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Community-led participatory research

Understanding London's Black Queer Men

Delivering policy at the intersection of protected identities

BlackOut UK - the Black queer men's community-building collective, is working with the Mayor of London to better understand the experiences, needs and aspirations of bi/gay/trans/queer men of African descent in London and how they relate to the Mayor's policy priorities.

We will undertake a 6 month community-led research project, that builds on the (limited) existing research knowledge, and centres groups of men who are most likely to draw on support from statutory services in health, education, policing, housing and/or social care:

- under 25 - experience of seeking asylum in the UK - living with HIV - over 55 - trans experience.

Throughout, we will seek to create opportunities for participants to build their personal and collective sense of belonging, to influence the shape of the research project, and identify with the research outputs. At the same time, we will work closely with the relevant policy teams in the Mayor of London's office to ensure that the knowledge gained can be connected to the Mayor's policy strategies - and maximise the chances of the research having a policy impact and life beyond the publication/dissemination of the final report.


Key aims

  • To build an improved evidence base on the needs and experiences of Black queer men in London
  • Develop skills in social research methods, analysis, and policy-influencing for Black queer men
  • Connect diverse Black queer men to each other and create forums for dialogue and shared learning
  • Establish connections with key London decision-makers and initiate them with local, regional and national policymakers
  • Inform BlackOut UK’s development and priority setting

Key aims

  • strengthen connections and engagement with communities whose voice and influence on public policy is under-represented
  • improve insights into communities who do not currently have a voice in City Hall
  • identify and develop community leaders within community groups and support capacity building within these groups
  • generate valuable insight to inform policy and practice in City Hall


1. Recruitment and training

April - July

Open recruitment process - promotion through existing networks and partner organisations. Followed by a skills audit and development of bespoke training package - with accreditation where possible

In line with our asset-based approach, we have revised the timing and shape of the research design to capitalise on the strengths of the available applicants

3. Semi-structured interviews


40 c. one-hour long semi structured interviews will be undertaken by the research team - 6 each from our five priority groups (Black queer men who are either under 25, have experience of seeking asylum in the UK, living with HIV, over 55, or trans) plus 10 interviews of Black queer men who are not members of the priority groups. The interviews will be fully transcribed in preparation for analysis.

5. A Portrait of Black Queer London


30 people (20 from priority groups) will be invited to a workshop at which they will discuss excerpts from David McAlmont's 2019 Berto Pasuka lecture that relate to themes emerging from an initial review of survey and interview data, record video testimony, and feature in a photography portrait project. The individual portraits, video content, and discussions will be used to inform the content analysis, and to support engagement as part of the dissemination and communications strategy.

To enable engagement, 10 people from the men under-25 priority group will come together to create an event that reflects their joint response to key interview questions

2. Research design


The research team will design the research project collaboratively, led by the principal researcher (timetable, topic guide and online survey questions) - and engage key stakeholders - relevant members of Mayor's team, BlackOut Collective, key civil society organisations, and academic researchers

4. Online survey


A 2-part online survey - target number completed : 250

Adapted from the Community Life national survey to enable comparisons ;

Completion of the survey will link respondents to a quiz and poll derived from BlackOut's Lessons In The Life project - contributing to the creation of a 'Black Queer men's curriculum' and creating a direct reward for participants

6. Content analysis


The principal researcher will conduct a systematic content analysis of the semi structured interviews and online data. The research team will review a draft report and offer comments before completion of the final report and summary by the first week of February


Policy Research Report

Accessible Executive Summary report

Livestream/recorded discussion panel

25 Portraits of Black Queer Londoners

Social/print/broadcast media campaign

Dissemination for impact

February/March 2020

Our research dissemination strategy will seek to maximise engagement with

  • City Hall policy teams and decision makers
  • Key policy influencers in London civil society, public services and local government
  • Black queer Londoners

  • Community Launch event: Launch of Portrait of Black Queer Londoner
  • Online livestream discussion panel: On BlackOutUK Hub our dedicated digital app (March)
  • Event: City Hall seminar to launch full research report + workshop to co-create summary report related to Mayoral priorities
  • Event: Community seminar to discuss report findings with BlackOut Collective and other QTIPOC activists/organisations


Principal researcher

Key responsibilities

  • Academic Support for Research Team
  • Assure research quality
  • Shape and draft final technical report
  • Content for research training event
  • Lead content analysis including collaborative event
  • Review all research outputs for reliability

Dr Rob Berkeley

Lead Researcher

Key responsibilities

  • Recruit and manage research team
  • Manage interview recordings/data, and transcription process
  • Support Connector events and the creation of micro-influencer media outputs
  • Organise research launch 'event' and dissemination with policy impact advisors
  • Online survey promotion and data management

Marc Thompson

Researcher (4)

Key responsibilities

  • Contribute to research design/topic guide
  • Conduct 8 one-hour semi-structured interviews
  • Support data collection at 'connector event'
  • Recruit 30 Black queer men to take online survey
  • Engage with/support content analysis
  • Support dissemination of research outputs

Reece, Cliff, Jean-Eric and Elliss

A Portrait of Black Queer Londoners

(commissions x3)

Key responsibilities

  • 1) Event Organisation and data capture
  • 2) Photographer
  • 3) Videographer

Get involved

We have appointed researchers (July) and are seeking to engage 5 community connectors from our networks and those of key civil society organisations (early August)

If you are a Black bi/gay/trans and/or queer man who lives works or plays in London, and would like to take part in the research from September, please sign up for our mailing list here

If you are a researcher who has existing research (academic or grey literature) that you think we should consider, or work with Black queer men in London and would like to help us spread the word to them about the research, or have an interest in the final research report, contact

Over the next 9 months we’ll be working with Black Queer men to research their experiences, assess common needs, and bring them together with key stakeholders, decision-makers, and each other to design and implement interventions by us, for us. As well as 'The category is . . .' coming up in the lab:

Innovation Studio 54 - a weekend community intervention start-up hackathon (not a nightclub!)

Pitch Please! - it's about your life, your questions, so online, in the club, at the sauna, on the app, or in the studio, take back control; be the dragon in this den of new ideas for our community

Our Verdict - a 3-day citizens' jury inquiry into Black Queer mental health. Hear from experts about the challenges and opportunities; then co-create solutions #makingspaceforus