Queer self-defence and art workshops for Hackney residents this summer

Graham Robson July 5, 2021

Learn about the history of art and queer protest in Hackney and make your own placard, or take part in LGBTQ+ self-defence class with the Bender Defenders, where you can get fit and have fun.

This summer, the council’s Hackney Pride 365 team, is enlisting local queer activists to help teach residents of today about social movements in the past that have helped effect positive change for society. Looking at what can be learnt from these movements and used to support social justice needs of the future and today.

The free events are taking place in Haggerston Community Centre, and are being run over three separate days to allow as many people as possible to attend, while also ensuring people are kept Covid-19 safe.

Bender Defender LGBTQIA+ Self-Defence Class

Hackney’s first gay self-defence course was set up in Dalston in the 1980s in response to homophobic hate crime. To ensure people have the skills and are able to feel that bit more confident, a group of residents have set up Bender Defenders, running regular fitness and self defence classes for the LGBTQ+ community in East London. As well as helping people with fitness, the sessions support good mental health. Bender Defenders classes are taught in a light-hearted, fun way and also offer a sense of community.

Bender Defender LGBTQIA+ Self-Defence Class at Haggerston Community Centre from 12pm on Sunday, August 1; Sunday, August 14Sunday, August 22. Space is limited so sign up online here.

Queer art and protest in Hackney

Placards and art are an integral part of protest, from the art of Keith Harring in response to the AIDS pandemic to the handmade signs of the Gay Liberation Front founding Pride over 50 years ago. The power and emotion people put into their placards and protest art adds a resonance and powerful charge to these grassroots movements. With bold text and graphics offering to educate and inform the viewer in a short moment of time. The workshop aims to explore this, and look into the history of art in protest, including in Hackney using information from Hackney Museum, as well as showing people how they can prepare their own materials.

Queer art and protest in Hackney at Haggerston Community Centre from 1.30pm on: Sunday, August 1Saturday, August 14Sunday, August 22. Space is limited sign up online here.