Skip to main content

Thursday 2 July 2015

LGBTQI exhibitions commemorating 50th anniversary

Steve Lannin, senior lecturer for BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Southampton Solent University, was invited to speak at the LGBTQI Colloquium at Tate Britain. Here, he tells us about his experience.


LGBTQI Colloquium, Tate Britain – Exhibitions commemorating 50th anniversary of the repeal of Sexual Offences Act 1967

The repeal of Sexual Offences Act 1967 was the first law to decriminalise homosexuality in the UK, and added to a slow international change in attitudes leading to what is referred to as ‘Gay Culture’.

On Friday 19 June 2015 I travelled to a Colloquium at Tate Britain, where I had been invited to speak by Dr Clare Barlow, one of the Tate’s curators. Clare is currently organising an exhibition of queer & queer related arts at Tate Britain, which will celebrate the art movements towards the repeal scheduled for 2017.

During the day representatives presented either previous examples of good practice or intended shows for 2017. The representatives were:

  • The Tate,
  • Historic England (formerly English Heritage),
  • The V&A,
  • The British Museum,
  • Homotopia,
  • Matt Smith (Queering the Museum, Birmingham),
  • National Maritime Museum,
  • Bernard Horrocks (Gay Icons, National Portrait Gallery),
  • author Rupert Smith, and
  • myself.

I’d been invited to present ideas concerning my curation of a design exhibition taking place in the Solent Showcase Gallery in 2017.

The exhibition will be called ‘Making Out 67-17’ and contain a celebratory collection of (hopefully) 50 works designed by LGBTQI people since 1967. I’ll be working with the University curators, Les Buckingham and Kate Maple in order to achieve this.

What inspired my proposal was a survey conducted in 2013, in which it was revealed that 50% of bullying in schools is still either homophobic or transphobic.

I feel we should give our young LGBTQI people the same chance of a happy life as everyone else and make the word gay equal brilliantly different, beyond 2017.

The Solent University exhibition is intended to offer a range of alternative pieces suggesting the diversity of creative people the word ‘gay’ represents.

The entire day was inspirational, with some extraordinary works revealed and the feedback from the curators about Solent’s proposition was very positive. I’m hopeful of a similar response when the exhibition takes place in 2017.