Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Consultation Event - Oct 2013

Our consultation event on Thursday at the Circle was a great opportunity to collect ideas and feedback about our project from the LGBT community of Sheffield.  We really enjoyed organizing the event and we and we had a great turn with lot positive and useful comments. The event was held in two rooms on the first floor.  We greeted guests at the door and gained an idea of our audience through our guest book sign in The participation games were all set up, with members of the live group directing them and explaining them to the guests.

Three games were held on the day: the spot the present & flag the future game, the puzzle game and the facade composition. Each game was designed in way for us to gather different types of information that would be relevant to enriching the project.

 The first mapping game aimed to gather information about the areas of Sheffield and where they would see and place the new LGBT Centre.
The second game was more about the spaces of the future venue. A person was a given a set of puzzle pieces which were representation of different types of spaces and depending on their transparency were public or private.  They were given connector pieces and could choose which types of spaces they wanted to see in the new LGBT Centre and how they would link together.  The public and private option was also available for the connector's pieces.

The third game was the creation of a facade.  Different background settings were provided with varying levels of openness on which elements such as windows could be added to build a composition.  This helped us to gain an understanding of how expressive or discrete people would want the LGBT Centre façade to be.

Overall, the games were played individually or in groups.  Post-it notes were also provided to the guests, so that people could comment and provide suggestion on our work to date, which included our precedent studies, ideas and research. Each game and action during the event were recorded and documented. We are currently in the process of collating and representing this information from the consultation. We want to thank the audience who attended our event and for their valuable participation, we hope everyone who attended also found it a enjoyable evening.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Week 3// Tuesday// Meeting Matt from CHIV & Shout!

Last week we were very pleased to have the opportunity to meet Matt Harrison from the Centre for HIV & Sexual Health in Sheffield. We were warmly welcomed to the cosy Shout! office located at The Circle in the city centre. Here they offer a weekly drop-in evening providing advice to MSM (men who have sex with men) primarily on sexual health, but additionally covering a variety of other health and wellbeing workshops. The service provides group workshops and discussion evenings, as well as one-to-one support; their role is to provide information rather than a counselling service, in a safe space, where men are able to meet with other gay and bisexual men.

The Shout! service was founded in September 1996 and moved to their current home at The Circle in 2007. The building provides office space and function rooms to a wide range of groups and services. Matt expressed that the facilities and space within the building were brilliant and suited their needs well at present; our own view was that the building was bright, clean, open and accessible, so it is no surprise that Shout! are proud to be able to invite people to the space.

For many men Shout! may be their first point of contact with a service offering information to gay and bisexual men. The range of other building users, as well as the buildings central but not main street location, offers anonymity and a level of reassurance that a visitor will not be 'outed' for accessing the service. Matt also noted that the time of day helped with this, being from 6:30 until 8:30 there was a reduced footfall from those leaving work, but as the session ended there would not be a busy presence of pub-goers in the area.

Shout! are clear that their main focus is on issues of health (the service is funded by the NHS). Their website www.gaysheffield.co.uk acts as a signpost towards different health services in the area including the provision of a free condom postal service to MSM. They additionally offer links towards social groups and bars/clubs - which is certainly a valuable part of directing people and providing information (being social, after all, does a huge amount for your wellbeing!).

When considering Sheffield on a wider scale, Matt recognised that there are currently no comparable services for adult women who have sex with women and trans people within the city -  there are great support services for younger LGBT people, but adult and older adult populations have reported feeling isolated and without services specifically designed to support their health needs. Going on to discuss the position of a possible LGBT Centre within Sheffield, it was noted that there was a range of different needs within the city; whereas a person accessing an LGBT Centre may already be fully or partially in acceptance of their sexuality and are confident in themselves, there may still be a need for a more discreet service within the city. It also became clear to us through our discussion and through previous case studies (such as Manchester and Birmingham), that services should look to support each other and recognise each others specialities, allowing for a comprehensive and clear range of services and providers within the city.

Our meeting with Matt was both enjoyable and enlightening. Later that week he welcomed the Live LGBT team to the weekly Shout! meeting which was, for the first time, opened up to the wider public for this one-off consultation. Watch this space to see what a brilliant evening we had, raising some very interesting discussions with a wide spectrum of people from across Sheffield.

Friday, 25 October 2013

An infinite spectrum

Sexuality and gender identity of those who attended our consultation evening.
We feel it vital that our consultation process is as far-reaching as possible and are extremely proud to have been able to talk with so many people at our recent event. Although we were already aware that sexuality and gender are on limitless sliding scales, this really highlighted the huge variety of people that make up the LGBT community (as well as those who might see themselves on the periphery, or indeed not part of it at all).

In a recent meeting with LGBT Sheffield it was said that we should "make [the centre] accessible to everyone, because at the moment that is not what Sheffield is." Everyone, of course, must therefore have an equal voice and be fully represented within our project and in the future of the LGBT Sheffield project.

“There are no nice shiny boxes, or if there are then there are an infinite number of them.” Hank, Human Sexuality is Complicated, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXAoG8vAyzI

LiveLGBT community event & survey

Thank you for taking the time to come to our event yesterday evening! It was fantastic to see so many people and to get your opinions on the existing LGBT community services and facilities within Sheffield and what could make the city a better place to be. We have created a short survey to make sure that we've interpreted your thoughts as accurately as possible and to see who is currently represented within our research - we want to be as far-reaching as we can!

We really appreciate any extra thoughts you have! Please follow this link to access the survey: LiveLGBT Survey

Thank you!

The Live LGBT team x

Friday, 18 October 2013

Announcement // Consultation Event

Come down to Rockingham Lane, between Division Street and West Street and Division Street, next Thursday to get involved in our project and have your voice heard!

Our research will be displayed on presentation boards and our lovely group members will be there to discuss the project with you and answer any questions you may have.  We encourage you to make comments and leave suggestions on the parts of our work that interest you. Grab a pen and some post-it notes from one of our group!
There will also be three tabletop activities that we invite you to participate in, a collaging activity addressing building frontage, a mapping activity using flags and stickers, and a spatial relationship activity using "puzzle pieces" as a fun design tool.
See you at The Circle!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Week 3 // Thursday Meeting

This afternoon we had a fantastic meeting with LGBT Sheffield, Kath (Chair), Nell (Media & Press Relations) and Thomas (Staff LGBT Network), and Red Lester from The Sheena Amos Youth Trust (SAYiT!).  We had a chance to digitally present our research so far, including our progress mapping work, our participation events and our primary and secondary precedent research.

Mapping the Stakeholders and general Sectors of the Sheffield LGBT Community

Mapping Sheffield
The meeting was a great opportunity to discuss our work intentions and research aims in mapping exercises; we demonstrated through infographics how mapping existing services both geographically and in a networking sense allowed us to analyse which sectors of the community are not visibly represented (whether intentionally or because of a lack of voice) as well as where the community as a whole has less access to services. With this information we can begin to work towards coming up with strategies to address the needs of parts of the LGBT community that are often overlooked.

Precedents, Spatial and Strategic
We spent part of the presentation describing the LGBT establishments we visited in Manchester and Birmingham as well as Stockholm, their birth, development, funding, business models and most importantly their street presence and internal layout. This prompted a discussion about façades and translucency of glazing.  Should the outside shell of such a building be protective?  How could we avoid a "Fort Knox" aesthetic?  Or should a street front be welcoming and transparent?  How could we control confidentiality?  Ideas that went around the table included: Controlling translucency through varying grades of frosting on the glass relating to internal space; Limiting large transparent glazing to floors above ground level; Obscuring the glass just enough to maintain anonymity but still see the activity inside the building; Using electric switchable glass to provide activity dependent user-control.

Following from this discussion we presented a few architectural precedents that served as inspiration for public space, controlled privacy, façades and successful internal spaces.  We then talked about the virtues of outdoor space - especially when separated from the street, as well as the community and natural lighting advantages that internal courtyards can provide.

Herzog de Meuron's LABAN Centre :
An Example of translucent façade
Bearing in mind some of the considerations we touched on in the presentation, we began to look forward and discuss the known needs specific to a Sheffield LGBT Community Centre.  Red was very informative in the successes and shortcomings of the space that SAYiT currently uses.  There were general concerns regarding operational times and geographic location, proximity to a nightclub and to student halls; as well as the difficulties in sharing a building with non-charitable organisations who do not neccesarily have training to work with vulnerable people.  There were also more specific spaces that the Youth Trust required, including performance space - whether a dedicated theatre or a flexible activity space; and event spaces that were not overlooked by people outside the proceedings.

Legacy and heritage were concepts that we all felt were as important as the project itself.  In one sense, we discussed the possibility of creating a cross-generational library in which LGBT youth can learn about the activism of figures past and present that contribute to LGBT liberation.  In another sense, we talked about the general sustainability of the project in how we would archive are work and provide the toolkit for LGBT Sheffield and other linked organisations to use our work and continue developing their ambitions after our Live Project period expires. In a wider sense, we talked about the relevance of an online resource that can be accessed by interested parties as well as organisations who may want to do a similar project in another city - in this way Sheffield may serve as a model for reference.

Next Steps
The last half of the meeting consisted of a discussion of the work we are engaging in over the next week in parallel to our ongoing mapping and precedent exercises.  We specifically presented some of our planned activities for our community consultation event next Thursday and explained how they will focus on three fundemental questions: Location, Frontage and Spaces.
You will have to wait for the event to see the activities!

Explaining the Consultation Activities

Post-Meeting Hype - Mobilisation
Following the meeting we were very excited and carried our energy forward to get the gears in motion and delegate tasks.
In the next 30 minutes all thirteen of us had a list of things to do and got right to it!  On top of that we made general aims outside our tasks as a group - such as creating a bank of inspiration where we archive electronically any concepts or snapshots of architecture that we find interesting or relevant to the project.  We have secured a location for the consultation event and are well underway with preparations and recording and developping our work in parallel.

Exciting times!

Everyone has a job to do!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Week 2// National Coming Out Day

Friday 11th October 2013 was the 25th annual National Coming Out Day (that's a silver anniversary)! This provided us with the perfect opportunity to talk about some of the issues facing the LGBT community in Sheffield, find out about a range of different experiences and start engaging with people to find out what they really want to see in the future.

People marking their 'LGBT spaces' (blue), support services (green) and unsafe spaces (orange). Then adding flags with thoughts of what would make Sheffield a better place for the LGBT community. 
We teamed up with the University of Sheffield LGBT comity who were setting up a stand in the Students' Union; not neccessarily to encourage people to come out but to promote being comfortable and proud with whoever you are.

We mainly spoke to students, but also a few staff within the university, who then marked their 'LGBT spaces', support services and places in which they felt less safe to express themselves on a map of Sheffield. To this then adding ideas of what they'd like to see in Sheffield to make it a better place for the LGBT community. We think that this started to reveal some interesting patterns and could become a useful tool in determining what a centre might need and where it could be sited.

This marks the beginning of what we hope will be a wide-reaching consultation process. We are aware that the student population are already well catered for (a growing opinion between those we've already spoken to is that Sheffield mainly caters for the young gay man). We are looking to extend our reach towards groups and generations aren't so visible at the moment - allowing our research to reflect something that is accessible to as many people as possible. Thank you to everyone who came and spoke to us, we really value your input and opinions!

Live LGBT group with members of the University of Sheffield LGBT Comity. 

Week 2// Friday // Birmingham

A visit to the LGBT centre in Birmingham proved to be an insightful and aspirational event thanks to David Viney who kindly gave us a tour of the facilities, and a description of how spaces are provided and made appropriate for all - with sensitivity to confidentiality and visibility needs.

We entered the building through the main door into a entrance space that had information pinned up and leaflets available.  David later explained that the location was chosen from a number of potential sites because of its location just on the edge of Birmingham's existing de facto gay village on the Southside by Chinatown.  This allowed it to have a geographic relationship with existing LGBT establishments, but also have a frontage that was not buried in a culture of bars and clubs but instead had open access to the rest of the city.  The location on Holloway Circus was ideal in that it was accessible but not busily pedestrian, this meant that people who are less comfortable with being seen could visit the centre fairly surreptitiously while the centre itself still maintained a positively visible street presence.  David expressed the importance of the visibility of the centre, that it was unlike in the 60s when LGBT organisations had to remain largely clandestine. We agreed that in the 21st century the best way a centre could serve the community is to be seen and accessible and have a good outward relationship. Although a second entrance exists, visitors have had no problem with using the main entrance so far.

While the establishment as a whole does not hide itself from the city, it is still important to control levels of privacy in the spaces within the building.  Upon entering one can immediately see that one of the ways the Birmingham LGBT has addressed this is through its windows and varying ease of access.  From the entrance space, a visitor has the choice of entering the café through an open door to the left, or to turn right into a reception space (with a buzzer system out of hours).  The windows in the café are partially obscured by decorative decals but are otherwise transparent, while the windows in the reception space are translucent but frosted up to just above head height.  Contrastingly the windows of the consultation room next to the reception space are completely frosted; here you can see the façade treatment directly representing the sensitivity of the activities that take place at specific points behind.
Even internally the views are more open in the public café half of the entrance level and more controlled in the more private consultation/reception half of the same floor - with walls and corners obscuring the view from the entrance space.

The cafe that makes up half of the entrance level frontage is open to all and hosts a variety of events throughout the week.  In a cross-community collaboration with the local council, the kitchen is staffed by a team of people with learning disabilities.  The cafe provides a comfortable and open environment where people could congregate or relax alone without feeling judged or socially pressured.

We also discussed how the LGBT centre was set up and the role of the council and other organisations. With the centre being completed at the beginning of this year, its story is especially pertinent to our project in Sheffield.  While the start conditions and context of the gay scene in Sheffield are rather different to those of Birmingham, there are important parallels we can draw in terms of the considerations necessary to make in developing an LGBT space at several scales.

The discussion we had with David at the centre also brought as down to earth on some of the practical issues such as maintaining security in funding and generally ensuring the sustainability of the centre and its relevance within the wider communities and city as a whole; one of the specifically important pieces of advice that we took away from the meeting was that the key to a successful and useful centre is to provide only services that are missing or enhance those that already exist and never compete with any services already available to the community.

These discussions, together with the types of spaces and staffing/community strategies that we were introduced to will feed into our research to make our proposals for Sheffield as informed as possible.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Week 2// Thursday // Manchester

On Thursday we travelled to Manchester to meet with representatives from two established LGBT centres within Manchester; the LGF (Lesbian Gay Foundation) and the Joyce Layland LGBT centre.  Our day started with an exploration of Manchester's famous Gay Village and Canal Street.

The Gay Village was only a short 5 minute walk away from Piccadilly train station.  We found that there was a selection of bars, clubs, shops, restaurants and pubs that lined Canal Street and adjacent streets.  It was visibly a LGBT area with many of the businesses flying the rainbow flag proudly.  We visited Sackville Gardens located next to Canal Street which paid tribute to the Mathematician Alan Turing in the form of a bronze statue sitting serenely within the park.  Turing lived in the UK during the 50s where at the time the freedom to be with someone of the same sex was not accepted and was seen as a criminal act.  Although having helped to crack the Enigma Code in WW2 and being a pioneer in the field of computer science, Turing was prosecuted for engaging homosexual acts and was forced to undergo female hormone therapy to 'cure' his sexuality which led him to tragically commit suicide by eating an apple laced with potassium cyanide.  The statue stands to keep Turing's story alive and as a reminder of the historical and current struggle for LGBT rights within the UK and globally.

Alan Turing, 1912-1954, memorial statue in Sackville Gardens.

Feeling inspired after our exploration of the Gay Village we headed to our first appointment at the LGF, located in the heart of the Gay Village.  On arrival to the building we noticed that there were high security measures in place such as a door buzzer, security cameras to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable LGBT people entering the building and to protect the staff working within the building.  Once inside the centre we were greeted warmly by Andrew Gilliver, the campaigns and engagement officer at the Lesbian Gay Foundation.  Speaking with Andrew was a great opportunity to understand more about the work that they do at the LGF and its importance as an organisation to the LGBT community.  The LGF in Manchester works across the north west to provide the LGBT community with community facilities, support, health care and works on many campaigns projects such as supporting awareness for BME LGBT groups and fighting for LGBT rights.  One of the main points that we got from the meeting was the need to reach out to the more vulnerable LGBT people within the community and go to them, especially those situated within hard to reach areas.  Another point, more specific about the building was having a second more discrete entrance that connected with the more sensitive areas of the building such as the counselling rooms.  Our visit to the the LGF ended with a lovely tour of the building as Andrew showed us the various types of meeting and community spaces.

The Lesbian Gay Foundation, Richmond St, Manchester.
Meeting in one of the LGF counselling rooms.
From Left to Right: Andrew, Yibo, Kevinney, Katherine.

After our meeting with Andrew we said our goodbyes and made our way down to our second meeting at the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre.  It was a 10 minute walk south of the Gay Village but the question we had in our minds was, why was it not situated more centrally in the city centre and was there a decision to locate it outside of the Gay Village? Again we were delighted to be met with such a warm reception by Ali, the centre manager of the Joyce Layland LGBT centre.  We found out that it was the first LGBT centre to be set up in the UK and has been running for over 30 years as a support and community space for the LGBT community.  It was named after Joyce Layland, a parent of a gay son. She was a proud activist within the LGBT community who helped set up the Manchester Parents Group.  The centre has since started an LGBT community cafe (Sidney St. Cafe) that is open to the wider LGBT community and hires out spaces to various LGBT community groups such as LGYM and the University of Manchester LGBT Society.

The Joyce Layland LGBT Centre, Sidney Street Manchester.

What was interesting about the building was that each space provided different levels sensitivity and intimacy which in turn helped to cater for the range of groups with differing needs.  The facade of the building did not express LGBT symbols apart from a small rainbow flag, with the reasoning was that it wanted to be discrete for sensitivity purposes so people could walk through the entrance and not feel like they were walking directly into a gay space, maintaining their anonymity until they could feel secure themselves in revealing their sexuality.  This was one of the reasons for locating the centre outside of the Gay Village along with supporting groups with a need for a 'dry' space such as the LGBT Youth groups and Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous groups that find it difficult to access the Gay Village due to its high number of licensed premises.  The LGBT Centre provides an alternative community space, with a grassroots ethos, involving stakeholders and local community support.  This local community support stretches outside of the centre and links have been formed with surrounding local businesses, (such as the music shop who lent instruments to the LGBT youth groups during Manchester Pride) other community hubs and the two local universities, Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University.  On hearing this it made us think about the ideals of Sheffield as a a social city, a city forged by strong community networks and its pride for supporting a diversity of people.  Having an LGBT centre that has support from Sheffield as a whole as well as Sheffield's LGBT community will be an important factor in making this centre inclusive and connected as part of the city's fabric.  After an insightful chat with Ali, she also gave us a tour of the centre showing us the range of spaces which even included a small stage for performances!

Joyce Layland LGBT Centre's Sidney St. Cafe.
From left to right, Kevinney, Katherine, Ali & Yibo.
All in all it was a brilliant trip, giving us deeper insight into LGBT history and key pointers when thinking about the design of LGBT spaces.  It was great to establish links with the two centres and hope that this will be the start of linking Sheffield's LGBT community more to the existing national LGBT networks.  Thanks again to Andrew and Ali for all the support!

The team at the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre & Mural!
Left to right, Yibo, Katherine, Ali, Kevinney & Daisy.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Week 2// Meetings and Plans

A Brief is Born

We needed to start directing our research towards and aim and so during a tea/lemsip-loaded weekend we have drafted a working brief which has been approved by the group so far.  The brief outlines our research methodology and describes our focus on the community to create a research and analysis package to act as a toolkit for the project to be sustainably maintained.  In essence, we are aiming to creat a vision for an open quarter that will provide for the needs of all cohorts of the LGBT community in Sheffield.  This will be catalysed by a brief for a design competition to create a community centre at the heart of the quarter.


Creating Connections

Time to mobilise! Throughout the last few days we have been organising meetings with various LGBT centres in Manchester and Birmingham.  Looking locally, we have been getting in touch with the contacts we already have within the University and within our own personal networks - such as the Sheena Amos Youth Trust and the Centre for HIV, as well as Shout! and the MSM Community Health Workers. The more diverse the range of people we can correspond with, the more we can ensure that the range of needs of the community are sensitively addressed and that everyone has a voice.

Sheffield University LGBT Committee Meeting

Yesterday evening two members of the Live Project group attended the second LGBT Committee Meeting of the academic year at Sheffield University Students Union.  Following on from the first committee we attended in the previous week where we introduced ourselves, we outlined the aims of the project and the sort of data and voices we wanted to record.

LGBT Committee Meeting at the Sheffield University Students' Union, Attended by Committee Members, interested parties, a CHIV representative, a representative from Staff LGBT and LGBT Sheffield as well as two members from the SSoA Live Project group. 

For this particular meeting we put in a request to coordinate with the union committee on their National Coming Out Day event on 11 October. We agreed to set up participatory activities during the event to ask mainly the student population to map their perception of LGBT-Frienly areas within the city and general thoughts on what an LGBT community space should involve.

LGB@50+ Portrait Exhibition

During the comittee meeting, one of the attendees who worked for the Centre for HIV mentioned a photography exhibition that was going on simultaneously at The Circle. Having said our peace, we excused ourselves from the meeting and ran to the event. It was the opening for the display of portraits of LGB persons and couples over the age of 50, promoting health and support.  The event was attended by the organisers and various members of LGBT Sheffield as well as the subjects of the portraits themselves.  We spoke with some of the people there asking about the various LGBT networks already in existence and the facility for support for the elderly. There seemed to be a resounding agreement for the need for a permanent LGBT space within the city to strengthen the links between the various organisations and provide a go-to place for information and support.

It was fantastic to talk especially to the subjects of the portraits and hear their stories, especially on the environment they had to live through during more homophobic times.  A number of them were avid activists and we met two members of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality who have between them been to many demonstrations throughout the UK and abroad - including the 1million strong Stonewall demonstrations in New York.

Armand, Katherine pictured with John at the LGB@50+ Portrait Exhibition

We were made to face our ignorance at the freedoms many of us now take for granted and that were fought for by people such as those we met at the exhibition and activists such as Edward Carpenter - whose foundation we have been referred to by some of the organisers.  Hopefully we will be able to arrange more meetings with the people we could learn so much more from and those whose voices may be quiet but are made especially pertinent by the wisdom of their experience.

Week 2// Update

Preliminary Work

A Multicultural Team
Following our initial meeting at the Town Hall, we embarked on introductory tasks to develop our collective understanding of LGBT needs and facilities locally and generally.
As an introductory excercise, we put together a world map of personal experiences regarding LGBT culture and perceptions. Not only did this excercise widen our knowlege of homosexuality-related legislation abroad, it also acted as an opportunity to get to know our international team.

Also presented within the group, was a Timeline of LGBT rights in the UK and the general spectrum of Sexuality and Gender Identity.

We made a start on mapping the network of organisations that are linked to LGBT Sheffield and the potential users and stakeholders that will have an interest in an LGBT Community Space in Sheffield.
This was based on initial research online and we are aware that some of these links are more tenuous then others. This mapping excercise will act as a basis for looking further into relationships between the stakeholders and establishing contacts for future research and consultancy.

Initial Research

Inspiration Abroad
Envisioning an LGBT space in the centre of a major city is a daunting prospect!
In order to begin developing ideas it made sense to look at existing examples as precedents.  We already have the advantage of team members having lived in cities abroad and so presented within the group various examples of how Gay Districts have evolved in a diverse variety of social contexts.

3rd internal Group Meeting : Our meetings follow a rolling chair system
Clockwise from far left: Kat, Elin, Niamh, Valandis, Kelly, Gopi, Jason, Nicola, Yibo, Kevinny, Daisy, Armand (Richard is taking photograph)

Some of these cities have had a historically liberal society and so LGBT spaces has evolved in a scattered and integrated manner as part of the city's vernacular; e.g. Berlin.  Some cities like Stockholm have had a more institutional approach where LGBT spaces have developed around centralised organisations and community hubs. Other cities such as Guangzhou have some gay-friendly hotels and venues however for the most part much of LGBT culture remains underground.

As a group we looked analytically at these strategies for providing community space and in doing so began a critical approach to establishing what are appropiate lessons to learn which we can sensitively apply in Sheffield.

Inspiration in the UK
To see what has been done in similar cultural contexts to Sheffield we have looked to Nottingham and Leeds as well as London for precedents. Additionally, we haveorganised group trips to Manchester, Birmingham, and Hebden Bridge at the end of this week. These trips involve tours around community facilities conducted by staff as well as walks around the Gay Districts. These should give us a sense of how these spaces are laid out and what needs to be provided to individual sectors of the community. We can then look in-depth at what works and what could improve as well as what considerations have been made in design - regarding issues of confidentiallity, disability, welfare and general sensitivity towards the users and staff within the building.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Week 1// Day 2// First Client Meeting at the Town Hall

And...we're off!

Today marked the official start to LGBT Sheffield LIVE.  Our team set of this morning to the Town Hall where we met our client, the Labour councillor of Walkley, Neale Gibson.  We were given an overview of his expectations of the project which helped us to establish how we would be situated within it.  It was a fantastic opportunity to open up a discussion about the myriad of LGBT issues both local and universal that exist.  We highlighted current established LGBT services, leisure and community groups within the city but agreed that there was a lack permanent LGBT community space.  Precedent examples of cities such as Manchester and Leeds were shown to have established permanent LGBT spaces within their respective centres which led us to the question of, how can we provide a similar space for the LGBT community in Sheffield?

Back in the Arts Tower HQ we had an internal group meeting to discuss the task ahead.  We are currently in the research phase of our project, looking into the history of the LGBT, local stakeholders and existing precedents of gay spaces taken from around the world.  We are very excited to be working with Neale Gibson and LGBT Sheffield and hopefully within these next 6 weeks we will make a valuable contribution to this worthy cause and project.

From left to right: Simon Chadwick (Tutor) Niamh Lincoln, Gopi Bhuptani, Armand Agraviador, Vakandis Kallis, Katherine Wong, Yu-Hsiang Lai, Neale Gibson (Labour Councillor), Elin Friberg, Kelly-Marie Rodgers, Richard Fennell, Yuting Dai, Yibo Yang,Yaying Feng.