Based on feedback we had from the LGBTQ+ community on our outreach projects, we created a new queer tour of the House at Charleston. Written and researched by experts and trialled by members of the LGBTQ+ Older People’s Project at Switchboard, the tour launched at Charleston on Saturday the 8th June at a Queer Bloomsbury event. Additional celebratory activities included a Bloomsbury-Group-inspired dressing up area with costumes from Gladrags in Brighton, a Wish Tree where people could tell us their queer wishes for Charleston, singing from Hannah Brackenbury and a panel-led conversation with Kathrine Smith, Nando Messias and KUCHENGA. This event was planned and delivered by Charleston’s LGBTQ+ Focus Group.
Queer tours of the House are now available for group bookings.
Charleston’s LGBTQ+ Focus Group
We recruited a group of 10 people from the LGBTQ+ outreach work that we have been doing. This group meets regularly. It’s purpose is to ensure that a queer voice informs everything we do here.
During April and May 2019, we returned to the Hillcrest Centre in Newhaven to deliver another Drama Project for people with learning disabilities. We used the paintings from Charleston’s collection as starting points to create short pieces of drama and dance. Some of the participants favourite paintings included “Queue at Lewes” by Vanessa Bell and “The Policeman” by George Bergen.
Please visit our blog to see what we got up too.
In February 2019 we held an immersive conversation at Charleston around the Coco Table in the new Threshing Barn, in partnership with Take The Space.
With guest speakers KUCHENGA and Bee Tajudeen, Zanele Muholi’s photographic exhibition ‘Faces and Phases’ was the backdrop to our conversation exploring blackness, gender fluidity and freedom of voice.
This is our Event record
A group of 13 local LGBTQ+ people worked together at Charleston to explore the House, Garden, and surrounding South Downs landscape with photography and words. They created a beautifully imagined Zine. Participants worked together, facilitated by Mark Richardson, to draw inspiration from Charleston’s Small Wonder short story festival, the history of the Bloomsbury Group at Charleston and Orlando at the present time – the first exhibition in our newly-built galleries. They worked with invited queer writers Juliet Jacques, Shivanee Ramlochan and Neil Bartlett who talked about their creative processes. Please click on this link to read the Zine: Unexpected Delights Zine
Some members of this group will be joining others from the local LGBTQ+ community to create a new LGBTQ+ Forum that will advise Charleston on future planning and programming, to ensure that a queer voice is present and visible across all of our work here. Our first meeting will be in December 2018 in Lewes. Please contact Mark Richardson (details below) if you would like further information or would like to join this group.
During October 2018, we worked with a group of 10 people with learning disabilities in Newhaven at The Hillcrest Centre on Thursday afternoons. We used the many statues that are around Charleston’s garden to create stories that we brought to life using dance and drama. The project culminated in a visit to Charleston, with a celebratory tea in the newly restored Threshing Barn.
We have worked with groups from Brighton and Newhaven, offering them a Charleston visitor experience and asking them the question “How can Charleston be useful to you and your community?”. We have worked with the Older People’s Group from LGBT Switchboard in Brighton, SEN Parent and Carers Support Network in Newhaven and Allsorts Youth Project in Brighton.
Informal reading and discussion group, exploring Bloomsbury texts and themes. First Sunday of every month.
CRESSIDA BELL talks to her sister, Virginia Nicholson, about Charleston, her design work and curating ‘In Colour.’