Queer the City
How can we create a visible and safe future for LGBTQIA people in Liverpool?
For over 3 years, our Queer the City project has brought LGBTQIA arts and culture into the mainstream.
We launched the project during Homotopia Festival 2020, working with queer writers, to create The Walk, an audio project that presented an LGBTQIA focus on areas of the city not usually viewed as queer. Since then our art installations in prominent places around Liverpool have been seen by over half a million people.
The Story So Far
During Light Night 2021 we hosted Queer the City: Drag Cabaret outside (and inside) LUSH Liverpool. Hosted by Filla Crack with performances from Dosa Cat, Dross and Baba Yagga. On the day, artist Leo Welton painted live, illustrating the windows of LUSH. Throughout the day our community sent statements of queer joy which Leo incorporated into the artwork.
Supported by Light Night, LUSH Liverpool & Liverpool BID Company
In the summer of 2021, following a spate of violent hate crimes against our community, Queer the City took on a fresh focus. Culture Liverpool (the city council’s department for culture and tourism) approached Homotopia and LCR Pride Foundation and asked us to put together a creative, community-led response.
For our first response we commissioned artist Sophie Green to create artwork that was displayed on digital screens across the city during what would have been Pride weekend (cancelled due to covid).
We went on to design a 2-year proposal that combines visible queer art with a programme of community building and training for venues and transport providers. As part of this project, we’ve also held two community consultations and an online survey to hear direct from our community and understand where/who/how the funds can best be allocated for the future of the project. Our proposal was deliberately flexible to leave plenty of room for input from across the city’s LGBTQIA communities.
During Homotopia Festival 2021 we continued to Queer the City with public art across the city. Unfortunately, within a week of being installed, two of the three artworks had come down and been destroyed. With support from our partners at FACT and LUSH Liverpool, we got the artwork reinstalled. Bigger, bolder and queerer.
Queer With No Fear by Ben Youden, at FACT
Hate Has No Place In Liverpool by Rosa Kusabi, at LUSH Liverpool
Queer Power by Dan Chan, in Liverpool ONE
Continuing into the winter months we exhibited newly commissioned artwork in Liverpool Central, Moorfields and Sandhills stations, welcoming holiday shoppers and Christmas night outers, reminding them ‘Liverpool is a city for all, so be sound and have a ball’ with artwork by Leo Welton.
In June 2022, we were invited by National Museums Liverpool to curate their first ever NML Xtra, a late night museum opening. For one night only, our Queer the City project took over the Museum of Liverpool. The evening showcased some of the region’s most exciting LGBTQIA artists all under one roof, and the museum was brought to life with experiences, encounters and installations embedded around it’s galleries.
We also commemorated the life of Liverpool legend and trans icon April Ashley, who sadly passed in late 2021, with a giant portrait by Sophie Green, installed onto the window at the front of the museum.
Liverpool had the honour of hosting Eurovision for 2023, and during this time we brought our Queer the City programme back and commissioned two artists to create illustrations which were placed around the city to show the creativity in Liverpool and Ukrainian artists. The two artists chosen were Daniel Skripnik from Kyiv, Ukraine and Lydia Hignett from Liverpool, UK.
Thank you to our partners on this LCR Pride, Liverpool BID Company, Lush Liverpool and Liverpool City council.