Originally from Cardiff, Norena Shopland has a master’s degree in heritage studies. She has worked for the British Museum, National Museums Scotland and the Museum of London among leading heritage organisations. Now specialising in researching, recording and promoting LGBT+, women’s and Welsh histories she is responsible for a number of ground-breaking projects; including the first project in Wales to look at placing sexual orientation and gender identity into Welsh history, that culminated in Welsh Pride, the first exhibition focusing exclusively on this country’s LGBT+ people, allies and events.
She managed Gender Fluidity, the first funded transgender project in Wales and arranged for Gillian Clarke to write the first (and still only) poem in the world by a national or poet laureate celebrating the LGBT+ people of their country. Her book Forbidden Lives: LGBT stories from Wales is the first completely historical work on Welsh sexual orientation and gender identity. Norena lectures extensively and her work has appeared in the press, radio, and TV. She is currently working with the Big Pit museum on the first exhibition of women miners in Wales, with Swansea’s Waterfront Museum on an exhibition of Welsh button badges, and Race Council Cymru on their Windrush Cymru Heritage Lottery Funding project recording lives of Afro-Caribbean people in Wales.
Her books The Curious Case of the Eisteddfod Baton celebrates Welsh choral singing and the mining of Welsh gold and The Veronal Mystery examines a real-life gay crime. Forthcoming works include a book on cross-dressing women in history.