Sean Burns: Dorothy Towers

French Institute

Dorothy Towers is the story of the legendary Clydesdale and Cleveland Towers, two residential blocks in the centre of Birmingham, UK. Completed in 1971 as a social housing development and located adjacent to the city’s Gay Village, the towers’ proximity to the community means they have long been a haven for queer people.

The 16mm film opens a space to reflect on the relationship between architecture, community and memory. It features testimonials from residents and explores ideas of queer kinship and inheritance alongside experiences of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and ’90s.

We will host workshops and discussions on Edinburgh’s queer histories throughout the festival, with partners including the Lothian Health Services Archives and Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive.

The artist extends thanks to the film’s team, including Jamie Harding (camera operator), El Jones (archivist and editor), Chris Keenan (cinematographer) and Lai Power (composer). 

Dorothy Towers is supported by Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. In Edinburgh, Dorothy Towers is supported by the PLACE Programme, a partnership between Edinburgh Festivals, Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland, with additional support from Edinburgh World Heritage.


Sean Burns: Dorothy Towers

Date & Time

11 – 27 August




French Institute

West Parliament Sq, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF

Visit Website

0131 226 6558

Visitor information

  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Accessible Toilets
  • Toilets
  • Babychange
  • Café
  • Shop

Ticket Information

Free, drop-in

Header image credit: Sean Burns, Dorothy Towers (16mm film still), 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Dorothy Towers – Public Programme

Series of events exploring the themes of Dorothy Towers with art historian Dr Cole Collins, Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive and the Lothian Health Service Archive.

Find Out More

French Institute

West Parliament Sq, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF

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