York Art Gallery

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DATE: 18 February 2022

The Curious Takeover at York Art Gallery has been programmed to provide a safe space for families and children to express their creativity and have a positive experience together. The themes presented during Storytime at the Curious Takeover, include being yourself, different types of families, feeling different to other people and celebrating all kinds of love.

As part of this event, families will have the opportunity to meet positive role models and members of LGBTQIA+ communities, to ask questions and have conversations in a safe space.

The activities have been specifically created to be enjoyed and experienced by children aged 4-7 and their families through a detailed and thorough development process. All activities including Storytime have been carefully crafted to ensure there is no inappropriate or adult content.

Dressing up is an ageless play activity which dates back to Shakespeare, where the term came from; Dressed as A Girl “DRAG”. The world we live in has many experiences of Drag, from TV talent shows to more traditional panto dames. Curious Arts work with artists to explore creative characters that don’t sit in these binary stereotypes.

As an organisation, York Museums Trust take safeguarding extremely seriously, and our usual rigorous safeguarding measures are in place for this event as they are with all our activity.”

Events such as this one are vital for building bridges between communities. Raising awareness and increasing understanding leads to stronger communities, mutual respect and celebration of different lives and identities.

The shocking statistics for mental health challenges, and for self-harm and suicide among young LGBTQIA+ people highlight the very real impact of homophobia, transphobia and societal attitudes to difference. According to West Yorkshire Police, 1 in 3 LGBT people in Yorkshire have experienced homophobic attacks. Over 400 LGBTQIA+ attacks were reported to Yorkshire police in 2019. 42 transphobic hate crimes & incidents were committed in Yorkshire in 2019.

Reyahn King, Chief Executive of York Museums Trust, said: “York Museums Trust have committed to challenging previous ways of thinking and provoking debate about the issues that affect so many people every day. To do this, we need to give a platform to those hidden histories and create new narratives by listening to those which have previously been ignored.”

“We are looking forward to welcoming all families to our Curious Takeover and hope that visitors can enjoy the various creative activities that will be on offer for all ages.”

The Curious Takeover is about allowing young people who may or may not be LGBTQIA+ to know that they are loved, they are valid, and they are worthy. To remind children that everybody feels “different” at some point in their lives, and to teach them that the things that make them different are often the things that make them special.