Desire at the Margins: Queer Black Representation, Intimacy and Violence

Program April 27, 2023, 7 p.m.
Virtual Program

Throughout his 35-year career, artist Lyle Ashton Harris has used photography, self-portraiture, collage, and installation to explore the framing and self-presentation of Black and queer individuals, intimacy and desire, and notions of legacy—both inherited and self-defined. The artist’s works examine the complexity of queer Black individuals must navigate in search of community and intimacy. 

Inspired by the themes found within Lyle Ashton Harris: Our first and last love and co-presented with Fenway Health, Desire at the Margins explores the potency of representation and the intertwining of intimacy and violence, and how the queer Black community is often in the crosshairs of hyper-sexualization, police brutality, and societal and medical negligence.



Desire at the Margins: Queer Black Representation, Intimacy and Violence, 2023.



Adrianna Boulin is the Director of Community Impact and Engagement at Fenway Health. Boulin is interested in understanding and addressing issues at the intersection of social justice, intersectionality, and health equity. In her role at Fenway Health, she helps the organization understand its programs, services, and care's impact on its patients, clients, and community. With that awareness, she supports the organization in enhancing the experiences of our patients, clients, and community, building a culture of authentic engagement. Prior to this role, Boulin served as the Community Engagement Manager at Fenway Health in The Fenway Institute’s Research, Policy, Education, and Training Division.  Here, her work focused on authentic engagement, education, and clinical research recruitment in different communities to build knowledge, understanding, trust, and connection in the clinical research process.

Brandon Callender is a Assistant Professor of English at Brandeis University. Callender specializes in black and queer literatures with a budding interest in board games and horror studies. He is interested in how black and queer writers, viewers, and players are able to find affirmation in subcultures, genres and spaces that often fail to acknowledge them. His current book project, "The Charge of the Other in Black Gay Men’s Literatures" examines eccentric expressions of desire and belonging that test the limits of respectability and solidarity.

Calvin Fitch is a staff psychologist for Harvard Medical School and an affiliated investigator at the Fenway Institute. He completed his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Miami. He is broadly interested in psychosocial (e.g., depression, trauma) and structural (e.g., unstable housing) factors influencing HIV/STI risk and HIV mortality in Black MSM. Dr. Fitch hopes to channel these interests into developing effective and culturally sensitive interventions for racial and sexual minorities at high risk for HIV infection or poorer HIV prognosis. Dr. Fitch collaborates with LGBT-focused community organizations and gets community voices to inform his research. Through this immersion in the community, Dr. Fitch helps Black gay and bisexual men protect their mental and sexual health by fighting their inner critics and the larger systems of oppression that feed the inner critic.



Fenway Health provides high-quality, comprehensive healthcare, research, education, and advocacy to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBTQIA+ community, BIPOC individuals, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the broader population. Fenway was founded in 1971 as part of the free clinic movement by students who believed that “health care should be a right, not a privilege."



This program is co-presented by the Rose Art Museum and Fenway Health, with additional support from our partners at Brandeis University: Department of African and African American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Center.