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DATE: 2 February 2022

York Art Gallery partners with LGBT Forum to re-display the permanent collection from a LGBTQIA+ perspective

Launching Wednesday 2 February 2022

York Art Gallery and the York LGBT Forum have been working to queer the Burton Gallery by telling the stories and sharing the perspectives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people. Art works from York Art Galleries collections will be ‘coming out’ from the stores as well as looking again at some of the art already on display from an LGBTQIA perspective.

Visitors will be able to explore the stories which draw on LGBT Forum participants original research, as well as creative responses to the art which are inspired by lived experience.

‘Queering the Burton’ at York Art Gallery supports York Museum Trusts ambition to make the Gallery an inclusive and welcoming space for everyone. Historically, the term Queer has had a number of meanings. Our use of the word Queer is a positive affirmation. Here, we are de-weaponising what was once a slur, and reclaiming Queer as a collective term to represent sexual and gender minorities.

Sarah Greenwood, Creative Learning Producer at York Art Gallery said: “Part of the beauty of a gallery collection, lies in its ability to be read by more than one gaze and unlock more than one story. Our Queering the Burton Project looks with fresh eyes at our collection from an LGBTQIA+ perspective, unlocking stories, prompting creative responses, and highlighting the often marginalised, discriminated, and overlooked.”

“Many of the works on display in the Burton Gallery were produced in a time when the terms ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’ and ‘trans’ had little public recognition. Launching appropriately in LGBT History month, our yearlong (and ongoing) initiative is spotlighted in

Queering the Burton, where there is more than one story. More than one gaze. More than one way to live.”

Key to the Queering the Burton Project is the partnership between York Art Gallery and York LGBT Forum. York LGBT Forum is a charity which aims to improve LGBT rights in York, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom and across the world.

Jake Furby, Trustee of York LGBT Forum said: “The York LGBT Forum is conscious that many LGBTQIA+ people’s lives have been erased throughout history often owing to the fear of being convicted of a crime by just being themselves. Although legislation and attitudes have changed in this country, many LGBTQIA+ people still face a hostile and unwelcoming world today with many people experiencing homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – including in this city.”

“We are proud to work with York Art Gallery on the Queering the Burton Project, as this gives some life and history to LGBTQIA+ artists who would be forgotten, mislabelled, or even ignored. This project helps to give a pluralistic view of art and how it can be interpreted.”

In the coming months, Queering the Burton will provide the space for events and interventions in order to tell as many LGBTQIA+ stories as possible.

During February half-term, the Curious Takeover takes place in York Art Gallery. On Saturday 26th February, to celebrate families of all shapes and sizes, there will be a full day of activities, with things to do for all ages. It’s free, with something for everyone, including Drag Storytime, creating your own family logo, Protest Poster Making and more!

Reyahn King, Chief Executive Officer at York Museums Trust, said: “Here at York Museums Trust we’re so grateful for the partnership we have formed with York LGBT Forum for our Queering the Burton Project. The project has also shed light on histories that are missing from York Art Gallery collections and through this collaboration and the formation of the York Museums Trust Allies Group, we have identified our priorities for future collecting and displays.

“It is essential that York Art Gallery is an inclusive and welcoming space for all communities, and I want to thank York LGBT Forum, our Allies Group and the wider local LGBTQIA+ Community for their commitment to this important work”.

Queering the Burton is open now, and you’re invited to visit the gallery to reflect on your own experience of gender and sexuality in response to our collections.

Entry to York Art Gallery is free, and booking is advised.