Thisismystory
12 Apr 2018

Beyond Gallery Walls

Art galleries and exhibitions are truly magical spaces. It’s a curious mix to see people at their most unguarded, as they access artwork, yet simultaneously so aware of themselves and others in the space. Memorable artwork can be an intensely personal experience, at odds with the physical reality of sharing this next to a complete stranger, who is also connecting to the artwork.

Working in fine art engagement, I often have the chance to observe others observing art. We run the gamut of emotions in gallery spaces, but how aware are we of others in the room? Accessing an exhibition like “Coming Out – Sexuality, Gender and Identity" in the gallery means by default interacting with others. We politely or non-verbally navigate around others, wait for our chance to get up close and see detail, share social time with friends, family and strangers all at the same time. Our every active choice in the space is a subconscious message to those around us – how long do we linger on a particular artwork and why? Does our body language reveal our unconscious reaction to the work? Read More...

Swans
14 Feb 2018

Amongst the Neon and the Nudity

Tucked away in one of the booths, between the numerous depictions of the human form in all its variety, and the neon glow of Tracey Emin’s When I Think about Sex I Think about Men, Women Dogs, Lions, Group Sex (And I Love you All), Charlotte Prodger’s BRIDGIT has the potential to be overlooked. It is more often given a five minute head-around-the-curtain glance in passing, before you’re drawn to the alluring sound of yodelling from Isaac Julien’s The Long Road to Mazatlan. But BRIDGIT is captivating in its own way; when experienced you are transported into a personal and memorable archive on identity. For me, this has become one of the highlights of the Coming Out exhibition.

Titled after the Neolithic goddess associated with fertility and healing, BRIDGIT expresses the abstract process of time, and the loss of self we all feel at some point in life. The film transitions from the domestic privacy of the home, to the vast expanse of nature, in a slightly jarring yet engaging juxtaposition. Read More...

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24 Nov 2017

The making of our Teachers pack and educators preview day

In community learning, for practitioners I’d suggest there comes a moment when the decade you were educated in comes into sharp focus with the present. A dizzying self-realisation and shift of time when you compare a formative decade in your own life to now. That for me came recently working with my amazing colleague Angelica Vanasse at the Walker Gallery.

Together we have written a teachers / educators PHSE pack (personal, social, and health education). It’s a rich document that was a joy to write, covering aspects in young people’s learning such as equality, diversity, empathy and judgement. It carries with it a series of self-guided activities educators can do in the exhibition “Coming out – Sexuality, Gender and Identity ” that use some of the nation’s finest contemporary art as reference points. Read More...

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14 Nov 2017

The Coming Out Gallery Trail!

Amongst the many preparations for the Coming Out exhibition, I have been hard at work creating a separate Gallery Trail . This will enable visitors to explore the exhibition’s core themes of sexuality, gender and identity in artworks in Birmingham’s collection galleries. It will include major new acquisitions, contemporary art interventions and some of Birmingham’s best-loved masterpieces. Who can resist a great gallery trail right?

Finding out more about LGBT+ histories in Birmingham’s collection has been fascinating and has brought new artists and subjects to the fore. Leading up to the opening of the exhibition and gallery trail, in this blog I’ll be talking about some of the artworks and the stories that we will be including.  Read More...

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29 Aug 2017

A Queer day indeed

Working in community engagement with arts, poignant and moving are words I encounter quite a bit. They more than aptly describe my day in Liverpool to have a preview of the latest exhibition “Coming Out”.

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16 Aug 2017

Visit to The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, to see the exhibition ‘Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity’

It’s a rainy Thursday morning and I’m racing to get the coach to Liverpool! I’m in great company with some of our museum staff and members of two LGBT groups we have been working with – Unmuted and Ageing Better. We’re off to see the first incarnation of a wonderful exhibition called 'Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity' and I have been working on the Birmingham showing of this exhibition when it opens in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Gas Hall on December 2nd. 

It is also a very poignant day because Thursday July 27th 2017 marks exactly 50 years since the partial de-criminalisation of male homosexual acts in England and Wales (The Sexual Offences Act, 1967). There is an air of excitement and anticipation on the coach as we battle traffic and rain to get to Liverpool.  Read More...