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Exhibition highly regarded

The GBR exhibition was taken down on Saturday 31st May, after a very successful month at Symphony Hall. We had lots of very positive comments and praise. Since then, parts of the exhibition have been displayed at a Community History event at the Library Theatre, attended by people from the Midlands and beyond. Fourteen of the 34 panels were on display and project manager Lesley Pattenson gave an impromptu presentation on the project. Twelve panels were displayed at the Northfield Constituency Conference in late June, and several at an Early Years Learning event at the ICC on 2nd July. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission have asked to take some of the panels for display in the waiting area and boardroom of the Midlands regional hub premises in Birmingham.We are currently negotiating new sites for the exhibition; if you know of any space, or organisation which could host it, for public or private viewing, please get in touch with us.


Exhibition launch a huge success

The exhibition was launched on 8th May, with nearly 100 invited guests representing the statutory and voluntary sector, commercial and arts organisations as well as contributors, GBR staff and volunteers and the Birmingham LGBT Community Trust trustees.


Keynote speaker [Michael Cashman], MEP said that the exhibition had brought back fond memories of people he had known and places he had been to in Birmingham. He said that whilst the exhibition is an excellent record of the achievements of many lesbian and gay people in Birmingham, and while we should appreciate how far we have come, we must never forget the journey we have come on. Lesbians and gay men must never become complacent because we could still lose the rights we have achieved.

Harriet Devlin, representing the [Heritage Lottery Fund] which funded the project described it as “A brilliant exhibition”.

Inge Thornton, Project Chair, said: “We hope that having the exhibition in Symphony Hall will draw it to the attention of and make it accessible to the wider population in and around Birmingham. The history of Birmingham's 60,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens is an integral but usually invisible part of the cultural heritage of the whole city, and not just the gay community.”

[Graham Allen], a former Director of Birmingham Museums, said he could never have imagined, in his days of gay political activism 30 years ago, that he would be contributing to a publicly funded project to capture and record the history and heritage of the city’s gay community.

The exhibition uses quotes, images, maps and additional information and covers a range of themes and topics covering meeting places, gay and lesbian politics, community organisations, and personal stories, as well as the changing attitudes of police, press and the council to lesbians and gay men. Lesley Pattenson, Project Manager, said the hardest part of putting the exhibition together was deciding what to leave out from the many memories and archive materials which are featured on the project website.


Past events

Website launch event a huge success

The website was officially launched on 21st February 2008 at the Library Theatre, with a panel of contributors and an audience of over 200 people, sharing their memories.