Out in Oxford LGBTQ+ Heritage Trail: a conversation with Beth Asbury

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As part of the HLF South East England Team’s focus on LGBT+ Heritage, we welcome Beth Asbury, the project manager for Out in Oxford, to have a chat with us.

The Out In Oxford project, based at the Pitt Rivers Museum, created an LGBT+ Heritage Trail across all of the University of Oxford’s collections, working with a wide range of volunteers who identify as LGBTQ+ or are allies, supported by collections staff.

The project was partly funded through the Oxford University Museums Partnership, which receives funding from Arts Council England, and partly through a five-year HLF-funded project, VERVE. The project would have also been a great fit with HLF’s smaller funding programmes, Sharing Heritage and Our Heritage. Its combination of a user-led approach and training for volunteers, a rationale based on representation and access, and strong heritage focus fit closely with a range of HLF Outcomes.

 

NB: If you're following along live with this conversation, please be aware that the latest questions and answers will not automatically update on the page, so we recommend that you refresh your screen every 10-15 minutes.

Images

  • Volunteers and staff of Out in Oxford celebrate the trail launch
  • Drag King Adam All performing at Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Performers at Pitt Rivers Museum
View Joseph Minden's profile Joseph Minden Nov 10 2017 - 10:54am
  1. It's been so good to hear about the trail and it's impact, and HLF is really keen to support more projects that explore and share LGBTQ+ heritage. 

    What are your top tips for anyone who might want to start thinking about a project of their own?

  2. View Joseph Minden's profile Joseph Minden
    Offline | Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago
  3. in reply to

    My first tip is to be clear about what the physical outputs of the project will be from the start, and to keep those outputs simple and attainable. We wanted to create a low-tech booklet that was easy to update and reprint, that could be made available for free to anyone who wanted to explore sex, sexuality and gender diversity – “the many ways of being” as one volunteer very eloquently put it – as represented by the items in the University’s collections. We ended up with a lovely website that made even more content written by our volunteers available and will have a mobile app with audio descriptions of the items to make the trail accessible to visually impaired people in the future as well, but these were not things we originally planned.

    My second tip is to ask local LGBTQ+ people to get involved from the start. If museums are about celebrating people’s experiences and achievements, then LGBTQ+ experiences and achievements need to be represented in them too. A great way of doing that is to invite local groups to co-curate the project, and help it truly to be representative, diverse and relevant.

  4. View Beth Asbury's profile Beth Asbury
    Offline | Last seen: 5 months 4 weeks ago
  5. It's been so good to chat, Beth, and to hear more about Out in Oxford. Thanks so much for taking the time to join us.

    To any readers - please do post your reactions or comments to this thread below, and continue the conversation. If you have any questions relating to what Beth has written about, or about planning an LGBTQ+ project in general, just set them down here and we - or other members of the online community - will do out best to get back to you!

  6. View Joseph Minden's profile Joseph Minden
    Offline | Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago

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