Out and About: Queering the Museum

Revealing and celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage in RAMM’s collections

Out and About: Queering the Museum is an intergenerational project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which will empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) communities to uncover and create existing and new LGBTQ+ heritage at RAMM.

Through this project, RAMM is furthering its commitment to creating a platform for underrepresented and marginalised voices. The museum seeks to become a space for open dialogue and discussion that allows members of the LGBTQ+ community to share their own perspectives on the collections.

Curators and engagement specialists at RAMM will work with Dr Jana Funke (an academic expert on LGBTQ+ history) and socially engaged artist Natalie McGrath to give LGBTQ+ people skills and opportunities to interpret the collections and reveal previously obscured aspects of LGBTQ+ heritage.

Through a series of events, an online trail and website, a series of artist commissions, a new piece of creative heritage writing and a permanent installation, LGBTQ+ heritage will be highlighted and shared with RAMM’s audiences. Content is also shared in a Collections Story on RAMM’s new Collections Explorer website.

Project Background

Out and About: Queering the Museum has resulted from an existing collaboration with young LGBTQ+ people and RAMM, led by McGrath and Dr Funke. This collaboration led to the launch of the Rainbow Trail at RAMM in 2019, which explored sexual and gender identity across time, place and culture.

“ I really liked it. It’s important to have the trail and build on it in the future. Our histories should be even more visible.” Young LGBTQ+ Person from the X-Plore Youth Group 

Project Commitments

Inspired by this earlier work, RAMM is expanding its engagement with LGBTQ+ communities, co-creating alternative interpretations of the collections and identifying stories from people that are underrepresented as a result of intolerance.

This is driven by the following commitments:

  • Collaborate in meaningful ways with diverse partners in the LGBTQ+ community, including people who are trans and non-binary and/or of colour.
  • Explore decolonial and anti-racist approaches to the LGBTQ+ histories embedded in the RAMM’s collections.
  • Make the RAMM a more welcoming and accessible space for all members of the LGBTQ+ community, so no one feels excluded because of their sexual identity or gender identity.
  • Ensure that learning from the project is shared with other partners in the museum and heritage sector.
  • Embed learning to guarantee an ongoing commitment that the stories and lives of the LGBTQ+ community remain integral to the museum’s work beyond the life of this project.

“One of the aims of this collaboration is to ensure that communities and groups who have not traditionally engaged with RAMM or the broader heritage sector see their stories reflected in the museum. The previous pilot project showed that young LGBTQ+ people often feel alienated from heritage sites, but are deeply invested in making historically under-represented LGBTQ+ stories visible.” Rachel Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Climate and Culture at Exeter City council

Keep an eye on the project webpage for information on the project as it develops and for information on opportunities to get involved. Although this project aims to develop partnerships with LGBTQ+ stakeholders and communities, the project outcomes are open to all.

Project team:

Learn more about the team behind the project on the Out and About website.

Artists and Collaborators:

This project includes opportunities for collaborations with artists, performers, writers, community groups, and volunteers. Please see the ‘Meet the artists’ page on the project website for a full list of collaborators.

The following artist have already been commissioned:

  • Oren Shoesmith (artist commission)
  • Caleb Parkin (artist commission)
  • Charice Bhardwaj & Carina Miles (artist commission)
  • Bird La Bird

The project will also be collaborating with Stand + Stare: an interactive design studio who combine digital and physical experiences to tell stories that connect people. They will be working with us on creating a long-term installation of LGBTQ+ stories for RAMM, as part of our ongoing commitment to diversify our collections.

For more information

Email [email protected]

Follow the project on Twitter #OutandAboutQTM

Visit the project website: outandabout.exeter.ac.uk