Our History

Outspoken Arts Scotland Ltd is the legacy of a movement that began with the foundation of the Glasgay! Festival in 1993, founded as a direct response the Section 28 legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

Glasgay! launched on Saturday 30th October 1993. This lesbian and gay arts festival was the innovation of Cordelia Ditton, well known in national arts scene as a performer, writer, and co-director of Gay Sweatshop. The introduction of Section 28 in 1988 galvanised a whole new era of political and public agitation and resulted also in the founding in 1989 of the influential national lobbying group Stonewall.

Ditton herself had been involved in the campaign against Section 28. Ditton recognised that important local organisations such as the Glasgow branch of Switchboard already existed. However, it was her idea that a lesbian and gay arts festival, would make the lesbian and gay communities of Glasgow more visible. In 1991 she joined forces with Glasgow-based freelance arts administrator Dominic D’Angelo. Both were determined to to produce an arts festival that would show gay lifestyles and performers and work in a very, very positive light. The mission was to change public opinion about lesbian and gay people and to show the wealth of amazing work that was out there.

The 1993 Festival opened to huge acclaim garnering audiences of just over 26,000 attenders. However, there were hateful campaigns in the press, from Tory Councillors and members of the public de-crying the use of public money on such gay art. This backlash and the difficulties it faced caused two years of festival blackout – 1994 and 1996.

In 1995 Cordelia and Dominic stepped down and a new board of directors was convened and the charity Gala Scotland Ltd established. This company then carried forward the legacy and produced the festival from 1995 to 2014.

In its history the festival worked with many of the top gay and lesbian artists in the world. Names such as Sir Ian McKellen, Simon Fanshawe, Donna McPhail, Edwin Morgan, Jackie Kay, Rhona Cameron, Annie Sprinkle, Penny Arcade, Bette Bourne, Diamanda Galas, Neil Bartlett, Scott Capurro, Pam Ann, Four Poofs and a Piano, Lypsinka, Louise Welsh, Marc Almond, Alan Carr, Zoe Strachan, Stewart Laing, and John Waters are amongst the many others that have graced the festival stages.

The work of the festival was always dominated by the prevailing social climate in terms of acceptance, tolerance and understanding of LGBT rights, equality and the march of progress. That social progress has resulted in the repealing of Section 28 of the Government Act 1998; the Civil Partnership Act (2004) and The Equality Act (2010).
Glasgay! artists across the generations have presented work in various artforms that continually reflect social attitudes, behaviours and experiences of the LGBT community. The Glasgay! Festival was a place where LGBT life was acknowledged, celebrated and understood.

Over the 21 years of its history the festival was funded mainly on a year to year basis by the Scottish Arts Council and, subsequently its successor, Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council. From 2007 to 2014 it enjoyed regular 3 year funding agreements from the Scottish Arts Council/Creative Scotland. In 2015 the Company was unsuccessful in its bid to become a new RFO client and the Board was asked to consider the future of the festival without the support of Creative Scotland.

The Company was also asked to consider its national role as a promoter of equality and the broader protected characteristics. It was clear that whilst the festival clearly enjoyed strong support in Glasgow the need to spread the message of equality, particularly to outer-lying communities was the principal challenge. The Company agreed to enter a period of funding transition and the board took the bold step of retiring the festival and renaming the charity, rebranding and re-purposing the mission.

The name Outspoken Arts Scotland was chosen to reflect the campaigning roots of the festival as legacy of a movement. A new mission was adopted to work in outerlying communities and to work across all, or most, of the protected characteristics. This transition period lasted for nearly two years 2015-2017 and the Company delivered a number of projects across that period.

The Company continues to be funded by Creative Scotland & Glasgow City Council and since 2018 by Renfrewshire Council.

Archives

The entire administrative, artistic, press & PR archive of the Glasgay! Festival 1993-2014 was transferred to Glasgow University’s Scottish Theatre Archive in Spring 2018.  This archive is still being catalogued and documented but reference to it should eventually appear at this link. http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/STA/search/

 

See this link for Commissions, productions, presentations and a list of artists/companies who appeared.

Appendix N – Our History 1993-2014

Queer Champions Exhibition Launch Feb 2018

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: WP Frank

TAKE ME SOMEWHERE STICKY

FESTIVAL CLOSING PARTY:
An Intergalactic Queer Performance Party
SWG3, GLASGOW
Sat 2nd June 2018
8pm -2am

8pm entry  |  11pm entry

*£8 8pm Entry ticket available for Deaf audiences (As Mykki Blanco will not be BSL Interpreted). Free for asylum seekers and those on benefits Email karl@takemesomewhere.co.uk to reserve a free or reduced ticket

PERFORMANCE:
MYKKI BLANCO
LADY VENDREDI
KATY BAIRD
RATTY BYEBYE
BRONZE
MOUSE
LYN CHEE & VIKKI RYAN

TUNES:
JUMEA
LEZZER QUEST
VATSALA

THIS PLANET’S A LOST CAUSE, SO BABY WE’RE HEADING TO THE STARS!

Take Me Somewhere Sticky closes the festival with a stellar line up of galactic goddesses to build a new paradise in Outer Space. Cosmic Queers … Maverick Martians! Come aboard and let’s get outta here. With live performance from gender-fluid, warrior princess rapper Mykki Blanco, mythopoetic super heroine and vodou priestess popstar Lady Vendredi and Revolt-ing Disney Drum-and-Bass Dynamo Mouse, alongside performance installations from Katy Baird, Bronze, Ratty ByeBye and tunes from Jumea, LEZZER QUEST and Vatsala.

Hosted in BSL and English by celestial superstars Lyn Chee and Vikki Ryan.

BSL Interpretation all night except for Mykki Blanco’s set from 22:00 – 23:00. A reduced ticket price of £8 is available for BSL users wishing to arrive at 20:00.

8pm Doors
9pm-9.30pm Lady Vendredi
10pm-11pm Mykki Blanco
11pm-12.30am Katy Baird, Ratty ByeBye, Bronze
12.30am-2am Mouse

Take Me Somewhere Sticky was programmed by a group of local queer artists Thulani Rachia, Bonzai Bonner (Shoot Your Shot), Nima Séne and Bea Webster.

Poster by Wildeblood Design

Presented by Take Me Somewhere and Outspoken Arts Scotland.

ACCESS: The venue is wheelchair accessible and there will be BSL interpretation all night

FK ALEXANDER (Scotland)

VIOLENCE
TRAMWAY, GLASGOW directions
Wed 16th & Sat 19th May 2018
9.30pm // 1hr // 14+ // £12/£8*

A new commission presented by Take Me Somewhere, Outspoken Arts and The Marlborough Theatre.
FK Alexander works with Amplifier: Nick Anderson.

“We have been poisoned by fairy tales’’ Anaïs Nin

VIOLENCE is a brand new performance art piece by FK Alexander; a meditation on the cruelty of love, the weight of loneliness, the gift of desperation, the freedom of anxiety, the chrysalis of hopelessness… and the power of dreams.

VIOLENCE is a personal anti-love tribute to crushed hope and renewed desire, combining variously sourced text, live percussion, non-dance and flowers.

VIOLENCE offers a non-linear fantasy panorama in praise and confusion of co-dependency between you, between them, between God.

‘’protect me from what I want’’ Jenny Holzer

Image by Joanna Stawnicka

“★★★★★
a unique, powerful performance”
— BROADWAY BABY on (I Could Go On Singing) Over The Rainbow
ACCESS: Venue is wheelchair accessible. The performance is highly visual and all text will be captioned.

MYKKI BLANCO (USA) – Live

SWG3, GLASGOW
Sat 2 June 2018
8pm-2am* // 18+ // £10 – part of the TAKE ME SOMEWHERE STICKY festival closing party.
* Mykki Blanco on stage 10pm.

Presented by Take Me Somewhere and Outspoken Arts Scotland, in association with Synergy Concerts.

“★★★★
this arresting, gender-fluid rapper sashays magnificently between braggadocio and distress, prodigious drug use and squarer desires (real intimacy, monogamous love), between naked Snapchatting and soul-baring. He has HIV, and can’t find his shoes. It’s one of the year’s most riveting musical self-portraits, in which trap beats alternate with string sections, and demi-monde specifics with universal needs.”
— GUARDIAN

A fearless artist at his challenging yet melodic best, Mykki Blanco released his debut album “Mykki” (produced by Woodkid and Jermiah Meece) in 2016.

Mykki Blanco has metamorphosed many times. The multi-faceted star was a child actor who founded a performance art collective as a teen, ran away from home, and won scholarships to two prestigious art colleges, quitting both as he realised that “the art world is just one big scam for rich people”.

Finding fame first as a fearless noise rap poet, he published a book “From The Silence Of Duchamp To The Noise Of Boys”. Then what started as a video art project about a “teenage drag rapper” transformed into two years of Blanco living as a transgender woman in his personal life. Though eventually not transitioning, Mykki graduated into the non-binary gender-queer post-homo-hop musical artist that we see before us today. Needless to say, it’s impossible to pigeon-hole Blanco, and his unique and beautiful sound is no exception.

Amassing a vast online following with a savvy and savage social media output, Mykki is hailed online as a digital warrior princess who rules across the underground music scene.

www.instagram.com/_mykki_

www.facebook.com/mykkiblanco

www.twitter.com/mykkiblanco

DAVID HOYLE (England)

DIAMOND
MAYFESTO @ TRON THEATRE, GLASGOW
Fri 25th* & Sat 26th May 2018
8pm // 1hr // £15/£10
£10 tickets also available for U25s – use code DH25 when booking (ID required at time of event).

Presented by Take Me Somewhere & Outspoken Arts Scotland.
Written & Performed by David Hoyle, with special guests The Lipsinkers.
Director Mark Whitelaw
Producer & Dramaturg Jayne Compton
Commissioned by Contact.

Diamond is an avant-garde, angry and often hilarious journey into LGBT liberation from 1957 to present day, told via the thrilling, passionate biography of David Hoyle, with musical interludes from London drag four-piece The Lipsinkers.

Weaving together intimate personal experience with public events, Diamond charts David’s rise from a gay adolescent working in BHS in Blackpool to Channel 4’s famous anti-drag queer cult phenomenon. Reclaiming renowned historical moments and reflecting on the lives of prominent gay figures such as Alan Turing, Diamond revisits LGBT political history through Hoyle’s provocative and profound lens. Navigating and dissecting counter-cultures and British attitudes towards them, Diamond will appeal to all with liberation in their heart.

Main photo: Lee Baxter.

CADE & MACASKILL (Scotland)

ROSANA CADE & EILIDH MACASKILL (Scotland)
MOOT MOOT
THE ART SCHOOL, GLASGOW directions
Tue 22nd & Wed 23rd* May 2018
9pm // 1hr // £12/£8 // 18+

Moot Moot is Presented by Take Me Somewhere & Outspoken Arts

It’s all about you and your opinions… so get in touch!

Cade and MacAskill take on the roles of doppelgänger radio hosts Barry and Barry, batting banter back and forth in their surreal phone-in talk show. Seeking connection with the world beyond, they can only tune into the white noise at the edges of their outer space echo-chamber.

MOOT MOOT is a weird and wild trip through never-ending feedback loops; a riotous rhythmic transmission for our times.

Rosana Cade’s powerful immersive Walking-Holding and her autobiographical performance Sister, have toured the country to critical acclaim, as has Eilidh MacAskill’s solo performance piece STUD. They have been performing as a duo for three years in the cult live art riot grrrl boi band Double P*ssy Cl*t F*ck.

Now they combine forces to create this hilarious new show, with a unique sound world devised by Yas Clarke. See them desperately grasp at meaning in a post-truth world, where all facts are moot.

Queer Champions 2018 Participants

Queer Champions Exhibition 2018 – Participants

NAME BIO
Alyn Smith Alyn Smith is a Scottish politician, and Scottish National Party Member of the European Parliament for Scotland.
Andrew Patterson Andrew is a former turner and care worker, an authorised preacher and an active ally, voice and supporter of the transgender community in Scotland.
Ben Hunter Ben Hunter is a masculine butch dyke lesbian, she hails from Nigeria, she currently resides in Glasgow and volunteers for the Equality Network.
Ellen Galford Ellen Galford wrote The Dyke and the Dybbuk, The Fires of Bride, and other lesbian feminist fiction. She’s now writing poetry, some of it in Yiddish.
Garry Mac Garry Mac is a Glaswegian writer and comic book artist currently working on a semi-autobiographical queer graphic novel.
Horse McDonald Horse is simply one of Scotland’s all-time greatest vocalists and songwriters. “Her voice wraps us up like a great big duvet” – The Scotsman
Jamie Valentine Jamie Valentine is co-founder and chair of OurStory Scotland, a charity which collects, archives and presents the life stories of the LGBT community in Scotland.
Leo Siebert National Union of Students, Trans Activist
Lisa Charlwood-Green Lisa is the Director of The WOW Network which exists to support, guide and connect with LGBT women in the workplace.
Mitch Alexander Mitch is a queer videogame designer and artist living in Glasgow, with work focusing on monstrous identity and queer community.
Mridul Wadhwa Mridul lives in Edinburgh and works to end gender based violence, her activism focuses on the lives of migrant women experiencing gender based violence.
Nick Shane Nick Shane is a Dundee based Mod musician and political activist, with high recognition in music, fashion and Gay Rights campaigning.
Nosheen Founder of GLITCH Festival
Robbie Norval Robbie is a proud gay man, and a proud social entrepreneur, founder of lingo flamingo – who believes in empowering older adults and challenging stigma about ageing and dementia.
Robert Gayle Robert is an established figure in the Scottish arts scene – as actor and performer, writer, artistic director and advocate of equality of access for disabled people.
Rowan Alison Rowan is the founder of Glasgow Free Pride
Stuart Duffy Stuart is a multi-media journalist and business owner based in Fife and the Founder of Pink Saltire and Fife Pride.
Sue John Sue John has been a feminist and LGBTQ activist for over thirty years. She works at Glasgow Women’s Library, the only Accredited Museum in the UK dedicated to women’s history.
Tom Harlow International burlesque performer and activist
Zoe Strachan Academic and writer
Louise Welsh Louise Welsh is an academic and writer who works across genres. She lives in Glasgow.

Ajamu Ikwe-Tyehimba

Ajamu Ikwe-Tyehimba
British artist
b.1963
Huddersfield, Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council, West Yorkshire, Yorkshire and the Humber
Residence:  London, Greater London, London, England

Biography
Ajamu X (born Huddersfield, 1963) is a British artist, curator, archivist and activist. He best known for his fine art photography, which explores same-sex people and the Black male body, and his work as an archivist and activist to document the lives and experiences of black LGBTQ people in the UK.

Early life and work
Ajamu was born in Huddersfield to Jamaican parents. He studied Black History and photography in Leeds. While in Leeds he and two friends, created the magazine BLAC, an acronym for Black Liberation Activist Core. In October 1987, after seeing it advertised in the newspaper Caribbean Times, Ajamu attended the first, and only, National Black Gay Men’s Conference held at the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre in Camden. By January the following year, he had moved to London. He was given the name Ajamu in 1991; it means “he who fights for what he believes”.

My name Ajamu X is a reference to Malcolm X who was my first key role model. Changing my name to an African one was very significant. — Ajamu X

His first major exhibition Black Bodyscapes, in 1994, focused on the realities of black gay men. More recent projects include Fierce: Portraits of Young Black Queers. an exhibition of 24 portraits of a “…new generation of Black and proudly out young, emerging and established talent” at London’s Guildhall Art Gallery in 2014 and I Am For You Can Enjoy with Khalil West, at Contact Theatre, Manchester, in 2016, which uses photography and video, to explore the lives of queer Black people. Ajamu has described himself as an “artist who has created an archive” and, in addition to his art practice, continues to document black LGBT experiences.

“Write and record everything you do; no-one is going to write our histories for us.” — Ajamu X

In 2000 Ajamu and Topher Campbell co-founded rukus! Federation an ” arts company dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the best in challenging, provocative works by black lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender artists nationally and internationally.” Ajamu was the Archive Manager “The Black LGBT Archive Project”, a major initiative to develop an archive collection on “Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-Gender heritage, history and lived experience in the UK”. In 2008 Ajamu co-curated the exhibition Outside Edge: a journey through Black lesbian and gay history at the Museum of Docklands. The rukus! Black Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Cultural Archive was deposited at London Metropolitan Archives in 2010.

His fine art photography is in national and international collections including the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Autograph ABP, and the Neuberger Museum of Art in New York. Ajamu is co-chair of Centred, an LGBTQ community organisation, in London’s Soho.

Selected exhibitions
2016 Khalil West and Ajamu – I Am For You Can Enjoy, Contact Theatre, Manchester (4 February – 18 June 2016)
2013 Fierce – Portraits of Young Black LGBTQ people by Ajamu, Guildhall Art Gallery, London
2012 Future Histories, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow
2011 Queer Self Portraits Now, Fred, London
2010 Photoshow, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York
2009 Familiar Strangers, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow
2004 Hidden Histories, Walsall New Art Gallery,England
1997 Transforming the Crown, Caribbean Cultural Centre, New York.
1994 Black Bodyscapes, Camerawork, London
1992 From Where I Stand, Brixton Art Gallery, London

As Curator:

2016 Curatorial Resident, Visual AIDS, New York
2008 Outside Edge: a journey through black British lesbian and gay history, Museum of Docklands, London
“Khalil West and Ajamu – I Am For You Can Enjoy”. Contact Theatre. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
“Queer Self Portraits Now”. Artlyst. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
Eddie Chambers (29 July 2014). Black Artists in British Art: A History since the 1950s. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-0-85773-608-6.
^ Melanie Keen; Elizabeth Ward; Institute of International Visual Arts (1996). Recordings: a select bibliography of contemporary African, Afro-Caribbean and Asian British art. Institute of International Visual Arts and Chelsea College of Art and Design. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-899846-06-1.
“Introducing 2016 Visual AIDS Curatorial Resident Ajamu”. Visual AIDS. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
“Who works on an exhibition like Outside Edge?”. Museum of London – blog. Retrieved 13 April 2016.