Biography

Stephen Bourne is a writer, film and social historian specialising in black heritage and gay culture. He graduated from the London College of Printing with a bachelor’s degree in film and television in 1988, and in 2006 received a Master of Philosophy degree at De Montfort University for his dissertation on the subject of the representation of gay men in British television drama. In 2017 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by London South Bank University for his contribution to diversity.

From 1989, Stephen was a research officer at the British Film Institute on a project that documented the history of black people in British television. The result was a two-part television documentary called Black and White in Colour (BBC2, 1992) that is considered ground-breaking. In 1991 Stephen was a founder member of the Black and Asian Studies Association. In the 1990s, he undertook pioneering work with Southwark Council and the Metropolitan Police that resulted in the founding of one of the first locally based LGBT+ forums to address homophobic and transphobic crime. Since 1999 he has been a voluntary independent advisor to the police. In 2002, Stephen received the Metropolitan Police Volunteer Award ‘in recognition of dedicated service and commitment to supporting the Metropolitan Police in Southwark’ and in 2020 Southwark Police presented Stephen with a commendation for 20 years’ public service as an independent advisor.

In 1991, Stephen co-authored Aunt Esther’s Story with Esther Bruce (his adopted aunt), which was published by Hammersmith and Fulham’s Ethnic Communities Oral History. In 2008, he researched Keep Smiling Through: Black Londoners on the Home Front 1939-1945, an exhibition for the Cuming Museum in the London Borough of Southwark and that same year he was a historical consultant on the Imperial War Museum’s From War to Windrush exhibition.

In 2014, Stephen’s first edition of Black Poppies: Britain’s Black Community and the Great War was published by The History Press to coincide with the centenary of Britain’s entry into the First World War. For Black Poppies Stephen received the 2015 Southwark Arts Forum Literature Award. A new, revised edition of Black Poppies was published in 2019.

In 2016 Stephen’s acclaimed biography of the singer Evelyn Dove, Evelyn Dove: Britain’s Black Cabaret Queen, was published by Jacaranda Books. In 2017 came Fighting Proud: The Untold Story of the Gay Men who Served in Two World Wars for I B Tauris and in 2018 War to Windrush: Black Women in Britain 1939-1948 for Jacaranda Books.

In 2017, Stephen was honoured by Screen Nation with a special award for documenting black British film and television heritage. In 2019, he curated Forgotten Black TV Drama, a retrospective for BFI Southbank and, later that year, Stephen’s Playing Gay in the Golden Age of British TV was published by The History Press.

For more information about Stephen visit Wikipedia here.