An essential part of Pride is listening to and supporting all members of the LGBTQ+ community and, as the BLM movement showed us, it is still very common for marginalised sections of our community to feel they are not being heard.
In 2018 we introduced the Pride Cultural Development Fund to promote creative/professional development, international exchange and showcase opportunities.
To date over 180 creatives have been involved and a very high proportion identify as QTIPoC or present culturally diverse narratives.
The following shows what the Pride Cultural Development Programme (PCDP) has so far offered.
Small grants to individual artists, creative collectives and community groups to help cover project costs – costumes, instruments, artist fees and venue hire for performance, rehearsal or studio space etc.
The grant awardees included a series of portraits entitled “Hijras of India” produced by Bharat Patel a BSL-signed reading of Shanni Collins children’s book of rhymes exploring LGBTQ, disability, illness, fostering, adoption, gender, ethnicity and culture to promote love, understanding and respect to children aged 3-10, and other funded activities including a Trans literary salon, a theatre performance and a radio show.
A PoC artist was commissioned to create a new mural for the exterior wall of the Marlborough Pub – artwork that was a special feature of the Trans Pride and Pride seasons in 2018 and 2019.
In partnership with Socially Engaged Art Salon (SEAS), Pride presented ‘Colour My World’ (CMW), one of the biggest and most diverse exhibitions of LGBTQ+ narratives ever seen in the city featuring creative contributions from over 60 artists, filmmakers and activists from the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
The fully accessible BMECP centre (Black & Minority Ethnic Community Partnership) hosted a satellite CMW exhibition featuring the work of artists invited to participate via an international open call.
‘Colour My World’ also had a 2-week tenure at Jubilee Library featuring 8 guest professional artists – 7 of whom identified as QTIPoC and the work of the 8th artist featured the QTIPoC community as the subject matter. The art was seen by the many thousands of visitors to the library and Jubilee Square passersby every day.
BMECP also provided the venue for the ‘Pride in Our Community’ Open Day hosted by QTIPoC drag act ‘Son of a Tutu’ and it featured a mixed programme of pop up activities that attracted a high volume of diverse visitors – many of whom had never engaged with Pride previously.
The partnership with SEAS/BMECP continued in 2019 with Pride’s support for the ‘Riot!’ exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The work of local and international artists was exhibited over 2 floors of the building alongside a supplementary programme of QTIPoC-led workshops, talks, screenings, performances and creative interventions.
Jubilee Library hosted 3 separate PCDP exhibitions throughout the July/August 2019 Pride season featuring QTIPoC artists and/or subjects – ‘Stonewall Solidarity’, ‘Queer Letters’ and ‘neXus’. The latter was also featured at Vrystaat Arts Festival Vringe in South Africa and presented the contributing artists with a unique opportunity to collaborate with their peers and raise their profile in the international arts arena.
Small grants were also awarded to a very diverse range of applicants including graphic artist Josef Cabey whose tribute to Black LGBTQ icons and pioneers featured a vibrant series of digital artwork. Alanna Blake in collaboration with Allsorts Youth Project also received a grant for a portrait series featuring LGBTQ+ young people under 26.
Larger grants were awarded to Marlborough Productions, Tramfrau and New Writing South:
Marlborough Productions’ grant was for an activity to pursue their ongoing mission of making Brighton Pride a safer space for QTIPOC, women and the HIV community offering empowering representation and activities.
Traumfrau joined forces with The Queer Songbook for a unique collaborative event celebrating Brighton’s vibrant community and queer voices.
New Writing South received a grant to present “The Coast is Queer” a live LGBTQ+ literature event.
Obviously, the plans for the 2020 PCDP were impacted by the global pandemic, however, Pride was able to support the neXus 2020 project by contributing to the print costs for the local LGBTQIA+/QTIPoC artists exhibiting work at pop up sites at Brighton Dome, Jubilee Library, 14A Jubilee Street, Attenborough Centre and at Plus X which is still in situ as they were hugely impressed with the quality of the work on display. We are also proud to have donated resources and support to the BLM Brighton movement.
Despite the rest of the PCDP 2020 program being severely curtailed, Pride fully intend to continue with a range of meaningful engagement activities in the future by supporting artists to nimbly flex between physical and digital environments.
The aim is to grow PCDP into a year-round program that will complement the existing cultural calendar with events throughout LGBTQ History Month (February), Brighton Festival/Brighton Fringe (May) and Brighton Digital Festival/Black History Month/Photo Biennale (October).