Posted: 17th August 2021
The final episode has arrived…. and so has the exhibition!
Pride in Our City – The Podcast brings you a series of introductions and conversations between Podcast host Dan Vo (Dan’s Twitter) and members of the Pride in Our City project team. Throughout the series we have chatted, laughed and learnt from project curators, artists and community members, hearing about their involvement in Pride in Our City and what it means to them to be involved. The podcast has taken us behind the scenes the project, sharing updates during the lead up to our brand-new and exciting exhibition, Pride in Our City which launched at the Ferens Art Gallery on 14 August 2021.
The sixth and final episode features Matthew Sedman. Matthew is the Lead Creative Artist for the Pride in Our City project. He has worked closely with community groups throughout the development of the exhibition, exploring the collections with individuals and inspiring expression through creativity. Matthew has worked in partnership with Hull Museums and Ferens Art Gallery staff to ensure local communities are heard and provided with the opportunities to share their own voices in the gallery environment; developing a strong authentic narrative that runs through the exhibition.
In this episode Matthew shares a round-up of the previous podcast episodes and updates us on the community groups involved in the project now that the exhibition has launched at the Ferens Art Gallery.
Pride in Our City is at the Ferens Art Gallery, 14 August – 5 December 2021.
You can listen to all six episodes of Pride in Our City – the Podcast here:
Episode 6 – Click Here
Or on YouTube: Click Here
About Pride in Our City
The Pride in Our City project aims to increase LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion throughout Hull Museums’ research, interpretation, and programming. It is an ongoing project that prioritises co-curation with communities and new understanding of untold narratives.
Now, a focus group of local community advisors and a Lead Creative Artist are working with the Hull Museums team on the next steps of this project, to develop a community-led exhibition, showcasing Hull’s LGBTQ+ history at the Ferens Art Gallery.
Explore the Pride in Our City digital exhibition here: Click Here
Want to keep updated on the Pride in Our City project? Why not sign up to our project mailing list to have updates sent straight to your inbox. Find out more and sign up here: Click Here
Download a copy of the episode transcript here: Click here to download
Dan: Hello everyone and welcome to our Hull Museum’s Pride in Our City podcast. I’m your host, Dan Vo. And I’m so thrilled to tell you that we have arrived! Hurray! Get your best outfit out and your fanciest dancing shoes because this week Pride in Our City, the exhibition, it launches! Which is fantastic! So, on Saturday August 14 it all kicks off and it’s going to be so wonderful. You get to go into the exhibition, you get to see what we’ve been putting together, and it’s going to be running through to December so there’s plenty of time to go see it, but this weekend it’s just going to be abuzz. Because Pride in Our City, the exhibition, is a celebration of LGBTQ+ Hull. It’s been months, years, you could even say centuries in the making, because it truly is a celebration of LGBTQ+ Hull across time, and I just love it.
So today, we’re actually going to be speaking with someone you’ve heard quite a lot about, it’s Matthew Sedman who is the Lead Creative Artist for the exhibition. He’s a theatre director, writer and social anthropologist and for Hull Museums he’s very much been working together with a number of amazing LGBTQ+ groups in Hull. You’ve met quite a few of them via the podcast. And together they’ve been working to interpret the Ferens Art Gallery and also Hull Museum’s collections, so it’s really about our community telling our own stories, on our own terms, in our own way. And Matthew’s been involved with the project since April 2021, and like me, he just can’t wait for you and all the other visitors to come to the exhibition to learn about these inspiring people he’s been working with. Opening night is imminent now so it is an amazing exclusive scoop we’ve been able to bring Matthew to you, so over to you Matthew!
Matthew: So my name is Matthew Sedman, and I am the Lead Creative Artist for the Pride in Our City exhibition. So my role has been to work with the different community groups involved in order to interpret the collections of the Ferens Art Gallery and the Hull Museums in order to identify and celebrate the LGBTQ+ history behind them, and also to work with the community groups and tell their own stories by creating various different bits of content for display alongside the collection.
Dan: Well, some of the groups that you’ve worked with we’ve met on the podcast. So I’d love to get to the point Matthew today, where we’re going to start to actually pick through what has happened with them, but to start off with, how did you get involved and what’s your relationship to Hull and also Hull Museums?
Matthew: Well, so I was born and grew up in Hull, so that’s probably my immediate link. But in terms of queer history, just before lockdown happened, I was finishing up my studies in social anthropology and for my final bit of research, I spent some time in Berlin and I was focusing on sex positive communities and sex positive artists, specifically online sex workers and I was studying how online communities form around, sort of, queer identities and sex work. And that’s really what my interest in that came about from, I think, what I learned from that is that there’s a really interesting relationship between queer history and archival practices. And so often queer history has erased because it’s either been illegal or it hasn’t been fashionable, it’s been excluded from the dominant voice. The opportunity to create an archive with this exhibition and to tell those stories, so proudly, has just been such an amazing opportunity. So that was where my interest came with that.
Dan: And how did you start with the process of creating this exhibition? Where did you kind of start from?
Matthew: So the exhibition is community led and the community groups have been the focus of anything we’ve done. It is about telling their stories and telling what’s important to them. So I was really keen to meet all the different groups and kind of get a sense of what they were interested in, what kind of things they experienced on a daily basis and what they did in each of their, kind of, groups and the sessions they run. And it was all based on that really.
For example, with one of the youth groups, Shout, so they’re 18 to 25 year olds, it’s an LGBTQ+ support group run by The Warren. And it became really apparent very early on that they were very politically minded. Some of the things they did in their sessions were, they were creating a map of Hull and they were documenting the experience they’d had. And often they were negative experiences, unfortunately, but they were really keen on creating that record, in order to try and improve it for other LGBTQ+ youth. So very quickly on with that group, it became quite obvious that we could go down that political route. And, this exhibition has been a bit of an opportunity to educate the wider public.
So from their point of view, it wasn’t necessarily about telling their stories. It was about educating the public on what needs to change and what obstacles they face on a daily basis. So one of their key outputs is they have created placards and slogans, which are then going to be installed on the wall. And it’s going to be like a great, big, kind of a smorgasbord of statements and demands, and it’s going to be really great, some really colourful and kind of in the absence of traditional pride protests this year, I know things have had to be altered because of social distancing, I think this has been a really good opportunity to get that message out there.
Dan: So there’s still that public sense as well, because it is an exhibition, but the thing I love about protest is that when somebody designs their own plaque, it is so personal, isn’t it? And it’s also an act of artistic expression, isn’t it? And that makes it so suitable for a place like the Ferens Art Gallery.
Matthew: It is absolutely. And the placard, I suppose, is more than just the statement itself. It’s about how you kind of illustrate that statement. And lots of them are quite artistic as well, so they’ve done doodles and some of them are anime, so there’s that kind of graphic link as well. It’s very personal to the person. It is. It’s something that really affects them. So it’s their voice in quite a literal way.
I think the Ferens Art Gallery is so well-respected as well, and it’s got such a high foot traffic. So for them to be able to put those sorts of demands and placing calls for social justice in such a well-respected place has been really exciting for them.
Dan: In the first episode of the podcast we spoke with Lauren who kind of gave us this idea that there was a bit of a radical unknowing as to what exactly would happen to the exhibition. How have you held that, because I… it just sounds like such a nerve-wracking idea to kind of say here’s the big, let’s say the big white cube and we won’t know what’s going to happen until the community comes along!
Matthew: Yeah, it was, it was a little bit terrifying, actually. Very exciting! But I remember, when I was first starting discussions with Lauren and Elizabeth, at the very start, obviously it was in the height of lockdown as well, so I’d seen pictures of the gallery space and I knew that it was exactly 248 meters squared.
Matthew: But beyond that, it was a bit unknown. So it was kind of like… I can’t even picture that size in my head to be honest. So that was a bit daunting, but actually getting to know the community groups made it so much easier because I mean, in many ways they had the hard work because it’s about their stories and what they want to do. So I’m just a facilitator of that really. It’s just been kind of adapting it to social distancing. And how do we create things, on Zoom calls and various methods of communication, but actually coming up with the content wasn’t the hard part because it just came so naturally.
Dan: What kind of skills do you need in order to be a facilitator like that, to sort of just be open to people’s ideas. What’s really helped you through this process?
Matthew: I would say just a really strong sense of empathy. There’s a phrase I really like, which is, “You can’t tell our stories without us”. And the context of that is there’s an inclusive theatre company I really admire. And I think that really applies to this as well. I don’t think my job is to tell our stories on behalf of them. My job is to facilitate those channels for them to express themselves in the way that they find most meaningful. So I think just being able to listen to those stories, I’m thinking, okay, how would we do that in the gallery space? And how do we do that with all the social distancing considerations that are in place. And then sort of just coming up with logistics from there.
Dan: Shall we go through our list of speakers that we’ve had for the podcast series? Because with them previously it was about speculating, wasn’t it? This is what I like to do. Whereas now you can actually tell us what they did do. Whether they delivered!
Mathew: I can confirm what’s going on.
Dan: So, of course, first of all, we had Lauren Fields from Hull Museums.
Matthew: So Lauren is one of the project leads of the exhibition. So she works for the Hull Museums, and she works in social history. So she, along with Elizabeth Lindley, who, unfortunately no longer works with the Ferens, but she was the exhibition assistant. They have been, kind of, my gallery contacts and they’ve been overseeing the entire exhibition.
So I’ve kind of fed back to them what the community groups have done, what we’ve done in various workshops, and we’ve discussed how we can put it in the gallery space and also very crucially going through the archives of the gallery and the museums in order to find bits of artwork or kind of artifacts, which further express those stories.
And I think one of the really exciting things about the exhibition is that all of the interpretations, so what am I mean by interpretations are the context of the pieces and why we include them in the exhibition, and all of the interpretations for the artifacts and the paintings have been provided by the community members themselves. I think in kind of contextualizing the entire process for this, the history of the Ferens is that they haven’t ever done an LGBTQ+ exhibition. So it’s been done in collaboration with the various groups and, by the very nature of the LGBTQ+ community, I mean the fact that there’s a plus at the end, expresses that there’s a multitude of voices. So we have several different labels for several different objects kind of offering different perspectives on what that object means to various people and how that relates to their lived experiences. So with Lauren, particularly, from the curatorial side of things, we’ve been going through these labels and working out how to insert voices onto the wall and how to make it into the gallery.
Dan: There’s also a trail that’s been created, isn’t there?
Matthew: There has, yes. So, that was for the Creative Hull weekend, which happened a couple of weeks ago. And so Lauren and Elizabeth had been working on that and they’ve gone round to the gallery, the Ferens, so there’s a permanent collection in the Ferens so there’s paintings can’t really be moved into the temporary space we have for Pride in Our City. But they still, a lot of them still have LGBTQ+ history behind them. And we wanted to celebrate those somehow. So they’ve offered alternative interpretation labels, which sit underneath the traditional labels and it highlights those histories, which haven’t traditionally been told in that sense. And it’s really interesting. I mean, so I grew up going to the Ferens. There’s a big pride of lions, which is about two meters. It’s enormous. And it’s the first thing you see as you go in. And that’s what I associate with the Ferens, but actually from doing this and from that LGBTQ+ trail, I’ve learned that the artist that painted that was lesbian and has a really interesting, kind of history of feminism and she was such a pioneer in LGBTQ+ rights. So it’s been really fascinating to find those hidden histories as well.
Dan: That’s amazing. I started giggling because I just thought, oh, pride of lions, that’s very clever, but it turns out that there was a lesbian artist behind it as well.
Matthew: I think it’s just a brilliant coincidence to be honest, but yeah, she has, she has a really fantastic history. Actually, what’s interesting with the Ferens as well, is by being in the Ferens because so many people grow up going there and have such fun memories, the paintings in the Ferens automatically become part of the history of Hull.
So even the artist, Rosa Bonheur, she’s French, she’s not typically associated with Hull, but because she has that pride of place quite literally in the Ferens for so many people, I think that automatically becomes part of Hull’s history and to find the queer history within that has been really exciting.
Dan: Now that you say who it is, I actually love her. I think she was arrested once for wearing men’s trousers. Oh no, no. She had a special license for wearing men’s trousers, so she could paint.
Matthew: Yeah. Apparently at the time you had to apply for a permit to wear gentleman’s clothing, which is quite a terrifying thought, I think.
Dan: Let’s, let’s pick up on some of the other speakers. So I think we had Craig Moody next from Yorkshire MESMAC.
Matthew: So Craig works for Yorkshire MESMAC, and Yorkshire MESMAC, are one of the four community groups who are in the focus group for Pride in Our City. So any major decisions along the process, we’ve held a Zoom meeting with everyone, and we’ve consulted everyone or tried to find opportunities for their relevant groups to get involved and how we can sort of make it as meaningful as possible.
But Craig has been an amazing help in introducing me to various people who could get involved. And he’s also created a glossary for the exhibition about some of the key words, which we’ve used, and it’s going to offer members of the public kind of the history behind the words. And also what they mean, because I don’t think everyone’s familiar with some of the words which might be in the exhibition.
Dan: Are there any words that sprung up during this process that you thought is interesting?
Matthew: To be honest, what’s been quite challenging is with some of the artists, especially some of the artists from a few hundred years ago, often the words we use today around the LGBTQ+ community weren’t used, or just didn’t exist back when the painting or the object was created. So there’s this whole kind of… there are anachronistic logistics behind it. So how we talk about the artists and why we include them in the gallery has had to be handled quite sensitively.
One of the artists is Maggie Hambling, so she is alive today. She identifies as lesbionic and she hates the word gay. She doesn’t like the word lesbian, it’s lesbionic. And she lives with her “friend”, specifically “friend”, and not partner. And it’s been interesting to kind of work out, why lesbionic, what that means to Maggie Hambling, what that means to the work she creates and how we feed that into the exhibition. Because I think language is so sensitive and it’s so personal. It’s different for people. It’s something we have to be really careful of and really respect that.
Dan: I think most people will recognise her recently as being the artist of the Mary Wollstonecraft sculpture as well. A lot of press around that one.
Matthew: Very controversial. Yeah. The painting we have in the exhibition is called “The Laugh”. It’s kind of an abstract piece. That’s been interesting as well because she… she’s deliberately vague about what some of her work means. I mean, the context of her being in the exhibition is that she is lesbionic, she’s a member of the queer community. So it has that direct link. But in terms of the themes of the work. She, she paints things which are in the press and she paints things that are meaningful and need talking about, but she doesn’t really go beyond that and tell you what exactly it is she’s painting. So in terms of the interpretations, that’s been quite challenging to kind of stimulate discussions on that.
Dan: I do know that she is a longtime supporter and having created works as well, that went to auction to support groups like Stonewall UK, and also to protest Section 28 as well. So I think that someone who’s a long-term advocate of LGBTQ+ rights.
Matthew: Yeah, she’s a really interesting lady and I’m really pleased we can feature her in the exhibition.
Dan: So on the third podcast, we had Jamie Warmsley from Hull Roundheads.
Matthew: The Roundheads are an LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby team. They were formed in 2018, and they’re also in the focus group for the exhibition. So very early on in the process, it became apparent that the locker room was a very formative space for a number of them. I think it was a challenging place at school as people were struggling or learning about their own LGBTQ+ identities. And there was a lot of conflicts around that space. And it put a lot of them off sports as well. And then joining the Roundheads has been a completely different space and it’s a really positive space now, and there’s a real sense of community within that.
So we have a number of outputs that explore the locker in more detail. So first of all, we have a series of portraits which have been taken by Richard Daffyd. Richard is a member of the Roundheads, but he’s also a professional photographer and he came up with an idea. The Roundheads face a number of stereotypes, especially with rugby, which is seen as such a hyper-masculine sport. And I think a lot of pre assumptions around the Roundheads exist and they want to challenge that within the gallery. So Richard’s taken portraits of 10 of the Roundheads. The first image is of them in their rugby kit and another image is of them either their work uniform or something which represents another aspect of identity.
So for example, one of them does drag. So they are pictured in these most amazing heels and also in the rugby kit and the images are superimposed on top of each other. And we also have an audio piece of the locker room. So again earlier in the process, someone said they want the Hull voice to be represented in the space somehow, because I think with prejudice more generally, and homophobia and transphobia, it’s so easy to think that it doesn’t happen to people you know. I think it’s easy to think, you hear it on the news. It’s something that happens in big cities like London. It doesn’t happen close to home, whereas hearing the Hull accent, which is so familiar to so many people, would really nail the idea that actually homophobia and transphobia exists in the city, and we all have responsibility to tackle it. So a number of the Roundheads have done Zoom interviews with me, and they’ve, kind of, talked about their experiences, the locker room and what it means to them. And we have, kind of like a documentary, with different voices interspersed, exploring that in more detail.
Dan: When we’re speaking to Jamie, I think Jamie was sort of joking about the fact that all the players would be sitting over the shoulder of the photographer going, can you tweak that? Can you Photoshop that? Can you make that look a little better? Yeah.
Matthew: Well, I mean, the pictures look amazing. So if there has been any editing, it’s been very successful.
Dan: Well, I’ve seen a preview of it and it looks, it looks just stunning. Just the sort of the colors, the light and just the uniform. It’s so bright. Isn’t it?
Matthew: Yeah, it’s amazing. And actually there’s so many different professions represented. So actually, Craig has joined the Roundheads since starting this exhibition. So he’s portrayed and he represents sexual health. There’s a police officer involved. As I say someone that does drag. There’s a whole range of people in this is. It’s so great. They look amazing en masse as well. It’s going to take up a whole wall and I’m very excited.
Dan: I love it. Now, you’ve already mentioned Shout at the Warren, they’ve already contributed, that’s the older group. But we also spoke with Emily Wilkinson, who is in the younger group. It’s the Step Out group that’s also involved?
Matthew: Yeah, the infamous ketchup versus mayonnaise debate. I was actually lucky enough to be at that meeting when they were having that debate. And I have never heard so many strong opinions about condiments. I just sort of sat in the corner, not daring to say anything in case I said something wrong… the wrong sauce. It was very, very controversial.
Dan: Did they make you vote?
Matthew: No, they didn’t. Thankfully, because I think I would have made a few enemies if I had to! (laughs) Yeah, so Shout, so they are 11 to 17 year olds. They’re also based at The Warren, but that’s running in collaboration with Cornerhouse as well. So one of the key outputs is they’ve been making Zines. So when I met them the first time, a lot of them were saying they were struggling with school. And I think when you’re that age as well, it’s really frustrating when you’re that age, but it’s somehow like, respect your elders, the teacher’s always right. And if you disagree with them, you’re somehow talking back. And there was a real sense of frustration with, kind of, teachers that are either misgendering them or refusing to use their preferred names.
Yeah, it was just really awful to hear. So we thought, how can we use this opportunity to educate people? Disagree with them in a way that doesn’t come back as talking back or anything like that. And there’s also in the Hull Museum’s collection a coronation medal of Queen Anne. So Queen Anne people might know from the film The Favourite, she had quite an interesting relationship with two of her aides. And again, talking about this anachronistic kind of ideology of languages, it’s hard to say exactly what they were, but kind of, a same-sex friendship or relationship with her friend Sarah Churchill. And around that time, pamphlets were created in order to discredit Anne and spread rumors about her being in a same-sex relationship. And it was all politically motivated, but that was a real strong link to publicity and pamphlets and the power of publications in order to spread rumor and gossip.
So following on from that, and listening to Step Out talk about their experiences at school, we thought, what can we do? Zines! So I know zines have a strong link to the LGBTQ+ community anyway, and that it’s a chance to express yourself in a way that doesn’t rely on printing presses because often queer groups have been excluded from printing presses because of the whole dominant narrative and exclusion from the archive. So we’ve created a zine to tell their story, and express Step Out. So we had a couple of workshops where everyone was given an A4 page and a ton of glue, and magazines, and Prit sticks, and all sorts. And we just, we have… The only proviso was, it had to be on an A4 page, and they could express themselves however they like. So some people have chosen to collage, some people have written slogans, some people have written about their experiences and that’s going to be printed. And we’re hopefully going to have copies for the public to take away as well when they visit Pride in Our City and it just looks amazing. They’ve done such a brilliant job.
Dan: It’s also sort of cued the visual aspect of this exhibition as well, hasn’t it?
Matthew: Yeah, absolutely. So we actually chose the aesthetic quite early on. I mean, it was following the discussion with Step Out as well, but I think the idea of a zine. That you can self-express yourself and it’s something you can make from home. You don’t rely on anyone else. And it’s just a real personal thing. I think that fits really nicely to what this exhibition is trying to achieve. So I think we’ve given these community groups and space to express themselves and to talk about their experiences. So what better way to do that than through a zine. And I think actually seeing the finished item labels and the finished aesthetics, it looks amazing. And I kind of imagine the exhibition as a bit of a scrapbook. So everyone’s been given a separate page, do whatever they like with it. And together it creates this really powerful record of the LGBTQ+ history of Hull and the people within it.
Dan: One of the things that we spoke about with Andy Train, who was our last guest, number five on the podcast, podcast number five, was the idea that Andy would want to put from LGBT+ Forum an agenda into the archive. You know, here’s the history of the meetings of which we, kind of, plan things, but also Andy represents Pride in Hull as well so, you know, that massive celebration that you see… I think right from the start, Lauren was sort of remarking about that personal touch that people have, you know, going to picnics, being part of all that energy, which is something we’re going to try and recreate inside the gallery here. Andy Train, LGBT+ Forum, Pride in Hull, what’s sort of the wrap-up there?
Matthew: Yeah. So Andy Train, I think he’s the most knowledgeable person I’ve ever met on LGBTQ+ history. Honestly, you have a conversation with him and you come away with about three textbooks worth of knowledge. He’s amazing, he’s been just so helpful for pinpointing us to different places in Hull which have some kind of LGBTQ+ history.
Very early on when Lauren and Elizabeth found… Well, they made a long list of objects, which could be included in the gallery, which had some kind of queer history. One of the objects was a sign, a pub sign from the Polar Bear Pub. So the Polar Bear Pub still exists. I’m sorry. That was a tongue twister. The Polar Bear Pub still exists…
Dan: Go on, say it three times fast!
Matthew: (laughs) The Polar Bear Pub still exists. It’s going to be the new red lorry, yellow lorry, isn’t it? But the history behind it is that it used to be quite popular with the lesbian community. And I didn’t know that. So we thought actually, what other places have those histories? And Andy’s been brilliant because a lot of the clubs sadly don’t exist. Places like Frankie’s Vauxhall Tavern is now a funeral parlor. The old Silhouette Club down Spring bank, which I actually don’t know what is now, but it’s definitely not an LGBTQ+ establishment. And they just disappear so easily and so quickly.
So for someone like Andy to come along and actually have all this information hand has been so helpful and he’s also, he has such strong ties with the queer community across the city. He’s been able to put us in touch with those people who might have memories of those places and can document them for the exhibition and tell more people about them. Because I think the best way to keep these histories alive is through talking about it. And what better way to do it than with this exhibition, when we’re inviting people to share their stories and learn from one another.
Dan: The question I’ve got is, you’ve already mentioned the fact that there’s a multitude of voices and there certainly is. We’ve got so many voices contributing to this big mix. How do you hold that balance? How do you sort of look at that and kind of go, well, this is how we’re going to present it.
Matthew: It is, it is a tricky one actually. To be honest, the problem we had in the end is that we had too many voices and that’s not really a problem at all, but it’s about how you make that information digestible for the exhibition as well. I think, I mean, you’ll know from your experience as well, you can sometimes go to a gallery and if the walls are floor to ceiling full of texts and images it’s sometimes a bit overwhelming and you sometimes come out knowing less than when you came in.
So we’ve had all these interpretations offered, all these memories of the city. So it’s about how we can display them. And actually, the way we framed it was each community group had a few key objects, which were linked to the discussions they had at the very beginning of the projects about themes which might be relevant, and they’ve created the interpretations for those objects.
So in some ways it’s been made a bit easier because there’s less overlap. But also one of the things we have as well is a map of Hull. So we have a great big wall and people have been invited to contribute memories of places which have some significance to them. I think, queer history, we often just to see what happens within queer venues. So places like the Polar Bear Pub, Frankie’s Vauxhall Tavern, Fuel nightclub, Propaganda. Which are obviously very proudly LGBTQ+ venues. But being queer, it doesn’t exist within those four walls. You know, it happens all the time, all across the city. And I think we wanted to find a way to celebrate that and to represent that somehow.
So people have written memories and they’ve contributed little stories and anecdotes and it’s things like a particular park bench might have a meaning because, they sat and contemplated when they were feeling down or there’s a particular roundabout, which someone went to at four o’clock in the morning to meet their first boyfriend, and actually their uncle decided they wanted to walk their dog at the exact same time. And they were outed on a roundabout at four in the morning. A place like a roundabout has no significance to most people. It’s just a roundabout, but by finding that history and celebrating it in the gallery, I think it creates a much different record of the city.
And I think it reminds people that queer history is not this niche object. It’s part of everyone’s history. And as part of Hull’s history more broadly, it’s not like a special interest group, which I think a lot of people assume it is.
Dan: And it sounds like, the way that you’re doing it here then, there’s also space still for other voices to come in and be invited to contribute their story to this map.
Matthew: Yeah, absolutely. And I think one of the primary goals from the very beginning of this project, and actually Pride in Our City is a project… we’re talking about the exhibition on this podcast, but Pride in Our City was started a couple of years ago now. And it’s trying to increase the programming representation of LGBTQ+ voices in the Ferens and Hull Museums more broadly. So this exhibition is actually just one aspect of that. So I think it’s definitely going to go on beyond this exhibition and I don’t quite know what that will look like yet, but this exhibition is very much a commitment to more long-term work as well. And I think, I think the plan is to invite more people in to do more outreach and it’s going to be like a commitment to future engagement as well.
Dan: So Matthew, to wrap. What is your feeling now, then this really amazing project, there’s monumental effort that you’ve put into it as well… How do you feel as a creator? How do you feel as a curator? How do you feel as somebody who’s a Hull resident, who’s born and raised in Hull? What does it feel to see this come together?
Matthew: I’m just so excited for it to open. I’m really excited for the public to see what we’ve been working on. And I think what’s so special about this exhibition as well, is that because it has been community curated, the entire space is designed to represent things which people have said along the way. So I hope that when the community members we’ve worked with visit, they’ll see little things, which might not be obvious to the public, but things like the seating arrangement has been designed because someone said a comment just for a workshop six weeks ago, we’ve taken it on board. Or they see something they’ve written, or they see a particular color because they said green was their favorite color back in April. Little things like that. I hope people recognise their contributions to it. And I think it’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be amazing. I’m so excited.
Dan: Well, I mean, that’s the sense of pride that the community is going to feel. Matthew, I would like to know what you’re going to feel. So, we’re counting down the clock, as you say, we’ve got a press night. It’s about to finish and there’s just a few hours left in the clock before the doors open. The doors are going to be thrown open. You’ve spent all that time, hanging all the things, setting it all up, getting it ready, getting the party ready. What are you going to feel when those doors do open?
Matthew: Oh, I don’t know! I’m a bit nervous actually! I think I’m just going to be really proud of what we’ve achieved. I think this is very much a group effort. Everyone’s put so much time and energy into it, and I hope everyone recognises that. And I hope everyone’s really thrilled with the outputs.
Dan: Is there anybody that we’ve not mentioned, because we’ve met so many people on the podcast, but is there anybody else that you think should deserve a shout out for this exhibition as well?
Matthew: Yeah. So, I mean, David Eldridge. He is the founder member and the chair of the Roundheads rugby club. So he’s been my main contact whenever working with the Roundheads. And he’s put so much time into this and he’s always so enthusiastic and so facilitating. And he’s invited me to a number of training sessions and he’s always, yeah, he’s just been up for this exhibition from day one. So really, this would not have been possible without him.
Dan: Brilliant. Well, that’s the full focus group then. What would you like to say to them before the doors open? You know, let’s say have a secret huddle, let’s have a little huddle, you know, get the crew together.
Matthew: I’m going to have to get my sports analogies now, aren’t I? I’m the least sports person ever. What I would say is we’ve been building up to this for three and a half months. This is your work. This is your opportunity, and you’ve made this happen. So get out there and enjoy it and make the most of it and bring all of your friends. And most importantly, make sure you have a massive glass of bubbly tonight!
Dan: Brilliant. Well, thank you for the pep talk. Tell me, tell me a little bit more about what happens on Saturday August 14th?
Matthew: So the idea is to have a soft launch in the morning, so we’re going to open it up to the community groups, to give them a chance to see their work. And then I think at 12, it’s going to be open to the general public, and then it’s just the general public for the rest of it. I think unfortunately, because of Covid we can’t have like an official launch, because of social distancing and whatnot. So we’ll open up, give people a head start and then go from there. And then on until December 5th, I think the gallery is open every day from 10 to 4. So yeah. So it’s a nice run, actually, it’s very exciting.
Dan: Matthew, any final thoughts for the listener. An invitation perhaps for the listener to come to the exhibition?
Matthew: Please come and see us at the Pride in Our City exhibition from the 14th of August, to the 5th of December. It’s really exciting. We have so many different things in there and come and support the people who live in your city with you.
Dan: Lovely. I love it. Thank you. Matthew, congratulations.
Matthew: Thank you.
Dan: This has been the Pride in Our City podcast for Hull Museums. This is the last episode, for now. You never know, we might pop up. The exhibition is running through to December so we might just appear again and again. But for now we’re going to pause and say think you so much for your support. It also makes it even more important now to say: if you liked what you heard, please do rate, review and subscribe, because if you are subscribed, when we do the surprise pop up, you’ll be the first to know.
Now you can find us on social media, on Twitter as @Hull_Museums. I’ve been Dan Vo and you can find me as @DanNouveau. The podcast was edited by me and mixed by Samuel Gunn.
As I said, the exhibition opens August 14 and will run through until December so to find out more information about visiting safely go to the website humbermuseums.co.uk and just search for Pride in Our City. That’s it from me for now. As we say in the theatre back where I’m from – Chookas, chookas to the team! There has been such a wonderful amount of effort put into this exhibition, and the goodwill and buzz has just really been building. I can’t wait to see it, I can’t wait for the community groups involved to see it and see their contributions, I also can’t wait for you to see it. So please do come along. It’s been such a thrill and honour to be involved with this very important exhibition in the history of LBGTQ+ Hull, and thank you for listening, thank you for your support, and now, get yourself to the exhibition and have yourself a fabulous time!