10.12. Tove Jansson’s Queer World

10.12. Tove Jansson’s Queer World

Join us for a day of activities to celebrate the queer heritage of Tove Jansson, a renowned Finnish author, novelist, artist and storyteller. Known internationally as the creator of the Moomin universe, she has become a queer icon for a new generation of LGBTQI+ creatives. At the time of her life, Jansson had to keep her queerness a secret – and yet her artistic journey is full of inspiring stories of queer love, family and self-determination.

Supported by the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, HÄN brings you a day dedicated to celebrating Jansson’s queer heritage – and a broader exploration of family, belonging, queer childhoods, creativity and nature.

At the end of this challenging year, we are looking to create a welcoming queer space and turn to things that bring us comfort in the big city: doodling and making things, foraging, reading and studying queer history. Through a lecture, a workshop and a panel talk, we will look into the lessons we can learn from Jansson’s art and the ways to nurture and support ourselves and each other in today’s turbulent world.

Queer Britain Museum is fully accessible with an entrance ramp, lift to bring visitors to the downstairs level and an accessible toilet. If you have specific accessibility requirements please email hi@han-archive.com and we will inform you how we can accommodate.

Please note that this event is aimed at adults 18+.

Event schedule:

12.00 Join us for morning coffee

12.30 – 1.30 Screening of “Travels with Tove”, a film by by Kanerva Cederström

1.30 – 3.30 Comic strip workshop with Aleesha Nandhra

Comic strips were one of Tove Jansson’s favourite creative formats. To celebrate the playful spirit of making things and telling stories, illustrator and printmaker Aleesha Nandhra will host a 2-hour drop-in comic strip workshop. We’ll be using prompts to inform a fun, playful and experimental session exploring themes such as belonging, nature, family and queerness. No previous experience required! Just come and make something for yourself in a no-pressure safe space.

3 – 4 Tove Jansson’s life and work: a lecture by Kati Mustola

Tove Jansson (1914-2001) was a Swedish-speaking Finn painter, cartoonist, illustrator and comic strip artist. She was also a writer, publishing children’s books, later in life short stories and novels for adults. She rose to international fame as the creator of the Moomins. For much of her life, Jansson had to hide her lesbianism, because homosexuality – both male and female – was banned by law in Finland until 1971. In the lecture, Kati Mustola will show pictures of Jansson’s works and talk about her life.

4.15 – 5.30 Queer ways to thrive: a panel discussion

As LGBTQI+ people, we often navigate a world that is not made with us in mind, which constantly demands that we assert our very existence. On this winter day in the big city, we ask a question: how do we not just survive, but thrive? How can we create and hold space for self-love, mutual support and queer joy? As part of the panel hosted by Anastasiia Fedorova, we will have three fantastic creatives, Nimco Kulmiye Hussein, Brooke Palmieri and Susy, founder of Queer as Funghi, share their queer ways of thriving through nature, creativity and things that were key to Tove Jansson’s work.


Tove Jansson’s Queer World is taking place at Queer Britain (2 Granary Square, London, England, N1C 4BH) on Saturday 10 December. The event is free of charge, please register via Eventbrite to secure your space.

Supported by Swedish Cultural Foundation.

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