Creative Skills Programme

Homotopia’s Creative Skills Programme is a new 12 month artist development programme for LGBTQIA+ young people aged 16 – 25 living in the Liverpool City Region.  

The programme, launched in May 2023 and began with monthly workshops for six months, open to all LGBTQIA young people aged 16 – 25 living in the Liverpool City Region. 
After six months there was a call out for a group show of early career artists, the successful artists worked with Casey Orr, an established artist and facilitator, to realise their work in a series of workshops over the following six months.  
Participants had the opportunity to explore new areas of creativity and/or develop existing skills in a variety of areas, ranging from illustration to photography, from graphic design to curation.  
This has culminated in a group show taking place at The Royal Standard. The selected artist are paid a seed commission for their work and supported by a development budget. Throughout the delivery of the exhibition there’s been mentoring available for any young creatives hoping to establish a career in creative industries, exhibition delivery and producing events. 
The programme is supported by Converse in collaboration with The Royal Standard and DuoVision and fits in with Homotopia’s aim to provide space and support for Queer culture and those who are dedicated to making it happen. 

The Artists

Claire Beerjeraz

Claire Beerjeraz (she/they) is a freelance Spoken Word Artist, Writer, Workshop Facilitator, Performer and Creative Therapist.

As a spoken word artist, Claire focuses her writing on the intersections of her own identity, lived experiences and issues placed within our society. Claire has headlined at venues across Liverpool such as The Everyman Theatre, Shakespeare North Playhouse, Hope Street Theatre and Tate Liverpool. She has been supporting act for Lemn Sissay at A Lovely Word festival and performed for the Mandela family during their civic reception. Claire was part of BBC’s Words First showcase and more recently, part of Binta Diaw’s Biennal exhibition, voicing poetry for their visual artwork.

Having moved to Liverpool at the age of 18, Claire’s exhibition explores her personal everchanging relationship with Liverpool. This creative expression particularly showcases the fluidity of how a city can construct and deconstruct the intersections of identity and what that means for a young person transitioning into adulthood. Her piece hopes to provide a shared experience which can evoke self-reflection and sense of resonation to her story.


Ellesha Doubleday

Ellesha Doubleday (she/her) is a self-portrait artist from Wigan, her work challenges societies expectations of women through crude and ridiculous humiliations of herself. Specialising in fashion photography, digital collage, 3D images, poetry, painting and sculpture. Her surreal and absurd work explores her personal experiences in a self-confessional manner, often using humour to navigate the depictions of her life.

For this exhibition: ‘You’re so special’ a series combining self-portraiture, digital collage and ceramic sculpture, explores two juxtaposing images. One showing promiscuous sexuality, the need for external validation through sex and relationships and the vulnerability that surrounds that whilst contrasting this is an image of self-redemption highlighting the validating self-acceptance she feels within, with the ceramic sculpture narrating the idea of feminine power and newfound respect. Through making this work she hopes to reiterate that every person has value and their uniqueness will only empower them, to allow people the space
to validate themselves and see their own worth.


Harry Garner

Harry Garner (he/him) was born in rural Leicestershire into a multi-generational farming family. The Christian faith was an influential part of his early development; traditional Christian ideas permeated through his school education and time at the local Evangelical Church. He studied Fine Art & Art History at Liverpool Hope University. Upon his graduation in 2019 he received the School of Creative & Performing Arts Prize and Liverpool Women’s Hospital Purchase Prize. Harry’s work has been exhibited across the UK, but he continues to live and work in Liverpool.

My work explores contemporary themes of faith and uncertainty. I create paintings that allude to narrative, and tell stories through implication. I am fascinated by the idea that painting can provide information, but not answers.

Using figurative painting allows me to stage vignettes, often derived from a historical context, that balance between the ambiguous and the specific. My subject matter defies straightforward interpretation, and often shifts between portrait and still life genres’.



Maia (she/her) is a Creative Portrait Photographer who has been living in Liverpool for 2 years with a background in theatre, make-up, and fashion, her work is infused with fine art influences and loves to play around with texture in her work.

As a self-taught artist, Maia initially ventured into photography by capturing the movement of live music performances. Transitioning from this, she delved into portraiture and editorial photography, due to the storytelling possibilities inherent in the medium.

This exhibition is being explored through the lens of Home, recognizing it as a foundational, unchangeable aspect of human existence. Through her exploration of this theme, she seeks to delve deeper into its complexities, both personally and creatively. Embracing introspection, Maia aims to challenge herself and her audience to reconsider their perceptions of home.


Monet (he/they) is an Irish AV artist with five years’ experience in the creative industries. They specialise in the nascent genre unfiction, but also work as a programmer & juror in film festivals across Europe. Most recently, their AV essay The History of Unfiction was awarded The Lynda la Plante Prize for Practice as Research.

When they aren’t exhibiting or performing poetry at venues around the city, they enjoy a rich social life as the creature haunting the Liverpool catacombs. Core themes in their work are superstition, liminality, and vulnerability.

For The City & The Self, they created a D&D campaign set in a fantastical Liverpool. This allowed them to reconstruct queer spaces for a party of players, and viewers, to explore.

For this exhibition they’ve partnered with Becks Harborne, they/she,
(@beckhit), an Oxford illustrator whose short film Project EA was shortlisted in the ‘Student’ category at Liverpool’s own Starling Film Festival.



Tish (she/her) is a Creative Historian from Merseyside with an interest in queer identity, space and community in the 20th Century. She is fascinated by how Liverpool operates as a liminal space for many individuals due to its nature as a port and its infamous cultural and political status. Tish explores how the city’s transitional nature becomes a lens in which to explore Queerness – reflecting on their shared liminality and their role in co-creating identity.

‘I am really interested in what the Scouse identity and Queer identity mean to people. When creating the photographs I have been asking the Queer people involved in the project: “What does Queerness mean to you? How do you take space as a Queer person in Liverpool? How do you connect to those around you? How does Liverpool’s Queer legacy impact you?” I found that being Queer in Liverpool operates in conflict; within and without, in pain and in humour, brutal yet tender.’