celebrating diversity lgbt history month library exhibition

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Celebrating Diversity LGBT History Month Library Exhibition February 2012 Anne-Marie Hayes paper given at the ALISS 2012 supporting diverse student populations conference


  • 1.Celebrating DiversityLGBT History Month Library Exhibition February 2012 Anne-Marie Hayes Subject Librarian: Art & Design and Media & Communication

2. Since it opened in 2000 the Lanchester Library has displayed work bystaff and students from Coventry School of Art & Design, CoventryUniversity, however we had never held an exhibition before 3. Background to the exhibition In June 2011 I attended The Artist in the Library a one day conferenceheld at UEL University of East London, organised by Arlis UK & Ireland (ArtLibraries Society) Speakers from UEL, University of the West of England, Lancaster Universityand The New Art Gallery, Walsall discussed their innovative exhibitionprojects Inspired by this event I decided to make an exhibition project one of myobjectives for 2011-2012 Suzanne White and Lisa Lawrence, Library Diversity Champions, wanted tohold an event in the Library to celebrate and raise awareness of LGBTHistory Month, which takes place every year in February. The idea oforganising an exhibition was suggested 4. Organising the exhibition November 2011 - initial meeting with Suzanne and Lisa and confirmed thatCaroline Rock, the University Librarian, supported the project December 2011 - contacted academic staff in the Coventry School of Art &Design (CSAD) to inform them of the exhibition and ask for their support December 2011 - publicised the exhibition to students in CSAD via theStudent Portal and by email inviting them to a meeting in January 2012 January 2012 12 students came to the meeting from Fine Art, Illustration &Graphics, Photography and Media Production. Some brought images of theirwork. Students filled in a form with their contact details and information aboutthe type of work they wished to exhibit. It was explained to students that wewould publicise the exhibition and produce a small catalogue January 2012 - I met with the students to see the actual pieces and to decidewhere in the Library the work would be exhibited. Three students producedfilms, showings were arranged as timed events in a room in the Library 5. Organising the exhibitionPublicityWith the help of my colleague Gill Evans,Subject Librarian Performing Arts, we workedwith with staff from Print and Graphic Services toproduce a poster for the exhibitionPosters were sited in the Library, CSAD,otherother University Faculty buildings, the Hub and the Herbert Art Gallery Flyers were also produced to publicise thefilms film showings 6. Organising the exhibition The Catalogue We asked the students to provide an image of their work, astatement and a photograph of themselves for the exhibitioncatalogue The catalogue was designed by staff in Marketing & Communicationsat Coventry University in collaboration with myself and Gill 7. The ExhibitionMarta Kochane BA Hons Photography John Yeadon 8. Violetta Jara - Fine Art 9. Violetta Jara Fine Art 10. Violetta Jara Fine Art 11. Emilia Moniszko Fine Art Playground 12. Elizbieta Walczyk Fine Art Forms of Ways 13. Megan Jeffs Illustration and Graphics Untitled 14. Reece Kennedy Fine ArtUntitled #3 15. Reeces statementWith these pieces I wanted to explore the history of LGBT culturelooking at its past and the people who have famously been part of itscommunity. I chose screen printing for the mass produced nature ofits format. The jumbled black text represents a lack of intellect whichthe viewer can openly engage with and resolve; this battles the boldred borders extending far beyond the papers edge. The piecesrepresent a kind of visceral poster based on the taxonomy of thebuilding. The sea of letters are the un-spaced surnames of people Idresearched chosen for their contribution to their field of work and therecognition they received. 16. Jade Savill Fine Art 1942 17. Bethany Ray Fine Art & Illustration Untitled #1 18. Bethany Ray Fine Art & Illustration Untitled #2 19. Bethanys statementThese four works were made especially for this exhibition. Theemphasis of the pieces is on language and word play, providing ahumorous outlook on issues with a turbulent history. By using wordswith derogatory connotations but in a phrase with a double meaning,I sought to make people question the use of these words and theirimpact on those that might have the words used against them. It ismy belief that language should be used to celebrate rather thandepreciate. I chose to cross-stitch these phrases because thismethod is linked to crafts and a sense of innocence and homeliness,whereas the phrases themselves are rather crass and rude. 20. Escaping the Closet A film by Emma Fielder and Jenny Sheen - Media ProductionA short documentary that tackles the subject of suicide of young peoplewithin the LGBT community featuring the accounts of two students, whoshow that it gets better 21. Feedback It was good to see not just the LGBT Society and the SU getting involvedwith history month but the library willing to help too. From me and memberslooking around the artwork it really did help to show a different side to theLGBT community other than that seen stereotypically. The library itself is anincredibly high-demand place on campus. The art work displayed wastasteful, thought provoking and provided an ideal opportunity for art studentsto exhibit their work (with no cost but high impact) and helping to raiseawareness around issues that face / challenge members of the LGBTcommunity or those that define as LGBT.As president of Coventry University Student Unions LGBT Society, myselfand the committee would like to thank the library for its supportAdam Simmonds