Manchester Pride launches LGBT history app

Charlotte Maxwell

Charlotte Maxwell is a Vada Magazine staff writer.

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This June, Manchester Pride will be unveiling a new digital platform that will support the celebration and showcasing of LGBT histories in Greater Manchester. The charity were awarded a heritage lottery grant in 2015 and have since spent the past year developing, creating and collating information for OUT!

Back in 2003, as part of EuroPride, Manchester Pride developed a heritage trail which involved the permanent installation of rainbow tiles into key locations around Manchester city centre.  These tiles are still in place and mark locations of historic occurrences. The tour required the experience and knowledge of a tour guide and was specifically designed for its audience to be guided around the city, rather than to explore the locations themselves.

OUT! is the next stage in Manchester Pride’s heritage trail development. The web app is compatible with most smart phones and brings to life poignant moments in LGBT history. This is done via an interactive timeline that shares with users some of the less visible stories from the past.

Users can also discover how to access fascinating material within Manchester’s existing physical archives through the app. The app is very much focused on including the user in history. All users will be able to share stories and memories with Pride, directly via the app. These memories will be added to the site and ultimately lead to new physical rainbow tiles around the city.

Manchester Pride is also working with volunteers to source material for the digital displays in Archives+ at Central Library to raise awareness of Manchester’s radical and hugely important LGBT history.

‘After months of research, unearthing some incredible stories and bringing to light some historical treasures, we’re excited to be at the launch stage of OUT!…Our aim for the web app is not only to secure a digital record of the city’s significant LGBT legacy, but to educate and engage with local people, and tourists about key chapters of Manchester’s past and the difficulties LGBT people faced over the years…We’re certain that the ground-breaking platform will play a vital part in keeping alive the spirit of this colourful history, now and in the future,’ says Mark Fletcher, Chief Executive of Manchester.

‘OUT! truly is a celebration of LGBT heritage and has been an eye-opening project for all involved. We hope to shine a light on Manchester’s endlessly fascinating lesbian gay, bisexual and trans histories, which have often remained hidden due to legislation and social stigma. We are very excited about our forthcoming training days, which will empower members of the community who want to preserve LGBT histories for future generations. We are proud to be putting on the events as part of Manchester Histories Festival. They’ll be great social occasions too!,’ says Abigail Ward, Project Manager for OUT!

The ‘OUT!’ digital platform has been developed by E3 Creative and launched on 9 June at Central Library’s Archives+ Performance Space.

For more information visit the Manchester Pride website.

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