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PHM wins Heritage Lottery Fund support to mark LGBT legal 50th anniversary

PHM wins Heritage Lottery Fund support to mark LGBT legal 50th anniversary

11 April 2016

Never Going Underground t-shirt, 1988

The People’s History Museum is delighted to have received £63,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create Never Going Underground: The fight for LGBT+ rights, a large exhibition and events programme commemorating the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual acts in England and Wales (1967 Sexual Offences Act).

The exhibition will be on display at PHM from February to August 2017 and will be the culmination of 20 months of intensive work with local communities, unearthing hidden stories connected to the political and legal fight for LGBT+ rights, past and present.

The Never Going Underground programme will explore different areas of LGBT+ activism and campaigning, revealing the impact of decisions taken by government and lawmakers over the course of 200 years.  Visitors will be able to discover and share historical and contemporary experiences of marginalisation, through stories and events involving people who fought for change, alongside those of activists who continue to do so.  Contributions will also examine current issues effecting LGBT+ people and the ideas and rights which still need to be fought for both in the UK and internationally.

The project, although spearheaded by PHM, will be community-led and will be realised through the museum’s partnership with four LGBT+ community organisations; The Proud Trust, LGBT Foundation, Proud 2 b Parents and Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus.  A team of volunteer Community Curators are to be trained by the museum, all of which will lead the charge in uncovering fascinating hidden stories and developing the exhibition as a whole.  To celebrate the involvement of the community, there will also be a rare opportunity for people to win one of three 10 week long exhibition spaces to present their own work during the project.

There will also be a strong Family Friendly element, through the creation of engaging and interactive exhibits, Family Friendly activity packs and events to accompany the exhibition.  A Learning Programme for schools will also be developed.

Catherine O’Donnell, PHM’s Engagement & Events Officer said: ‘We’re delighted to have received this Heritage Lottery Fund grant to support Never Going Underground, enabling us to mark this significant anniversary for LGBT+ rights.  The core of this project is working together with local communities, uncovering fascinating local stories and bringing them to a wider audience.  We’re really excited to see what is discovered as the project continues to evolve’.

Paul Martin, LGBT Foundation’s Chief Executive said: ‘This is a really brilliant project which will seek to document a very important early period of law reform for LGBT people, and we are really excited about working with PHM and other organisations involved in this project’.

Matt Taylor-Roberts, Proud 2 b Parents Service Coordinator said: ‘Proud 2 b Parents is extremely grateful to Heritage Lottery Fund for giving us this opportunity, to showcase the specific history of the LGBT parent movement across the decades.  We feel this is fundamental for the continual growth of this unseen community.  We look forward to working in collaboration with other LGBT community groups across Manchester, and learning much more about the colourful rainbow past of the LGBT community.’

On behalf of Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus, co-Chair Kath Fox said: ‘We are all delighted to partner in such a major LGBT+ project and to have the opportunity to contribute our stories and songs to the events in 2017.  Arts activism is a big part of what we do and we are proud to raise our voices in song in support of the LGBT+ community’.

Heritage Lottery Fund