HIVstories: Living Politics

Çetin, Zülfukar; Dziuban, Agata; Faust, Friederike; Nicholls, Emily Jay; Oertel, Noora; Sekuler, Todd; Struzik, Justyna and Turan, Alper. 2019. HIVstories: Living Politics. [Exhibition Catalogue]

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Abstract or Description

How are politics and life narratives in the fields of HIV/AIDS activism entangled? This exhibition explores different ways of living politics from the perspectives of a variety of countries, communities and regions. It focuses on the ways in which lives are shaped by politics, and politics are shaped by lives in Poland, United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany and on the European level.

The World Health Organisation has identified Europe as a region with the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world. While the impact and spread of the virus unfolds differently and unevenly across the region, it has evoked multiple responses from civil society, religious institutions and European states and governing bodies. A multiplicity of lives and politics demonstrates that the fight against HIV/AIDS cannot be recounted as a single coherent story. Instead, it is presented here as an ongoing struggle with many disparities and a-synchronicities - all of which take on unique expression in each political, legal and social context. Taken together, HIVstories offers a glimpse into the complex, creative and at times contradictory dynamics of HIV/AIDS activism across the region. It reveals Europe as a historically shifting, disputed, and dynamic geographic, social and political entity.

The exhibition is made up of objects that have been collected over the course of a three-year international research project. Disentangling European HIV/AIDS Policies: Activism, Citizenship and Health (EUROPACH) explores how narratives of the past continue to impact the unfolding of the epidemic. Researchers from Kraków, London, Berlin and Basel, in collaboration with a great many community partner organisations, collected artefacts, archival documents and art works, and conducted oral history interviews with activists, advocates, politicians, bureaucrats and medical practitioners. These lively materials evoke only some of the multiple lives and faces involved in the struggle against HIV/AIDS in the European region. The excerpts from life narratives as presented here, and many more, are part of the European HIV/AIDS Archive (EHAA).

Funding for the research that was used to produce this exhibition was generously provided by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) as part of their 3rd Joint Research Programme under the rubric “Uses of the Past.”

Item Type:

Exhibition Catalogue


HIV, HIV/AIDS, Harm Reduction, Sexuality, Sex Work, Prison, Trans*

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Invention and Social Process (CISP) [2016-]


September 2019

Event Location:

Schwules Museum, Germany

Date range:

13 September - 11 November 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Sep 2019 08:37

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 17:18


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