Led by the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), the project Queer Times will receive £9,100 to respond to the complex coalescence of a number of significant LGBT+ anniversaries in 2018: the 30th anniversary of the introduction of Section 28, and the end of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales (1967) – which also paradoxically marks the beginning of the 13 year wait for Scotland to partially decriminalise homosexuality, in 1980.
The Queer Times project, exhibition and public programme has been carefully developed by GoMA over 18 months, in discussion with artists Ajamu Ikwe-Tyehimba and Jason E Bowman, alongside various LBGT organisations, associations and academics. The project will unfold over an eleven month period (May 2018 – March 2019) with events on LGBT+ heritage that will culminate in new work for an exhibition and public programme at GoMA.
Jason E. Bowman, Scottish artist and researcher, and MFA: Fine Art Programme Leader at the Valand Academy, Univesity of Gothenburg, said: “As an artist and researcher working with communities I fundamentally believe that heritage can be generative not only of conservation and preservation, but of criticality. I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund concurs. It has provided much-needed financial support to allow me to work with LGBT+ peoples to interrogate, in the contemporary, the obscured and marginalised histories and community endeavours that have affected lives prior to, during and post the 1980 decriminalisation of homosexuality in Scotland.”
Ajamu Ikwe-Tyehimba, a London-based fine art photographer and queer visual artist, said: “GoMA has consistently provided genuine space for LGBTQ artists and others within its programme and has not been afraid to push boundaries in regards to creativity, and more importantly, theoretically. I have had the pleasure of working with GoMA over the past decade and each time I encounter GoMA, I wish more galleries and museums would take a leaf out of their book. This funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund allows this work to develop further and I am looking forward to After Dark launching the Queer Times project in May.”
Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor David McDonald, said: “I am delighted that GoMA has been awarded this funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue their important work in bringing marginalised histories and communities into an international visual art discourse.”
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland said: “Queer Times is a fine example of HLF’s Sharing Heritage programme that, thanks to National Lottery players, makes it possible for local people to choose what is important to them, what they want to save, and how they want to spread the word throughout their community.”
The Queer Times exhibition and public programme will emerge from archival and ethnographic research in museums collections, especially the education collections, alongside participatory processes, discussions and performances. The project will connect audiences – both those who regularly visit GoMA, and those LGBT+ audiences that may not – to a less well-known historical narrative about the 13 year wait for Scotland to decriminalise homosexuality in 1980, Section 28 and its impact on education and civic life in Glasgow, and how understandings of that history relate to current experiences.
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