Pride building

LGBTQ+ Working Group

A group of V&A Dundee employees holding a banner with the slogan "Designed with Pride!" whilst marching in the Dundee Pride parade

Looking to the past to inspire the future

Our LGBTQ+ Working Group explore previously hidden or unknown LGBTQ histories to create a space for both visitors and staff which is inclusive and welcoming for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Current Projects

Our LGBTQ+ Working Group are continue to work with curators to identify objects within our museum which have queer connections, whilst exploring how we can bring these stories to life .

Lavender Labels in the Scottish Design Galleries

In April 2022, as part of ongoing conversations around queer connections with the Scottish Design Galleries, the group invited members of LGBTQ+ community from around Scotland into the museum to explore our galleries, providing space for discussion and debate around how they'd like Scottish queer history to be represented within the museum.

As a result of this consultation, the LGBTQ+ Working Group added a set of ten new labels to the Scottish Design Galleries in November 2022 called the Lavender Labels. These purple labels reinterpret objects already in the gallery from an LGBTQ+ perspective, exploring queer histories and connections sparked by some of the objects. The Lavender Labels were co-written with the LGBTQ+ Working Group, Keava McMillan, Glyn Davis, Jeff Meek and OurStory Scotland.

These labels are the initial step towards Queering the galleries and the wider museum. We are continuing to research ways to weave LGBTQ+ narratives throughout the Scottish Design Galleries in order to better reflect society at large and the various ways individuals, designers and makers contribute to our understanding of the world around us.

Queering the Map

In February this year we held a talk titled Queer Space in Scotland: co-opted, redesigned. With Adele Patrick, Lavender Menace, OurStory Scotland, Glyn Davis and Keava McMillan. We explored how the LGBTQ+ communities in Scotland have had to continue to redesign and co-opt space to be together. Following the talk we had a workshop facilitated by OurStory Scotland, where we invited queer communities in Dundee to map their places of significance to create a Queer Map of Dundee. Dom Miller-Graham, current chair of OurStory Scotland, who ran the workshop, says:

“Inspired by the counter-cartography project based in Canada, OurStory Scotland have co-ran Queering the Map events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Ayr and, of course, Dundee. You can compare our community map of Dundee with Edinburgh here

Queering the Map is a wonderful way for our community to come together and share stories about the significant places in our lives. The stories coalescing around a place, private and domestic, offer us a glimpse into the lives of individuals, those who shared said spaces and, of course, those who did not.

Due to discrimination many of our places were kept hidden from cis het society, this was out of necessity to reduce the risk of violence but also reduced some places to myth or legend in the eyes of history. Sharing our stories and collectively recording them on a map offers us an opportunity to create a physical record of LGBTQI+ life. This is a record of our community through time, charting changes experienced by different generations of the LGBTQI+ community and subcultures within it.

Our society is not built equally and therefore neither are the spaces we use. Acceptance and exclusion can also be found in our community maps, classism, racism and ablism frustratingly continue to shape our spaces and those who can access them.”

The Queer Map of Dundee created as an outcome of the workshop was designed by Cat Laird.

A graphic of the pride flag colours with black shapes.

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