Pride in Our City

Humber Museums Partnership - Pride in Our City

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About Pride in Our City

On 25 July 2020 we launched the digital exhibition, Pride in Our City, in the middle of the COVID-19 national lockdown. We worked closely with colleagues at Yorkshire MESMAC and Pride in Hull to capture lived experiences and provide a space for our local communities and audiences to share their own voices. Providing an authentic experience for all, when our museum sites were closed, was an important goal for us.

Explore that first exhibition here – Click Here

However, the Pride in Our City project didn’t start there; in early 2019 we began by acknowledging that LGBTQ+ narratives were under-represented in our museums. We organised staff training and started to discuss what stories we should be telling and considering how to tell them. We then started researching our collections and the local LGBTQ+ history of Hull, and we teamed up with The University of Hull, with some of the students writing excellent blogs exploring the heteronormative view of history from the modern day.

Explore this work here – Click Here

We now welcome you to explore, Pride in Our City – a community-led retelling of our collections. This exhibition celebrates Hull’s LGBTQ+ history and documents people’s own experiences of being part of LGBTQ+ communities in the city. We have been working in partnership with our local communities to rediscover the LGBTQ+ stories our collections hold, identifying the importance of these narratives to individuals and to Hull’s rich LGBTQ+ heritage.

Hull Roundheads

The Hull Roundheads are an inclusive rugby team founded in 2018, where people of any gender and sexuality can come together for the love sport. Early on in Pride in Our City discussions, it became apparent that the “locker-room” holds a great significance to several members of the Roundheads. For many, early memories of this space stem from negative experiences of physical education classes at school. As young LGBTQ+ people navigating their own identities, many considered sport – and its locker-room rituals – hostile to those who didn’t identify as heterosexual and/or cis-gendered. Some players spoke of a vulnerability within the locker-room, and a “double consciousness” to their own behaviours: “you’re there as a young person going through all these experiences, but you’re not really one of them. There was an envy about the casual straightness – how natural and confident and comfortable other boys at school were”.

For this exhibition, the Roundheads have been exploring the locker-room through visual and oral testimonies, challenging the stereotypes that exist around LGBTQ+ communities and sport.

Professional photographer Richard Dafydd is a member of the Roundheads rugby team. In this portraiture series, Richard and the team look to “break down the idea of what it means to play rugby”. Shot over two days, the series celebrates how the Roundheads exist beyond the limitations of stereotype and challenges the barriers facing the LGBTQ+ community in sport.

Visually, there are parallels to David Hockney’s Life Painting for Myself – a work from the Ferens permanent collection which influenced the style of the series. Much like the way Hockney depicts multiple versions of self, the Roundheads have chosen to capture the multi-facetted identities of the team members through this series of layered portraits, reflecting the multiple and varied aspects of what it means to be a rugby player.

Discover the David Hockney painting here – Click Here

    Click here to see images in full size

“PE was always really difficult… I used to put myself in a corner where I wasn’t in the eye line of anybody. I’m that person that would get changed secretly, with as little attention as possible. I was so hidden away, and I constantly felt like people were looking at me or thinking “God, what are you doing here?'”

Creating this series of photographic portraits for display in the Pride in Our City exhibition prompted further conversations about the locker-room as a space. We chatted to ten members of the Roundheads rugby team about their own experiences associated with the locker-room and invited them to speak honestly about the dominant masculinities associated with such a space.

Comparing physical education classes at school to the world of inclusive rugby, the Roundheads discuss the vulnerability of communal spaces, and question why sport holds negative associations for so many LGBTQ+ individuals. The resulting audio piece offers a frank look at the spaces which shape us and their influences later in life.

Listen on Youtube – Click Here
Or on Anchor – Click Here

Find out more about the Roundheads here – Click Here

Step Out

Step Out is an LGBTQ+ youth group for 11-16 year olds, run in partnership with Cornerhouse and The Warren. For Pride in Our City, Step Out have been exploring LGBTQ+ histories within Hull Museums’ collections, questioning their relevance to contemporary society.

Queen Anne was said to have shared a “romantic friendship” with Sarah Churchill, who later became Keeper of the Privy Purse. In 1708 rumours began suggesting Anne was having a same-sex relationship, and pamphlets were circulated to try and disgrace and humiliate the queen.

Inspired by the story of Queen Anne, Step Out have created a zine (a self-published, free-form print-work which emphasises personal expression) about the experiences of, and issues facing, young LGBTQ+ people today. Self-made publications have long been associated with LGBTQ+ communities and Step Out have created this zine to tell their own stories, in their own way.

Where Queen Anne fell victim to the power of publicity, Step Out are using the self-published format of the zine as an act of re-claiming power.

Visit the exhibition to pick up your own copy of the zine to keep.

Explore the story of Queen Anne further in this Curator’s Choice blog – Click Here

Find out more about Step Out here – Click Here

    Click here to see images in full size


Shout is an LGBTQ+ youth group for 16-25 year olds based at The Warren. Through a number of artist-led workshops, Shout have identified several objects within the Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Museums’ collections which resonate with them. They have explored the history of these objects in relation to their own experiences.

Inspired by some of the political change-makers represented in the Pride in Our City exhibition, Shout have been considering their own platforms to enact social change. They have come up with a number of slogans and statements that call for a better world. They hope that these powerful placards help visitors to Pride in Our City to better understand the kind of issues facing LGBTQ+ youth today.

Find out more about Shout here – Click Here

    Click here to see images in full size


This playlist has been curated by LGBTQ+ communities involved in the creation of this exhibition. The chosen songs represent the soundtrack to the life-events and experiences highlighted on the gallery walls.

Whether it’s Lizzo hyping up the Roundheads before a game, or a member of Step Out enjoying Måneskin as distraction from gender dysphoria, each song represents an important memory. What songs make up the soundtrack of your life?

Listen to the full playlist on Spotify here – Click Here


For this exhibition, the community groups and individuals have offered alternative interpretations of the art and the social history collections on display.

For example, one object that resonated with Shout in particular was the As You Like It Theatre Programme from the Grand Theatre Hull (now the Hull New Theatre) which inspired the group to come up with their own analysis of gender in the modern world. In As You Like It, the character of Rosalind must disguise herself as a man following exile. In the play, Rosalind performs a form of masculinity, but the performativity of gender is something we all engage in on a daily basis.

Here are some examples of these interpretations, but to explore the exhibition though these voices in full visit Pride in Our City at the Ferens Art Gallery.

In Conversation With...

To celebrate Trans Awareness Week 2021 we are showcasing Trans narratives and voices. In each episode Matthew Sedman, the Pride in Our City exhibition Lead Creative Artist chats with a new guest about their own lives and work, the experience of Trans people in employment, health care, and day-to-day life, and they even discuss some excellent book recommendations along the way.

Episode 1 – Activist Christine Burns MBE.

Episode 2 – Writer Tabby Lamb.

Episode 3 – Co-founder of Trans Aid Cymru, Shash Appan.

The In Conversation With… series also included a live event – An Evening with Shon Faye, hosted by Charlie Craggs.

Shon Faye is the award-winning artist, activist and author behind the Sunday Times Bestseller The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Social Justice. After training as a lawyer, Shon went on to pursue a highly-acclaimed career in journalism and campaigning, having previously worked with Amnesty International and Stonewall, and as the editor-at-large for Dazed. The Transgender Issue is a landmark work that signals the beginning of a new, healthier conversation about trans life. It is a manifesto for change, and a call for justice and solidarity between all marginalized people and minorities. Trans liberation, as Shon sees it, goes to the root of what our society is and what it could be; it offers the possibility of a more just, free and joyful world for all of us.

Shon was joined by Charlie Craggs, the “voice of a community” (Vogue) behind the national campaign ‘Nail Transphobia’ and award-winning book ‘To My Trans Sisters’. Most recently, Charlie presented the BBC 3 documentary ‘Transitioning Teens’.

You Are Welcome Here

We were excited to welcome the Bordello Collective to the Ferens Art Gallery to celebrate and mark the closing of the Pride in Our City exhibition. The Collective explored, connected, and interpreted the body of work in the exhibition and used this to create a multimedia live art happening right in the heart of the gallery, titled You Are Welcome Here.

This happening was responsive and incorporated spoken word, soundscape, audio visual projections, installation, and movement within their performance and highlighted existing work whilst creating new work in response to the Pride in Our City exhibition.

This event was positioned at the final stage of the exhibition as it was not intended as a ‘full stop’ but more of an ‘ellipsis’, a multi-faceted creative response to ask, “What next?” and perhaps, we hope, left people asking “Where can we go from here?”

Families, Families, Families

Inspired by the exhibition Pride in Our City at Ferens Art Gallery, Hull Museums and Hull Early Year’s Service worked together with local community groups to bring you a special reading of the Imagination Library Book ‘Families, Families, Families’, written and illustrated by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang and published by Penguin Random House.

Want to explore further?

Pride in Our City – The Podcast

Pride in Our City – The Podcast brings you a series of introductions and conversations between Podcast host Dan Vo and members of the Pride in Our City project team. Throughout the series Dan chats with project curators, artists and community members about their involvement in Pride in Our City, going behind the scenes to find out what it means to them to be involved.

Listen to the podcast on Youtube – Click Here
Or on Anchor – Click Here

And find out more about each episode and the guests here – Click Here

LGBTQ+ Gallery trail

The LGBTQ+ gallery trail highlights queer narratives in the gallery’s collection and invites you to consider key themes and histories, to get you thinking and chatting about art, identity, gender, and sexuality.

From Hercules to Joan of Arc, and from Rosa Bonheur to the two Roberts, you can explore them all via this brand-new trail which shares LGBTQ+ narratives not previously told in the gallery’s displays.

Look out for the progress Flag Labels throughout the Ferens Art Gallery.

Find out more about the trail here – Click Here


This exhibition is the latest strand of the Pride in Our City project. This is an ongoing project which aims to actively increase LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation across all of Hull Museums and the Ferens Art Gallery. The long-term project continues to be developed authentically with local communities with the view to offering new experiences and perspectives, and to encourage discussion and self-expression.

This exhibition was developed through collaboration, with acknowledgement to the following:

The Warren Youth Project
The Hull Roundheads
Yorkshire MESMAC
Pride in Hull
The University of Hull
The Hull & East Riding LGBT+ Forum
Studio Capri
Matthew Sedman
Dan Vo
Arts Council England

With special thanks to community members and individuals who have contributed.

Pride in Our City
14 August – 5 December 2021

Plan your visit at

Humber Museums Partnership