Future Trends in Urban Development and the Arts: A Look at Chisenhale Works

Future Trends in Urban Development and the Arts: A Look at Chisenhale Works

As we enter a new era of technological advancements and societal shifts, it is crucial to examine the potential future trends related to the themes of urban development and the arts. This analysis will focus on the Chisenhale Works building, located along the Hertford Union Canal, as a microcosm of the larger trends we can expect to see in these industries.

The Rise of Creative Hubs

One key point to note is the transformation of industrial buildings into creative hubs. The Chisenhale Works building, with its dance studio and gallery, exemplifies this trend. With urban areas becoming increasingly crowded and space at a premium, repurposing existing structures offers a sustainable solution for nurturing artistic communities. We can expect to see more industrial spaces converted into creative hubs, housing a variety of artistic ventures, from galleries to studios and performance spaces.

Reviving Architectural Heritage

The derelict state of the Chisenhale Works building’s windows serves as a reminder of the need to preserve and restore architectural heritage. As urban landscapes evolve, it is essential to safeguard the historical fabric of our cities. The Chisenhale Works building, with its worn windows, prompts us to reflect on the importance of maintaining and revitalizing architectural landmarks. Future trends may involve a focus on restoration and adaptive reuse, allowing us to retain our cultural heritage while creating contemporary spaces for creative expression.

Integration of Technology

In an increasingly digital world, it is only natural that technology will play a significant role in future trends related to urban development and the arts. The Chisenhale Works building could see the incorporation of smart technologies that enhance the visitor experience, such as interactive art installations or digital guides. Urban developments may prioritize the integration of technology, creating “smart cities” that facilitate artistic experiences and engage audiences in innovative ways.

Community Engagement and Collaboration

The Chisenhale Works building, located in a diverse urban neighborhood, highlights the importance of community engagement and collaboration. In the future, we can anticipate a stronger emphasis on fostering connections between artists and the communities they serve. This will involve initiatives such as artist-in-residence programs, community-led exhibitions, and workshops that invite local residents to actively participate in the artistic process. By cultivating these relationships, art can become a catalyst for social change and community development.

Creating Sustainable Spaces

Finally, the Chisenhale Works building’s repurposing draws attention to the need for sustainable spaces in our urban environments. As we face pressing environmental challenges, future trends in urban development and the arts will likely prioritize sustainability. We can expect to see eco-friendly designs, energy-efficient technologies, and a focus on repurposing existing structures rather than relying solely on new construction. These practices will not only reduce our carbon footprint but also foster a sense of responsibility within the artistic community.

Predictions and Recommendations

Based on the key points analyzed above, several predictions and recommendations can be made for the future of the urban development and arts industries.

  1. Invest in Creative Spaces: Cities and urban developers should invest in the creation and maintenance of dedicated creative spaces. This will foster artistic communities and contribute to the cultural vibrancy of urban areas.
  2. Preserve Architectural Heritage: Efforts should be made to preserve and restore architectural landmarks, incorporating them into modern urban landscapes. This will create a sense of historical continuity while providing spaces for artistic expression.
  3. Embrace Technology: The integration of technology should be embraced, allowing for immersive and interactive art experiences. Artists, urban planners, and technologists should collaborate to create smart city infrastructures that enhance artistic engagement.
  4. Foster Community Engagement: Initiatives that encourage collaboration between artists and local communities should be prioritized. This will not only create a sense of ownership and pride but also contribute to social cohesion and urban regeneration.
  5. Promote Sustainability: Sustainable practices should be at the forefront of urban development and artistic endeavors. This includes repurposing existing structures, adopting eco-friendly designs, and utilizing energy-efficient technologies.

In conclusion, the Chisenhale Works building serves as a microcosm of the potential future trends in urban development and the arts. As we navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by technological advancements and societal shifts, it is essential that we invest in creative spaces, preserve architectural heritage, integrate technology, foster community engagement, and promote sustainability. By doing so, we can create vibrant and inclusive urban environments that nurture artistic expression and enrich the lives of individuals and communities.


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Introducing our Yorkshire Games Festival 2024 speakers

Introducing our Yorkshire Games Festival 2024 speakers

But what have they worked on during that time? Read on to find out.

Alex Earle

Alex is this year’s host and he’s worked on a number of games, including recently announced Southfield which will be coming to early access later this year.

Southfield is no ordinary island, and this is no ordinary farming game. Combine cartoony crops with chaotic effects and customise your farm with fun toys and machines to automate your harvest. Whether you’re a solo explorer, or you’re looking for a new destination to play with friends, Southfield is the place to be!

Alex has also worked on several other games, including:

Henry Hoffman

Henry is the Founder of Newfangled Games and his talk will discuss the design principles of award-winning game Paper Trail, with a focus on mechanic-driven design.

Paper Trail

Paper Trail is a top-down puzzle adventure about leaving home, set in a foldable paper world. You play as Paige, a budding academic, leaving home for the first time to pursue her studies. On the journey, you learn to fold the world, merging two sides to solve puzzles, explore new areas and uncover long-lost secrets.

Henry’s other game credits include:

  • Hue
  • Mush
  • Mortar Melon

Samantha Béart

Samantha joins us for an in-conversation event and Q&A with host Alex Earle in the evening following the Game Talks. They are a classically trained actor with a career spanning nearly two decades. Their most recent performance as the fiery companion Karlach in Baldur’s Gate 3 has been met with both cultural and critical acclaim.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a story-rich, party-based RPG set in the universe of Dungeons & Dragons, where your choices shape a tale of fellowship and betrayal, survival and sacrifice, and the lure of absolute power.

Samantha’s other game credits include:

Rhianne Murphy

Rhianne Murphy has over seven years’ experience working as a level and narrative designer in the UK AAA game development scene. Her talk will discuss her journey from graduation to games and what steps you can take to break into the industry.

Rhianne’s game credits include Crackdown 3.

Time to step up your boom and stop crime as a super-powered Agent in Crackdown 3‘s open-world sandbox of mayhem and destruction. Explore the heights of New Providence, tear up the streets in iconic vehicles, and use your powerful abilities to stop a ruthless criminal empire.

Sean Gorman

Sean Gorman is an experienced Lead Level Designer currently at VOID Interactive, with over eight years of professional experience in the video games industry. His talk will focus on how Level Designers can enhance their design blockouts, while teaching the fundamentals and showcasing techniques.

His most recent game credit is Ready or Not, an intense, tactical, first-person shooter that depicts a modern-day world in which SWAT police units are called to defuse hostile and confronting situations.

Other games Sean has worked on include:

Sophie Knowles

Sophie Knowles is a 3D generalist and currently the Lead Artist at Sad Owl Studio, the studio behind Viewfinder. Her talk will take you behind the art of Viewfinder, a mind-bending first-person adventure game in which you can bring pictures to life by placing them into the world.

Challenge perception, redefine reality, and reshape the world around you with an instant camera. Viewfinder is a new single-player game offering gamers hours of interesting and fun experiences while uncovering the mysteries left behind.

Sophie has also worked on:

Adrienne Law

Adrienne Law is a Senior Writer at Larian Studios, an independent developer dedicated to pushing the boundaries of storytelling and player freedom. Her talk is entitled ‘Writing with Character: Lenses for crafting compelling NPCs’.

As Dusk Falls is an original interactive drama from INTERIOR/NIGHT that explores the entangled lives of two families across 30 years. Starting in 1998 with a robbery gone wrong in small-town Arizona, the choices you make have a powerful impact on the characters’ lives in this uncompromising story of betrayal, sacrifice and resilience.

Other games Adrienne has worked on include:

Diving into the Future: Moonwalk Simulations Underwater

Diving into the Future: Moonwalk Simulations Underwater

Diving into the Future: Moonwalk Simulations Underwater

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)

In an exciting development for space exploration, NASA is already making preparations for the next moonwalk simulations. These simulations are crucial for testing the equipment and procedures that will be used during future lunar missions, including the Artemis program. But what’s even more interesting is where these simulations will take place – underwater.

Why Underwater?

The choice to conduct moonwalk simulations underwater may seem unusual at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Underwater environments mimic several aspects of lunar conditions, such as reduced gravity and the need for specialized equipment to survive. By practicing underwater, astronauts can gain valuable experience and learn how their movements and tools will behave in a low-gravity environment.

NASA has a dedicated facility for these underwater simulations called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL). Located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the NBL is a massive pool containing a life-sized replica of the International Space Station (ISS) and various lunar surface mockups. Astronauts can don special suits and practice tasks like collecting samples and operating equipment underwater.

The Future of Moonwalk Simulations

As NASA continues to refine its plans for lunar missions, it’s likely that the importance of moonwalk simulations will only grow. These simulations allow astronauts to build muscle memory and familiarity with their equipment, ultimately improving their performance during actual missions. They also provide an opportunity to identify and address any potential issues or risks that may arise on the moon.

In the future, we can expect to see more advanced technology being utilized in moonwalk simulations. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) could be integrated into the training process, allowing astronauts to experience an even more realistic simulation of lunar conditions. This could include visualizing the lunar surface, practicing complex maneuvers, and even collaborating with virtual teammates.

Furthermore, advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) could play a significant role in moonwalk simulations. Robotic assistants could be used to aid astronauts in completing tasks, freeing up their time and energy for more critical activities. AI algorithms could also be developed to analyze astronaut performance and provide personalized feedback and recommendations for improvement.

Predictions for the Industry

As the space industry continues to evolve, there are several potential trends and developments we can anticipate:

  1. An increased focus on sustainable technologies: With growing concerns about the environmental impact of space exploration, there will likely be a push for more sustainable technologies. This could include the use of renewable energy sources, recycling systems, and efficient propulsion systems.
  2. The rise of commercial space tourism: As private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin continue to make advancements in space travel, we can expect to see an increase in commercial space tourism. This could open up new opportunities for moonwalk simulations and training programs tailored for space tourists.
  3. Growing international collaboration: As space exploration becomes more accessible and affordable, there will likely be an increase in international collaboration. Countries could come together to pool resources, share knowledge, and work towards common goals, such as establishing a permanent presence on the moon.
  4. Advancements in space mining: With the increasing demand for rare resources on Earth, space mining could become a viable industry in the future. Moonwalk simulations could play a crucial role in developing the technologies and techniques required for extracting and utilizing lunar resources.

Recommendations for the Industry

Based on these potential trends, here are some recommendations for the space industry:

  • Invest in research and development: To stay ahead in the rapidly evolving space industry, companies and organizations should invest in research and development. This includes exploring new technologies, conducting experiments, and collaborating with experts from various fields.
  • Promote international cooperation: To tackle the complex challenges of space exploration, it’s crucial for countries and organizations to work together. The industry should promote and facilitate international cooperation, enabling knowledge sharing and resource pooling.
  • Focus on sustainability: As the public becomes more aware of the environmental impact of space exploration, companies should prioritize sustainable technologies and practices. This includes finding ways to reduce waste, minimize pollution, and conserve resources.
  • Embrace emerging technologies: Virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, and artificial intelligence have the potential to revolutionize moonwalk simulations and training programs. Companies should embrace these emerging technologies and explore their applications in realistic and immersive training experiences.

By taking these recommendations into consideration, the space industry can continue to push the boundaries of exploration and pave the way for future lunar missions and beyond.

– NASA. “Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)”. Retrieved from NASA website: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/preparations-for-next-moonwalk-simulations-underway-and-underwater
– Space.com. “NASA Trains Astronauts for Moon Missions Underwater”. Retrieved from Space.com website: https://www.space.com/nasa-training-astronauts-moon-missions-underwater.html
– Forbes. “NASA Is Training Astronauts In Underwater Simulators For Artemis Moon Missions”. Retrieved from Forbes website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanocallaghan/2022/11/27/nasa-is-training-astronauts-in-underwater-simulators-for-artemis-moon-missions/?sh=246a0b60ac45

“Capturing the Moon: NASA and Nikon’s HULC Camera for Lunar Exploration”

“Capturing the Moon: NASA and Nikon’s HULC Camera for Lunar Exploration”

Capturing the Moon: NASA and Nikon's HULC Camera for Lunar Exploration

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)

NASA and Nikon Inc. have recently signed a Space Act Agreement to develop a handheld camera that can operate in the harsh lunar environment. The camera, known as the Handheld Universal Lunar Camera (HULC), will be used by astronauts during future moonwalks as part of NASA’s Artemis campaign. This agreement allows NASA to have a space-rated camera ready for use on the lunar surface without the need to develop one from scratch.

The HULC camera will be a modified version of the Nikon Z 9 camera with Nikkor lenses. It will feature NASA’s thermal blanket to protect it from dust and extreme temperatures, as well as a custom grip with modified buttons for easier handling by suited crewmembers wearing thick gloves. The camera will also incorporate the latest imagery technology and will have modified electrical components to minimize issues caused by radiation.

The HULC camera will be the first mirrorless handheld camera used on the Moon, designed for capturing imagery in low-light environments. Prior to its use during Artemis missions, the camera will be tested at the International Space Station to demonstrate its capabilities.

NASA has a long history of using cameras in space, with over 50 years of experience. During the Apollo program, crewmembers used modified large-format, handheld cameras to capture over 18,000 photos. However, these cameras did not have viewfinders, and astronauts were trained to aim the camera from chest-level. They had to use separate cameras for photos and videos. The new lunar camera will have a viewfinder and video capabilities to capture both still imagery and video on a single device.

To ensure the camera’s performance on the lunar surface, NASA is conducting thermal, vacuum, and radiation testing. The camera has already been used by suited NASA crewmembers during simulated moonwalks in Arizona and by an international crew of astronauts during geology training in Spain.

Looking ahead, the development of the HULC camera represents a significant advancement in lunar exploration technology. The camera will enable astronauts to capture high-quality imagery on the Moon, helping to advance scientific research and discovery. It also paves the way for future missions to Mars, as NASA continues to expand its presence in space.

Potential Future Trends

The development of the HULC camera opens up a range of potential future trends related to lunar exploration and photography technology:

  1. Advancements in Camera Technology: As NASA continues to explore the Moon and other celestial bodies, there will likely be ongoing advancements in camera technology. This includes improvements to low-light capabilities, image stabilization, and video recording capabilities. Future lunar cameras may incorporate artificial intelligence to assist with image processing and analysis.
  2. Enhanced Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences: As high-quality imagery and video footage of lunar missions become available, there will be opportunities to create immersive VR and AR experiences for the general public. These experiences could simulate what it feels like to walk on the Moon and provide a deeper understanding of the lunar environment.
  3. Citizen Science and Public Engagement: With the availability of high-quality lunar imagery, there will be opportunities for citizen scientists and the general public to contribute to scientific research. Crowdsourcing projects could involve analyzing lunar photos for geological features, identifying potential landing sites, or even discovering new phenomena on the Moon.
  4. Commercial Applications: As space tourism becomes a reality, lunar cameras could play a role in capturing and documenting the experiences of private individuals who visit the Moon. Commercial companies may also develop their own specialized cameras for lunar missions, leading to a broader range of photography options for space travelers.

Recommendations for the Industry

Based on these potential future trends, there are several recommendations for the industry:

  • Collaboration between Space Agencies and Camera Manufacturers: More collaborations between space agencies like NASA and camera manufacturers like Nikon can lead to the development of specialized cameras that can withstand the extreme conditions of space environments. Such partnerships can also accelerate the pace of innovation in camera technology for space applications.
  • Investment in VR and AR Technologies: Space agencies and private companies should invest in developing VR and AR technologies that can recreate the lunar experience for the general public. This can help educate and inspire people about space exploration and potentially generate public support for future missions.
  • Promotion of Citizen Science Initiatives: Space agencies should actively promote citizen science initiatives that involve analyzing lunar imagery. Providing access to high-quality lunar photos and encouraging public participation can enhance scientific understanding and engage the general public in space exploration.
  • Support for Commercial Space Activities: Governments and regulatory bodies should support the growth of commercial space activities, including space tourism. This will create opportunities for private companies to develop their own cameras and technologies for lunar missions, promoting innovation and expanding the capabilities of space exploration.

In conclusion, the development of the HULC camera by NASA and Nikon represents a significant step forward in lunar photography technology. It opens up possibilities for advancements in camera technology, enhanced VR and AR experiences, public engagement in citizen science, and commercial applications. By embracing these future trends and implementing the recommendations outlined above, the industry can continue to push the boundaries of lunar exploration and photography, paving the way for future missions to Mars and beyond.


Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Science

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Science

Portrait of Magnus Hirschfeld. Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Magnus-Hirschfeld Gesellschaft
Magnus Hirschfeld. Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Magnus-Hirschfeld Gesellschaft

Magnus Hirschfeld (1868 – 1935) was a German Jewish doctor, sexologist and activist who founded the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (hereafter translated to the Institute for Sexual Science). Hirschfeld was one of the foremost researchers in sexuality and gender in the early twentieth century.

Hirschfeld was gay but never publicly came out and did not mention his own orientation in his scientific publications on sexuality. It was, after all, still illegal to be homosexual in Germany during his lifetime.

Nevertheless, he was invested in using science to improve the lives of those in what people now refer to as the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer +) community. He operated under the ethos ‘through science to justice.’ His public professional image was that of a scholar and doctor who argued against homophobia and other forms of prejudice from a place of scientific principle.

Hirschfeld’s romantic relationships with men were a secret to all but those in Berlin’s queer community. He was in a long-term relationship with the archivist Karle Giese. Later in his life, he was in a relationship with his protegee Li Shiu Tong. Both were named in Hirschfeld’s will.

Theories on sexuality

From the end of the nineteenth century, the study of human sexuality had begun to be approached as a scientific enterprise. Like many of his middle-class contemporaries, Hirschfeld believed that science was the best lens through which to seek to understand gender and sexuality.

During the tolerant years of the Weimar Republic, Germany (and Berlin in particular) had a reputation of being socially progressive. Many of Hirschfeld’s theories were developed before this period when the country was more conservative. His theories were considered extremely liberal by his contemporaries.

He went against the traditional idea that same-sex attraction was a moral deficiency or a perversion of “natural” sexuality. Many doctors believed that same-sex attraction should be treated like an illness. Hirschfeld, however, argued that all sexual orientations are natural because sexuality is an inborn biological characteristic that one is born with. He stated there was no connection between someone’s sexual orientation and their character.

Theories on gender

Hirschfeld was one of the first theorists to believe that there are gender identities that lie outside of the male-female binary. He observed that some individuals’ sense of gender is contrary to the sex assigned at birth. We now refer to these people as being ‘transgender’ or ‘trans’.

Significantly, Hirschfeld believed that trans people were acting in accordance with their true nature, not against it. He believed that they should be able to present themselves in a way that affirmed their gender identity. He thought that science should provide a means for trans people to medically transition (if this is what they wished to do).

Over 100 years later, Magnus Hirschfield’s thoughts on gender are relevant to discussions among modern scientists about the distinction between biological sex and gender identity. Gender refers to behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man or non-binary that are socially constructed. This means understanding of gender can vary from society to society and can change over time.

Compact face makeup powder, made by Maybelline,
Compact face makeup powder, made by Maybelline, 2012-2013. Donated by a young trans person to represent an aspect of their gender identity expression.


Hirschfeld engaged in many forms of activism and awareness-raising activities to further the rights of LGBTQ+ communities. He published books, journal articles and pamphlets to share his research on gender and sexuality with the public.

In 1897, he founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. As the first ever LGBTQ+ advocacy group, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee campaigned to overturn Paragraph 175 of the German penal code (the section that criminalised same-sex relations between men).

Hirschfeld fostered good personal relationships with law enforcement and instilled in them progressive attitudes. He worked with the Berlin Police Department to educate officers on gender non-conformity and the needs of trans people. To protect his transgender patients from harassment Hirschfeld presented them with a medical certificate. This explained that their gender expression was aligned with their true nature.

Pass issued by the Institute for Sexual Science to Gerd Katter under his birthname Eva.
Pass issued by the Institute for Sexual Science to Gerd Katter under his birthname Eva. Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Magnus-Hirschfeld Gesellschaft https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1136964

The Berlin Chief of Police subsequently issued permits for transgender people that gave them express permission to dress in a way that affirmed their gender identity and protected them from being arrested or charged with the criminal offence of exhibitionism. This helped many transgender people in Berlin, including 19-year-old Gerda von Zobeltitz in 1912, and 18-year-old Gerd Katter in 1928.

Pass issued by the Berlin Police Department.
The Berlin Police Department issued this trans pass to Katter after receiving the official medical certificate from the Institute of Sexual Science. Credit: Courtesy of the Magnus-Hirschfeld Gesellschaft

The Institute for Sexual Science

Many of Hirschfeld’s queer patients faced discrimination and struggled with self-acceptance, and tragically many would die by suicide due to this. Following their deaths, Hirschfeld decided to leave his practice to create a dedicated facility to treat and advocate for gender and sexual minorities.

The Institute for Sexual Science was opened in 1919. The institution offered medical services, counselling, and sex education to the queer community. Here, Hirschfield continued to undertake research. He collected an immense library and archive containing thousands of scientific books, journals, medical diagrams, and examples of erotica. The Institute soon became a community hub for queer people in Berlin.

Costume party at the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin
Costume party at the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin, date and photographer unknown. Magnus Hirschfeld (in glasses) holds hands with his partner, Karl Giese (centre). Credit: Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft e.V., Berlin

Gender-affirming healthcare

While most of Hirschfield’s contemporaries sought to “cure” transgender patients of their alleged mental illness, Hirschfield supported his transgender patients as he believed they should be allowed to embrace their true nature.

The Institute for Sexual Science performed some of the very first male-to-female gender affirming surgeries on trans women experiencing gender dysphoria. Conducted by gynaecologist Ludwig Levy-Lens and surgeon Erwin Gohrbandt, the treatment occurred in a series of stages: castration, penectomy, and vaginoplasty.

1926 portrait of Lili Elbe, one of Hirschfeld's patients.
1926 portrait of Lili Elbe, one of Hirschfeld’s patients. Elbe’s story inspired the 2015 film The Danish Girl. Credit: Wellcome Collection, https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/L0031864.html (CC BY 4.0)

In 1922, Dora Richter, an employee at the Institute, began her medical transition. She underwent a series of surgeries, completing her transition in 1931.

The most famous patient at The Institute for Sexual Science was the Danish painter, Lili Elbe (whose life story is depicted in the film The Danish Girl.) During her year as a patient, Elbe underwent five surgeries performed as part of her male-to-female transition. Unfortunately, she would not survive the process, dying of infection-related complications after her final surgery in 1931.

The Institute offered double mastectomy surgery for trans men wishing to remove their breasts. In 1926, 16-year-old Gerd Katter underwent a full mastectomy at the Institute after he had tried unsuccessfully to conduct the surgery on himself. The gender affirming care he received at the Institute was lifesaving.

Gerd Katter (born Eva Katter), one of Magnus Hirschfeld's transsexual patients in the late twenties in the Institute for Sexual Science.
Gerd Katter (born Eva Katter), one of Magnus Hirschfeld’s transsexual patients in the late twenties in the Institute for Sexual Science, around 1929. Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Magnus-Hirschfeld Gesellschaft

The Institute also offered hormone therapy to transgender patients. Oestrogen allowed trans women to grow natural breasts and develop softer features.

Testosterone was not synthesised until 1935 and was not used medically until 1939, so it was not yet an available treatment for trans men at the Institute. In addition to medical interventions, Hirschfield provided his patients with counselling to provide them with support as they navigated their gender identities.

Nebido testosterone hormone solution for intramuscular injection
Nebido testosterone hormone solution for intramuscular injection, by Bayer Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany, c.2013.

Destruction of the Institute FOR SEXUAL SCIENCE

In January 1933, the Nazis came to power in Germany. In a matter of months, they began a targeted attack on The Institute for Sexual Science. On 6 May, a collective of Nazi-supporting youths, The German Student Union, occupied the building, looting it of its contents. A few days later, on 10 May, the entire library of the Institute was set ablaze in Berlin’s Bebelplatz Square, along with 20,000 other books considered subversive by the Nazi Party.

Germans crowd around a truck filled with “un-German” books, confiscated from the library of the Institute for Sexual Science, for burning by the Nazis. Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park.

Hirschfeld was out of the country on a European seminar tour at the time of the siege. He witnessed the burning of his library from Paris, seeing news reports of the book burning at a cinema. He would never return to Germany. Magnus Hirschfeld died of a heart attack on his 67th birthday in 1935, having spent the last two years of his life exiled in France.

Magnus Hirschfeld’s work with the Institute for Sexual Science is an example of the science and culture destroyed by the Nazis in the mid-twentieth centuries. Fortunately, Hirschfeld’s publications, already widely disseminated across the West, could not be destroyed.

The interdisciplinary nature of these works left a lasting impression on the field of sexual science, influencing later theorists like Alfred Kinsey and Henry Benjamin. His influential theories on sexuality and gender, and the legacy of the gender-affirming healthcare that he provided, have had a significant impact on the field of sexual science and in the lives of queer people.

The post Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Science appeared first on Science Museum Blog.