- 30 Mar 21
The National Library's 'Living with Pride' campaign will run between March and November, with a major exhibition planned for Summer 2021.
The National Library of Ireland has announced details of Living with Pride, a year-long flagship programme exploring Irish LGBTI+ identity and experience over the last several decades and into the present day.
The overall programme hinges on the National Library’s Christopher Robson Photographic Collection, which will be the subject of a dedicated photographic exhibition. Online events focusing on the road to marriage equality and the work of the Irish Queer Archive are also part of the flagship initiative.
Living With Pride is set to launch in Summer 2021, both at the NLI’s National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar and online, COVID-19 restrictions permitting. The Events Programme was co-curated with the NLI by LGBTQ+ activist, journalist and founder of the Irish Queer Archive; Tonie Walsh.
Christopher Robson was a founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN). His photographic collection of around 2,000 slides, which document LGBTI+ life and activism in Ireland, was donated to the National Library in 2015 by GLEN and Bill Foley - Christopher Robson's civil partner - in the presence of President Michael D Higgins. The exhibition will centre around Robson’s photography, life, activism and achievements, while the events programme facilitates the themes and issues raised by his photographs.
These online events include virtual talks, readings, workshops, panel discussions and events for children and young people. The first event, entitled ‘Lived lives: The Irish Queer Archive’, takes place on Wednesday, March 31st at 7pm.
“As Ireland’s memory-keeper, the National Library of Ireland is committed to collecting, preserving and sharing the story of Ireland in all its rich diversity," Director of the NLI, Dr Sandra Collins said.
"This includes historically lesser-told and marginalised narratives, like that of Ireland’s LGBTI+ community. The Library’s collections are for everyone, and we are a place of welcome for all. It is important to us that diverse groups feel seen and listened to in the Library’s collections and in its wider work; and that they feel visible, respected and included. In designing Living with Pride, we took a ‘nothing about us without us’ approach, striving for sincere and meaningful engagement with the LGBTI+ community, in a way that reflects both its historical and contemporary concerns and experiences."
As part of Living with Pride, a poet-in-residence programme will run throughout 2021. Award-winning poet Seán Hewitt will engage with the content of the IQA to produce a number of works, in partnership with Cúirt International Festival of Literature and funded by the Arts Council.
“It feels particularly special to return to the Library and work with it in devising the Living with Pride programme," Co-curator of the Living with Pride events programme, Tonie Walsh said.
"Ireland has followed a remarkable trajectory in terms of LGBTI+ liberation and equality, in legal recognition and public attitudes. A programme of this scale and sort, mounted by a national cultural institution, would have been unthinkable not too long ago. It is my hope that the wide-ranging series of events will allow Ireland’s LGBTI+ community to take stock of where it has come from and consider where it is going next."
"An overriding objective of this programme is to ensure that members of the LGBTI+ community are aware of the Irish Queer Archive," Walsh added.
'The collection includes media clippings, community publications, material relating to various LGBTI+ organisations and initiatives and other ephemera, and is an invaluable community resource. It will be accessible to explore and enjoy as soon as public health guidelines allow in-person visits to the Library.”
On Wednesday, April 28th at 7pm, Bill Foley will be in conversation with Aifric Ní Chríodáin, Development Manager of ShoutOut. 'Happily Ever After? The road to Marriage Equality' will take place on Thursday, May 28th at 7pm, marking six years since Marriage Equality. Gráinne Healy (Marriage Equality), Brian Sheehan (GLEN/Marriage Equality) and Lisa Connell (Noise, GCN) will be in-conversation, moderated by Tonie Walsh.
For more information and the most up-to-date programme of Living with Pride events, visit nli.ie.