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Queering the Whitworth

Queering the Whitworth is a project that looks at the gallery’s art collection from a non-normative perspective in order to (re)discover missing LGBTQIA+ narratives associated with either the artist, the artwork or the artworks subject matter.

This project works on the understanding that throughout history the biographies of our ‘LGBTQIA+’ artists, artworks or subject matters have been omitted from the canon of art history. By researching the collection from a queer perspective, it allows us to challenge the dominant, heteronormative position that art history and the museum finds itself within.

The art collection here at the Whitworth contains a rich selection of artists that have used their creativity to acknowledge their sexual difference, or to question gender identities. This has been achieved through the artists’ depictions of same sex attraction, through the portrayal of friends, family, lovers or partners, or by capturing their experiences of same sex loss or trauma within their artwork.

However, this project is not concerned with labelling artists with contemporary notions of gender or sexuality, because we are aware that these concepts are nuanced, complex and individual. Instead, the project's aim is to look at how LGBTQIA+ communities can find connections with each other, through the emergence of a shared and common past.

As part of this ongoing project, a series of accessible queer tours have been developed within the gallery and online, along with an ongoing digital series of queer readings of artworks. You can also learn more about Queering the Whitworth by listening to episode 2 of our  "A Walk In The Park - Episode 2" on Mixcloud

Learn more about the project by following the Queering the Whitworth blog

(Un)Defining Queer – exhibition 27 January – 3 December 2023

This exhibition delves into the Whitworth’s collection to examine how we can use a queer lens to define what the term 'queer' means. Co-led by an intersectional group of people who self-identify as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, and asexual), the project sets out to interrogate language, histories, and narratives within the Whitworth’s practice and collections.

Find out more about the (Un)Defining Queer, a participatory-led project that works with an intersectional group of people, who self-identify as LGBTQIA+.