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Celebrating DiversityLGBT History Month Library Exhibition February 2012 Anne-Marie Hayes Subject Librarian: Art & Design and Media & Communication
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
Background to the exhibition• In June 2011 I attended The Artist in the Library a one day conference held at UEL University of East London, organised by Arlis UK & Ireland (Art Libraries Society)• Speakers from UEL, University of the West of England, Lancaster University and The New Art Gallery, Walsall discussed their innovative exhibition projects• Inspired by this event I decided to make an exhibition project one of my objectives for 2011-2012• Suzanne White and Lisa Lawrence, Library Diversity Champions, wanted to hold an event in the Library to celebrate and raise awareness of LGBT History Month, which takes place every year in February. The idea of organising an exhibition was suggested
Organising the exhibition• November 2011 - initial meeting with Suzanne and Lisa and confirmed that Caroline 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 the Student 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 their work. Students filled in a form with their contact details and information about the type of work they wished to exhibit. It was explained to students that we would publicise the exhibition and produce a small catalogue• January 2012 - I met with the students to see the actual pieces and to decide where in the Library the work would be exhibited. Three students produced films, showings were arranged as timed events in a room in the Library
Organising the exhibition Publicity• With the help of my colleague Gill Evans,• Subject Librarian Performing Arts, we worked with with staff from Print and Graphic Services to• produce a poster for the exhibition• Posters were sited in the Library, CSAD, other other University Faculty buildings, the Hub• and the Herbert Art Gallery• Flyers were also produced to publicise the films film showings
Organising the exhibition – The Catalogue• We asked the students to provide an image of their work, a statement and a photograph of themselves for the exhibition catalogue• The catalogue was designed by staff in Marketing & Communications at Coventry University in collaboration with myself and Gill
The ExhibitionMarta Kochane – BA Hons Photography John Yeadon
Reece’s statement“With 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 paper‟s 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 I‟dresearched chosen for their contribution to their field of work and therecognition they received”.
Bethany Ray – Fine Art & Illustration Untitled #1
Bethany Ray – Fine Art & Illustration Untitled #2
Bethany’s statement“These 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”.
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”
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 Union‟s LGBT Society, myselfand the committee would like to thank the library for its support”Adam Simmonds