Our Pride

by Sister Shack CIC in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom

Our Pride
We did it
On 20th May 2024 we successfully raised £2,850 with 74 supporters in 54 days

‘Our Pride’ is an alternative LGBTQIA+ events programme by Sister Shack CIC. This year, our main event will be on Saturday the 20th of July.

by Sister Shack CIC in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom

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WHAT IS OUR PRIDE?

Our Pride is a safer space for people who do not feel represented in the cultural queer activities happening across the city, and for those who are only represented in certain activities.

In 2003, Sister Shack CIC organised the first 'Our Pride Festival,' a five-day LGBTQIA+ events programme. In 2019, we saw a need for an alternative pride offering, and we hosted our first all-day Pride event in a venue in Newcastle upon Tyne. Due to the Global pandemic, we took our programming online. In 2022, we hosted our second physical event at The Old Coal Yard. From the positive feedback received, we realised that these calmer and safer spaces are needed more than ever.

From July 18th, 2023, we hosted five days of events in different venues across Newcastle upon Tyne. These included a film screening, live music performances, workshops, family crafts, DJ performances, panel discussions, and more. In 2023, we applied for an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant, and to our delight, we won this vital funding. 

Fast forward to 2024, the Arts Council rejected our latest funding bid. We had much bigger plans, including a takeover at the Great North Museum, which kindly gave us the hire of the building in kind and some of the programming. The programme was to consist of a series of artistic events, celebrating queer joy of communities from across the North East and beyond – working with diverse artists including musicians, spoken word, facilitators and environmental artists.  

Previously, most of the pride funding relied on limited amounts donated mainly by myself (Chantal Herbert), a small charge for stallholders, and, in 2022, some donations from the public. As we have yet to receive funding this year and due to personal financial changes, I cannot fund Pride myself this year. I am again asking the community for help. This is not something I am comfortable doing, but I understand how vital non-mainstream queer spaces are. I have been overwhelmed with the support so far, and I want to make pride something for all of us. By, led and for.

You can find more about last year's Our Pride here:

www.ourpridefestival.com

and our panel discussion here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdmENKX6v9s

WHAT WILL WE DO

Depending on how much we raise, we would like to continue Saturday's pride event at The Old Coal Yard, where there will be stalls, a craft area, a panel discussion, musical performances, poetry readings, a food truck, and so on. If we get enough funding, we will extend the event over more days, which will include a cinema screening. If possible, we will look to continue our idea of a Friday event at The Great North Museum.

If we get enough funding, we will extend the event over more days, which will include a cinema screening. This would cost a lot more than our target, so this is money dependant With more funding, we will look to continue our idea of a Friday event at The Great North Museum, this included 8-10 activities, including crafts, talks, music, queer ecology, writing, poetry and more.

Our original plan was as follows:

Tuesday: Star and Shadow cinema film screening

Wednesday: Hush Club is a calming and safe space where musician Beccy Owen will create a supported and reflective space using the Sound Bath meditative techniques. There will be a trauma informed specialist available for people who connect to their trauma through the practice. 

Friday: working in partnership with Great North Museum, a safe and exciting space will be created in the centre of Newcastle. Embedding alternative queer culture in a safe and mainstream heritage space – presenting and exploring the stories of the region’s queer community in a Museums After Dark programme. There will be a trauma informed specialist on hand throughout the event.

Partnerships with Brown Girls Write and SoreSlap Theatre Company – developing a spoken word platform for queer and global majority artists to perform their writing in a safe and supportive environment. 

A queer musician and facilitator will lead a joyful and upbeat performance for audiences – a performance which will get people on their feet.  

Working with environmental artist two environmental artists and Great North Museum; audiences will experience art and foraging. Exploring the connection between nature, the environment and self. 

Midnight Commune will bring their safe and quiet crafting space to the Great North Museum – specifically focused for people who are Neurodivergent, experiencing overwhelm, or who just prefer a quieter and more gentle experience. 

Saturday: The final day of activities with a market, crafts and panel discussion – hosted by Chantal Herbert. Exploring queer stories lesser heard and represented in the cultural landscape of the region. The event will include spaces for families and children to work with craft facilitators, quiet and neurodivergent spaces.

WHY DO WE NEED NON-MAINSTREAM PRIDE SPACES

On Sunday, March 24th, I received the email below and a copy of a letter that summarised how important these spaces are.

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OUR PRIDE IN PICTURES

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