Queer Stories: Leeds LGBT*IQ Social History Project

We're a social history project working with Leeds Museums and Galleries to collect historical objects and oral histories that reflect and record the LGBT*IQ stories of the city of Leeds. Here's our story so far. (LGBT*IQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Intersex, Queer/Questioning).

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'Glad to be Gay' badge donated to the project.

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Jude Woods (Assistant Community Curator at Leeds Art Gallery), Claire Martin (project volunteer/ PhD Student and Postgraduate Tutor, University of Leeds), Fiona Philip (project volunteer/ Research Fellow, Pararchive project, University of Leeds (at the time)) and Diedre (project volunteer/ Gay Abandon member) represented the group at the Connecting Communities Conference at the University of Leeds in March 2015 (see here for more about the conference: http://pararchive.com/conference/).

We ran a workshop that told the story of the co-curatorial project so far, as well as considering the key questions with which we've found ourselves grappling during the project's early stages. We also invited delegates to reflect and comment upon these issues through their own experiences of similar community projects. It made for a thought-provoking and thoroughly engaging session - thanks to everyone who took part!

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We used the example of the British film Pride (dir. Warchus, 2014), in thinking about question 3.

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These are the questions we discussed:

1. How can community based co-curatorial projects authentically represent the diversity of LGBT*IQ experience?

2. What are the challenges and how can we negotiate conflict when telling controversial, provocative or ‘negative’ aspects of LGBT*IQ stories?

3. How can we avoid telling historical/herstorical stories through ‘rose tinted glasses’?

4. How can community based co-curatorial practice share power when embarking on museum-based storytelling?

5. What Best Practice guidance could we recommend for museum professionals who are engaging with LGBT*IQ stories and communities?

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Do you have an object or story you'd like to share? Or, want to get involved? Then contact Jude Woods at Leeds Art Gallery on 0113 2477021, or jude.woods@leeds.gov.uk, or leave a message for us on Yarn.

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