidden Lives: LGBT Stories from Wales (Seren) is the first completely historical work on Welsh sexual orientation and gender identity. A Practical Guide to Searching LGBTQIA Historical Records is published by Routledge, while Pen & Sword have published A History of Women in Men’s Clothes, The Welsh Gold King, and Women in Welsh Coal Mining.

“Captivating, cliché-defying studies” – Liz Jones reviewing Norena’s latest titles in Planet magazine

Twitter / X @NorenaShopland

Come and see all these amazing talented people at Aberration’s LGBTQ+ History Month event, Doubles Lives on 24 Feb 2024! Plus our very own Jane Hoy, Helen Sandler and Ruth Fowler.

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