Manchester Pride launches OUT! digital platform

Samuel Alexander

Samuel is an eternal student, with an animation degree and then some under his belt. Social media expert with a penchant for illustration and creative writing. Horror fan and wannabe scream queen. Lover of films, video games, cartoons, a good cup of tea and beards.

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Manchester is due for an LGBT history lesson, and Manchester Pride is to be the one teaching thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. With new funding Manchester Pride will be creating a bespoke digital platform, entitled OUT! that will explore the history of LGBT life in Manchester.

The aptly named project refers to not only being ‘out’ in reference openly being a member of the LGBT, but also to Manchester’s existing outdoor heritage trail – back in 2003 as part of EuroPride, Manchester Pride developed the Heritage Trail which is still marked today with permanent rainbow tiles that were installed across key locations across the city.

The trail requires the experience and knowledge of a tour guide that can guide the audience around the city, rather than leaving the locations to be explored alone. With the new digital platform OUT! those resources will now be available on an easy to access platform for those looking to learn a little more about the LGBT history of Manchester.

OUT! is also a customisable platform, users can create links and develop their own journeys through different stories, creating an ever evolving and changing platform.

For the gamers among you, keep an eye ‘OUT!’. There will be opportunities for crowd sourcing and digital gaming, allowing users to engage with the content on a more dynamic level. As a gamer, I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on that! The opportunity to brush up on my LGBT history is very appealing too.

Mark Fletcher, Chief Executive of Manchester Pride comments; “Two of the main aims of Manchester Pride are to celebrate LGBT life in our city and to create opportunities for engagement. With ‘Out!’ we aim to commemorate and unite the rich and vibrant past by providing a factual and insightful legacy resource in one single location.”

“Our vision is to enable communities, historians and researchers, tourists and locals to learn about these histories and encourage them to contribute to the content and engage more fully with and to understand this important part of Manchester’s past.”

“I was genuinely surprised to learn that many younger people have no idea or understanding of the challenges that have faced LGBT communities over the years or the fights that have been won that allow us to live freely in this brilliant City. These histories form an integral part of the City’s life and success and we feel that, as 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of charity fundraising events celebrating LGBT life in Manchester, this is a great time to draw focus on these stories and to record them for the future.”

There’s now an exciting opportunity for you readers! Manchester Pride is seeking volunteers to collect information from both the LGBT community and written sources. We’ve got a handy contact for you for that one a little later.

Daniel Jessop, the project manager for OUT!, co-ordinator of the volunteer program, ensures that the project celebrate LGBT history in Manchester.

Daniel has this to say, “It’s great to join the team and make sure that stories in the LGBT community are shared. The Heritage Lottery funded project will empower volunteers through training, collecting oral histories and encouraging people to question the past and find out more. ‘OUT!’ celebrates LGBT heritage and if anyone is interested in being part of this please do get in touch.”

So, curious about what the funding will provide for Manchester Pride and the OUT! platform? The funding will provide training for forty volunteers to collect information from relevant sources, train local historians to investigate archives to examine them for LGBT content, a stand at Expo Stand at the Big Weekend 2015 to explain the project and demonstrate the digital tool and a panel discussion during Manchester Histories Festival 2016 to help the wider community to understand the heritage of the LGBT Community in Greater Manchester.

Volunteers taken on for the project will be trained as oral historians, practicing interview skills throughout the lifetime of the project. There’s even an exciting opportunity to train as a Gaydio intern! Volunteers will also be trained as part of January 2016’s LGBT History Month to collect stories to add to the resources.

And if all that doesn’t sound like enough there will be a digital at Archives + during the Manchester Pride Festival 2015 creating a new strand to their “Radical Histories” unit, a live performance in conjunction with the Gay Village’s Hope Theatre that utilises the resources collected for the project and a digital game run through Twitter to engage you lucky users.

So, it all sounds very exciting and if you’d like to take part you’ve got a chance! Get in touch with Daniel Jessop on daniel@manchesterpride.com to find out more and let him know you’re interested.

For more information about Manchester Pride, visit their website: ManchesterPride.com

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