Young people in Brighton & Hove are making LGBTQ history

Gary Hart July 27, 2016

Young people in Brighton & Hove are making LGBTQ history.

Work in progress by ‘Into the Outside’ participants © the artists

Photoworks, an organisation dedicated to enabling participation in photography and produce the Brighton Photo Biennial is leading on Into the Outside – a learning project with local young people, re-examining their city’s rich LGBTQ+ past and creating a new archive of queer youth experiences.

Around thirty 13-25 year olds are examining how issues faced today by young people identifying as LGBTQ+ compare with those faced by young LGBTQ people over the past forty years.

Participants have been recruited by an open call through social media, schools and community groups. The thirteen-month heritage-learning project is being delivered in collaboration with Brighton & Hove Libraries Services, and the Mass Observation Archive.

The programme is being facilitated by artist Helen Cammock. Helen has many years of experience running high calibre projects with young people, and her own practice explores representation and relationships between the individual and society.

Photography and creative writing workshops, archive research and oral history training have already taken place with the young people at Jubilee Library and The Keep, a world-class archive resource centre.

Participants are exploring a range of archive materials at The Keep, including the National Lesbian and Gay Survey – an extraordinary collection of autobiographical writing and ephemera submitted by over 700 people between 1986 and 1994.

Many other organisations from across the city are also involved including: The East Sussex Records Office, Queer in Brighton and the Brighton & Hove Aldridge Community Academies.

Participants will be using their new skills to interview other young people at Pride in August 2016 and Brighton Photo Biennial in October 2016.

An Into the Outside exhibition will be shown in 2017 and the project will also create an online learning resource aimed at teachers and youth-workers.

Into the Outside investigates the period between 1967 (which saw the Sexual Offences Act decriminalize homosexual activity) and the present day, encompassing some key historical moments for the LGBTQ community, such as the first Gay Pride marches, Section 28, the reduction of the age of consent, the Civil Partnership Act and the Equality Act.

Juliette Buss, Photoworks Learning and Participation Curator, said: “The young people taking part are really keen to find out about the lives and experiences of other young people in the past who identified as LGBTQ+. They want to know what their social life was like, how they fitted in, and how easy or hard it was for them coming out.

“We’re thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Brighton & Hove City Council. This project is a valuable opportunity to help local young people feel more connected with their city and enable them explore, make sense of, and value the legacy of their cultural heritage. They’ll learn about the importance of archives, develop heritage skills, and build awareness of LGBTQ+ issues such as, representation, identity, emotional wellbeing and social barriers to inclusion.”

For more information, click here: