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Stephen Bourne
(October 31, 1957 - living) U.K.

Stephen Bourne
Stephen and Aunt Esther

Film and television analyst


Born in Camberwell, London, he was brought up in Peckham, South London where he went to the Oliver Goldsmith primary school. He then went to St Michael and All Angels Secondary Modern School in Camberwell, but left at the age of 16 with no qualifications. He then had a number of jobs, including a sales assistant in the True Form shoe shop in Peckham, working for the DHSS, nursery officer, library assistant, kitchen porter, and cinema usher.

Despite this unpromising background he pursued his wish to write about film. Without any training he began to contribute articles to publications, and since 1983 he has written for numerous black journals. He has been a regular contributor to Black Film Bulletin. In 1988 he graduated from the London College of Printing with an honours degree in Film and Television. His thesis looked at the career of the gay Hollywood director James Whale. He has written features and reviews for many lesbian and gay publications. From 1990 to 1992 he was the film critic for Gay Times.

Stephen BourneIn 1992 he collaborated with his Aunt Esther in producing the autobiography of a working-class black woman born in London before the First World War in Aunt Esther's Story. He and his Aunt Esther shared the 1992 Raymond Williams Prize for Community Publishing for this. He also worked as a researcher on Black and White in Colour, a two-part history of black people in British television which was directed by Isaac Julien for the BBC in 1992. He also curated the first retrospective dedicated to unearthing treasures from lesbian and gay television. Out of the Archives was presented at the National Film Theatre in London and, since that time, has successfully unearthed, reclaimed and interpreted a lost heritage.

In 1994 he undertook pioneering work with Southwark Council and the local police on the issue of homophobic violence as part of the Anti-Homophobic Violence and Abuse Forum. For this ground-breaking work he received a Civic Award from the London Borough of Southwark, and was shortlisted for the Mike Rhodes Award. He received two Race in the Media awards from the Commission for Racial Equality.

In 1996 he organised an evening at the National Film Theatre devoted to the work of Jackie Forster. In 1998 Stephen Bourne's book Black in the British Frame - Black People in British Film and Television 1896-1996, included a chapter about black lesbian and gay representation. For this book, he received a Civic Award from the London Borough of Southwark, and was shortlisted for The Voice Literature Award.

In 1998, he began working for a PhD at De Montfort University in Leicester. In 1999 he became the first person in Britain to receive a Research Student Bursary for a PhD about gay television history. De Montfort awarded him the Bursary to undertake work on the representation of gay men in British television drama since 1939. In 1999 he organised Hollywood Divas, a special event, for the 13th. London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

On 9th. December 2002 Stephen Bourne and Linda Bellos were among the first voluntary community advisors to receive commendations from the Metropolitan Police. At Southwark Town Hall Chief Superintendent Rod Jarman, the Borough Commander for the London Borough of Southwark, presented them with Metropolitan Police Volunteer Awards "in recognition of outstanding contribution in supporting the local community".


His writing include:

  • James Whale: Hollywood's Gay Auteur (1988)
  • is stephen coming out? (1991)
  • Aunt Esther's Story (1992)
  • Brief Encounters: Lesbians and Gays in British Cinema 1930-1971 (1996)
  • Black in the British Frame: Black People in British Film and Television 1896-1996 (1998)
  • A Ship and a Prayer - The Black Presence in Hammersmith and Fulham (1999)
  • Sophisticated Lady: A Celebration of Adelaide Hall (2001)
  • A Century of Black Cinema - An A-Z of Black Actors in the Movies (2003)
Email: stephenbourne@amserve.com

Source excerpts from: The Knitting Circle, U.K., http://www.sbu.ac.uk/stafflag/people.html

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