Focus on LGBTQ+ History Month

A person colours in a rainbow flag on a board
© George Archer / Kids in Museums (KiM Takeover Day at the National Justice Museum)

Celebrations and reflections on LGBTQ+ History Month are taking place all around the country this February. We highlight an example here from each of the nine CHWA regions.

Our North East museums champion, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, is hosting a virtual exhibition Re-Imagining Pride, showcasing six digital commissions from Tyne & Wear LGBTQ+ artists co-commissioned with Curious Arts. Julie Ballands, Richard Bliss, Laura Crow, Dandysocpic (JG Tansley), Bridget Hamilton and Chantal Herbert have created digital works that focus on themes of self-expression and identity.

While the doors are closed at Manchester Museum during a major refurbishment, the museum is celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month virtually through it's Queering Manchester Museum programme, which includes an online event on 23 February: "Queer Desires: Every Object Tells a Story", led by South Asia Gallery Collective member Kirit Patel.

In Yorkshire & Humber, Bradford City Council is running a full programme of events including cabaret, dance shows, support groups, sporting events, and a celebration of queer icons. Tracey Brabin, a former co-chair of the All-Party parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing and currently Mayor of West Yorkshire, has pointed to the rise in hate crimes relating to LGBTQ+ communities and the place of the festival in amplifyng the voices of the LGBTQ+ community.

In the East of the country, the Norfolk LGBT+ project has curated "Out in the Picture," an exhibition of self-portraits by LGBTQ+ artists at the Anteros Art Foundation, whilst the University of East Anglia is running a month-long series including film screenings and talks.

Our East Midlands museum champions, Derby Museums, are hosting a celebration of the month on 25 February produced in collaboration with Artcore and the Derby LGBT+ Centre, featuring the work of French female photographer Claude Cahun (1894–1954), whose practice investigates gender and identity; the Artcore Cabin, displaying work created by Derby LGBT+ Centre's young people's, women's, trans and families' groups, and a get together at the Museum of Making to explore the LGBT+ History Month 2022 themes of Politics in Art.

In the West Midlands, our former museums champion Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is hosting a tour of its "Women Power Protest" show, exploring the LGBTQ+ themes in the exhibition, and ending with a mindful art workshop.

In the South West, our former champion RAMM is exploring the museum's 18-month Heritage Lottery Funded project: "Out and About: Queering the Museum", a collaboration between curators and engagement specialists at RAMM; Dr Jana Funke from the University of Exeter and socially engaged artist, writer Natalie McGrath, and LGBTQ+ communities from the South West and further afield.

Discover how artists Caleb Parkin, Oren Shoesmith, Carina Miles and Charice Bhardwaj have been exploring otherwise hidden or obscured aspects of RAMM’s collections, explore queer botanical objects with project intern Ashley Eyvanaki , and check out (and join in with) the project’s Queer Collectors Case, made up of queer objects submitted by LGBTQ+ people. In addition, find out more about the project launch and other virtual events such as Queer Love, Desire and Faith which explored how queer, trans and gender-diverse people relate to religion and faith.

In the South East, Milton Keynes University Hospital is showcasing stories from LGBTQ+ people and allies in the hospital and from the local community, as well as historic and current activists, while the University of Kent has brought together an exhibition by students exploring LGBTQ+ experiences of lockdown:

The artists were encouraged to reflect upon what lockdown meant for them as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, both the positives and the negatives. For some, lockdown was an experience that they hoped would never be repeated. For others, it was a period of contemplation and enlightenment. For many, it was both.

In London, the Bishopsgate Institute is taking over The Curve at the Barbican from 28 February–21 March "with an installation of objects, ephemera and media highlighting 40 moments and stories in London’s LGBTQ+ history". The Bishopsgate Institute has been collecting the lived experiences of everyday people for over a century.

Heritage and museums professionals might also want to explore the Kids in Museums' resource "How can your museum engage children, young people and families with LGBTQ+ heritage?"