We were commissioned by the Queer Heritage Collections Network and Cornwall Museums Partnership to create training packages for the industry in Cornwall.
The aim of this training is to support the heritage industry in moving beyond project work and embedding inclusive practice systematically.
This training package is now available for anyone and we welcome enquiries from any heritage organisation who would like support in inclusive practice.
We delivered this training at the Inclusive Collections Network to deliver a workshop to over 10 different heritage organisations from volunteer run to national organisations
“We established the Inclusive Collections Network in 2021 thanks to support from the Art Fund. The network exists to provide a safe space for collections engagement staff, curators and collections managers (both paid and volunteer) across Cornwall to come together. At the meetings we tackle inclusion with an intersectional lens, ensuring attendees can share experiences, review best practice, and collectively problem solve.” – CMP
We were keen to share the thoughts and perspectives of the Queer community towards Museums and attended the LGBT History Month event organised locally by FFLAG and Cornwall Pride bus tour where we conducted research on perceptions of museums within the community.
Some of the responses were very poignant and it felt important to start the session sharing the views of how the community felt served by the heritage sphere:
Some of the responses:
“My queer role models were always people in the present and popular celebrities, they were not scientists, writers, lawmakers or anything aspirational…because I was never seen in history. If I was able to see ‘me’ in history growing up I would have challenged my existence less.”
“As a genderqueer person with a very rainbow family, I don’t always feel welcome in traditional spaces such as museums. We get very good at looking out for clues that a place is ‘safe’. Some spaces have things on the outside which immediately show we will be free from harm and protected if an incident occurs”
“Growing up queer, I felt largely disconnected from heritage, I never saw my own story, recently I have seen more, however I remain keenly aware of the role heritage institutions have played in the erasure of my history”
We also created physical handouts in the form of a second edition of our zine ‘The Olden Gays’ and worked with the group to identify barriers to inclusion, and create a list of ‘tips for rural inclusion’ that can be adapted to any heritage organisation of any size and budget.
Our new iteration of our Zine was also published and given out to heritage professionals, workshop participants and youth groups to share the learning of LGBTQ Cornish History.
The team delivered a talk on this project at Queer Britain in Spring 2023 as part of the Queer Heritage Collections Network Conference.