Saturday 4th of February 2023 was the official launch of Queer Norfolk! At 6pm, the Norfolk and Norwich Millinium became the queerest place in town when around 70 queer history superfans turned up to show their support for the project. Adam Baker, the Community Archivist who started the project, spoke about origins of the projectand his hopes for the future. Next, Community Librarian Rachel Ridealgh, who co-founded the LGBT+ Ephemera archive at the Norfolk Heritage Centre with Jo Foster-Murdoch, spoke next about the exciting potential for the project, followed by Professor Richard Sawdon Smith who expanded on the significance of putting queer narratives and history back into the hands of queer people. Finaly, the evening was rounded off by the Sing with Pride choir, who sang a medley of songs from the OUT140 Play, which is featured in the Millenium Library’s display for LGBT+ History Month.
The project frist began in April last year, with the website first going live in September. Since then, a tiny team of volunteers have been working away, getting things ready for the official launch of the project. As the project enters this next exciting stage, we hope to uncover even more queer history and make more of what we have found accessible via the ehive.
There are a huge number of ‘thank yous’ to say:
Rachel Ridealgh from Norfolk Library and Information Service for all of her support in moving the project from idea to reality, for helping with the launch, and giving a brilliant speech on the night.
Norwich Pride, for their faith in the project and for their support in bringing the Queer Norfolk website online. And thank you to trustee Prof. Richard Sawdon Smith for giving a brilliant speech on the night.
Jo Foster-Muridoch and Rachel Ridealgh (again) for setting up the LGBT+ Ephemera Collection at Norfolk Heritage Centre to address the gap in this brilliant community collection.
Volunteer Beau, who has not only dedicated hours of their time to research and advocated for Queer Norfolk to bring Norfolk Museum Service on board, but has also been assisting with social media, promotion, guidance and pretty much everything!
Volunteer Howe, who has shared their thoughts on the direction of the project and assisted with research.
All of the organisations who have agreed to share their collections with the project, including…
Norfolk Library and Information Service
East Anglian Film Archive
Norfolk Museum Service
Norfolk Record Office
Sing with Pride for performing the OUT140 medley on the evening, and Stevie and Shelly for loaning the beautiful banners and quilt that were on display.
Queer Norfolk is a volunteer-led archiving project that hands ownership of queer collections back to communities, empowering people to access, discover, and contribute to local collections that reflect our shared histories.