Categotry Archives: UK

Guest Blog: OutStories Bristol, LGBT local history in Bristol, England

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Working with schools to provide new interpretation for OutStories Bristol’s Revealing Stories ExhibitionMshed, Feb 2nd – March 3rd 2013.

Hello, I’m Mark. I’m a volunteer for OutStories Bristol, which is a group that focuses on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) local history in Bristol.  We’re about to set up our exhibition, Revealing Stories, especially for LGBT History Month 2013, about LGBT history in Bristol over the last 70 years.  Our exhibition is being hosted by MShed museum, part of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives,

revealing-stories-web-flyer-A6-200We started a year ago, collecting material culture, newspaper clippings, oral histories and research that relates to the city’s recent LGBT history.  We asked local people, museums and the Bristol Record Office for anything they could provide so that we bring it together as a single collection at Bristol’s newest museum.  It was amazing the amount of material culture, scans of documents, and newly created artwork we received and how much research we were able to do.

We wanted to ensure that our exhibition was accessible to everyone, not just LGBT people, or their family and friends, but everyone.  To help promote this, we worked with the Learning Team at MShed and invited local schools for a sneak preview of some of the exhibition, the students provided us their own interpretation to show their understanding, and to provide another layer of understanding for other students of a similar age, whether LGBT or not. As well as increasing the value of our exhibition greatly by broadcasting new, young interpretation, the work with schools also contributes to the ongoing work that the Bristol Museums’ Learning Team undertakes with local schools.

revealing-stories-web-flyer-A6-300-backThe schools worked with us in two strands – firstly, small groups of students from two schools contributed to the Revealing Stories exhibition with their own interpretation of the objects, and their thoughts and feelings based on their experiences of LGBT issues at school.  Secondly, young historians at GCSE and A-Level were invited to reinterpret parts of the permanent MShed displays to reveal ‘hidden’ LGBT stories behind them, tying our exhibition into the rest of the museum, and LGBT history in with the rest of Bristol’s history.  Examples of the discussions contributed by the schools for the Revealing Stories exhibition include ‘the history of the word gay’; ‘the colour pink and gender-stereotyping’; personal stories about ‘self acceptance and identity’; how Ian McKellen and Lady Gaga have changed the contemporary school-scape in terms of sexual orientation and acceptance; homophobia in British Football; and commentaries to go alongside Bristol Pride objects included in our exhibition.

We’re so pleased and proud that we’ve been able to connect with students on this project.  Considering the sometimes brutal history of LGBT people in Bristol, it’s really wonderful to celebrate, and openly discuss contemporary LGBT issues with young people, to receive such positive stories and well-thought out interpretation.

[The ‘Revealing Stories’ exhibition is running at MShed from 2nd February-3rd March 2013 to coincide with LGBT History Month.  The MShed is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm.

Mark is a volunteer for OutStories Bristol, in his other life he works leading a heritage project focussed on youth empowerment and encouraging young people to take responsibility for heritage assets.] 

UK: Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Style Africa @BM_AG

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Style Africa

The popularity of textiles with museum visitors across a range of ages led to the Style Africa exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery…

Supported by the HLF’s Young Roots programme and open until 2 September, Style Africa has been led by a team of 29 young people in partnership with staff at BirminghamMuseumandArtGallery. Through a series of hands-on sessions, site visits and meetings with local West African clothing retailers and designers, the group explored the changing traditions of woven, embroidered, printed and dyed clothing and textiles from Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The final exhibition also features a film made by young people from the Drum Arts Centre, who sharing their impressions of West African cloth.

The young people became involved for many different reasons, some for their interest in African textiles:

“I wanted to learn about West African culture in a hands-on way” says Liberty,

“I love the colours, the patterns and the meanings. Each textile tells a different story, which is something you don’t get with clothes from the high street” says Abbey.

Others took part to develop new skills:

“It was great to have an insight into what curating an exhibition involves” comments Sophie

Style Africa was also an opportunity for some of the participants to learn about their heritage:

“I took part because I’m from Sierra Leone and textiles are important in my culture” explains Bascilia.

Hayley Dutfield, discusses her involvement further:

“It was a great opportunity to voice what younger people would like to see in an exhibition. I’m particularly interested in the techniques so Style Africa was a way to showcase some of the historical cloth alongside more contemporary creations. During the workshops, we learnt about the different types of cloth and their importance in West African culture. As a group we were able to discuss, debate and decide on all elements of the exhibition; from choosing what textiles to exhibit, to the styling, layout and construction of the gallery space. Overall we wanted the exhibition to be an enjoyable experience that leaves a strong visual impact on the visitor”.

 
Style Africa
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
For more information, visit www.bmag.org.uk/events?id=1797

 

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