Queer Space in Scotland: co-opted, redesigned

Past event Wednesday 15 February 2023

Explore how the LGBTQ+ community in Scotland have and continue to redesign and co-opt space.

How do we make gathering places? How can space be created for different identities and communities? How has the LGBTQ+ community made those spaces safe?

Join us for an open roundtable discussion chaired by Dr. Adele Patrick in conversation with experts, activists, and those with lived experience to consider how the LGBTQ+ community have redesigned and co-opted space to find each other and define spaces of their own.

Speakers include:

Glyn Davis is a Professor of Film Studies at the University of St Andrews; he is a historian and theorist of queer and trans visual culture.

Keava McMillan is an art historian who teaches at Edinburgh College of Art and researches queer women and artists working at the beginning of the 20th century.

Jaime Valentine taught and researched for over 30 years at the University of Stirling. In 2002 he co-founded OurStory Scotland, collecting, archiving and presenting the life stories of LGBTQ+ people in Scotland.

Bob Orr made his home in Edinburgh when he moved to study there from Glasgow in 1973. He set up SMG Bookstall in 1976 to raise funds to support the nascent Gay Centre in Broughton Street. In 1978 he expanded the stock and changed the name to Open Gaze. He worked with Sigrid Nielsen from 1979 and opened Lavender Menace Bookshop with her as a partner in August 1982. With his now husband, Raymond Rose he opened West & Wilde Bookshop five years later which traded until 1997.

Sigrid Neilson with Bob Orr, co-founded Lavender Menace Bookshop in Forth Street, Edinburgh in 1982, and edited In Other Words: Writing as a Feminist with Gail Chester (Hutchison, 1987) - returning to work with Bob, she co-organised Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive in 2019 in order to save threatened queer books and tell the stories of queer writers.

Adele Patrick has been developing innovative cultural projects and community learning and teaching rooted in equalities for over 30 years. She co-founded Glasgow Women’s Library in 1991 and is currently a Co-Director. Adele is also a V&A Dundee Board Member.

This event is part of ongoing work V&A Dundee is undertaking to redress missing narratives in Scottish design history and builds on the Lavender Labels which were added to our Scottish Design Galleries in 2022. These labels have been co-written by V&A Dundee's LGBTQ+ Working Group with an external advisory group and illuminate histories and expand the contexts of ten objects from LGBTQ+ perspectives.

Through this ongoing work V&A Dundee aims to become a more inclusive and welcoming place for members of the LGBTQ+ community, insights from this open roundtable discussion will help inform future plans.

Image: Courtesy of Glasgow Life (Glasgow City Archives) on behalf of Glasgow City Council

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