Call for contributions to new Pride exhibition
Sunday 22 November marks the birthday of Benjamin Britten. As well as being one of the most celebrated British composers of the 20th century, he was also an inspirational contributor to Suffolk’s LGBTQIA+ History – so what better reason to announce the next stage in Suffolk Archives’ Pride in Suffolk’s Past project?
This detailed project, which started in 2019, set out to discover and share the hidden stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Suffolk’s past, while also collecting contemporary stories from this thriving community today.
The next stage in the project will see the new exhibition gallery at The Hold on Ipswich waterfront host a special display from February to April next year. The exhibition will share and publicise these stories and document people’s experiences through this period of monumental societal change towards sexuality and gender identity.
Holly Wright, Heritage Trainee and contributor to the project, said “We have uncovered so many fascinating and moving stories in the archives that show that LGBTQ+ people have always been part of Suffolk’s community. Their stories have historically gone untold, because of legal and social repression, but through our new exhibition we aim to put this right.”
Although notable individuals such as Benjamin Britten are featured, the exhibition will also reflect the experiences of ordinary people, and crucially the LGBTQ+ community in Suffolk today. As a result, the project team are inviting contributions of objects, such as memorabilia from your first Pride parade, or photographs of your wedding day, that could be incorporated into the display. Anyone with personal items that could be exhibited should email [email protected]
Contemporary stories are also being collected through an online survey, which will feed into the exhibition and help us to create a full archive for the future: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/pride-tell-us-your-story/
For just a taste of what is to come in February, visitors can explore the initial Pride in Suffolk’s Past online display, which was created in support of Suffolk Pride earlier this year.
Councillor Paul West, Portfolio Holder for Heritage, said: “It is wonderful to see this Sharing Suffolk Stories project progressing to its next stage, demonstrating the positive effect the National Lottery Heritage Fund investment in Suffolk Archives is having on outreach work. I am looking forward to seeing what contemporary contributions are received to complement the stories researchers have already uncovered in the archives.”
This project forms part of Sharing Suffolk Stories, the countywide National Lottery Heritage Fund supported programme of activities which enables communities to discover more about the history of where they live and to share it in new and engaging ways.