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.
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.