In the midst of pulling together HomeGrown: The Story of UK Hip Hop Curated Place ended up in the unusual position of also starting out research into what would have been the definitive exploration of the history of Gay Rights and the story of Manchester's legendary Gay Village for an exhibition opening in August this year. Timing was crucial, with 2010 welcoming in the 20th Manchester Pride festival and the 10th year of the incredibly influential LGF, this year made perfect sense for the remarkable story to come to light.
Sadly, following the closure of Urbis, we found ourselves in the position where all of the initial research had been done, we knew we had a great story to tell and we had the support of the majority of the significant players in the tale, but we'd lost a venue that was willing to engage with the hidden history of Britain and all of the logistical support that comes with it. However, rather than call it a day, we picked up the pieces that we already had in place, called in the people we already knew wanted to get their story out there and decided to take forward just one under recognised strand of the tale rather than let an important part of history go ignored again.
This week we're launching, in earnest, the project that is happening as a result of our dedication to exploring the fringes of contemporary culture, The Modern Lesbian. We're excited to be able to bring one of the most casually overlooked, yet most influential strands of our contemporary world to the fore. Taking the form of a 2 week pop-up exhibition, thanks to the support of 52 Princess Street and Manchester Pride, The Modern Lesbian is an audio and photographic exploration of the impact of gay and bisexual women on the cultural, social and commercial landscape of contemporary Manchester, tracing how their position at the fringe of the fringes has nonetheless impacted radically on the mainstream.
The exhibition features as a key event in this year's Manchester Pride Fringe and, whilst everyone is welcome, we're inviting gay and bisexual women coming to Manchester over the Big Weekend (28th-30th August) to add their voices and image to an extended project (which will contribute to a special event over the next 12 months) by having their photograph taken by artist Rachel Adams at our open studio event within the exhibition space.
This weekend I sat down with Rachel to discuss why she wanted to carry out the project, why the story being told is so important and what it's like shooting a 70 year old lesbian dominatrix who isn't shy on the details. Listen here now.
The Modern Lesbian exhibition takes place at 52 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6JX from 21st August - 4th September 10am-5pm weekdays, 12pm-5pm weekends.
The Open Studio Event is happening at 52 Princess Street on the 28th-30th August from 12pm-5pm.