Young people in Brighton & Hove make LGBTQ history

Gary Hart May 27, 2016

Photoworks, the organisation who produce the Brighton Photo Biennial, has been awarded a £47k grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to lead 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.


Brighton & Hove City Council is contributing a further £5k together with specialist support from Brighton & Hove Libraries Service.

Around thirty 13-25 year olds will examine 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. Not all the participants identify as LGBTQ themselves.

Sessions have been taking place at the Jubilee Library during April 2016 and have includes, archive visits, research, oral history training, heritage skills training, photography workshops and other creative activities.

The thirteen-month heritage-learning project will be delivered in collaboration with the Mass Observation Archive.

Workshops and activities will also take place at The Keep, a world-class archive resource centre housing the collections of the East Sussex Record Office, the Royal Pavilion and Museums Local History Collections and the University of Sussex Special Collections.

Participants will explore 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 use 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 decriminalise 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: “Young people we consulted said they’re keen to find out about the lives and experiences of other young people who identified as LGBTQ in the past. 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. Into the Outside will engage young people in debate, challenge perceptions, and promote acceptance and understanding.”

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