Cultural Commissions: Out There at Pride House

Bookworms from all over Scotland packed into Pride House on Sunday afternoon to hear a selection of stories from Out There, Zoe Strachan’s Cultural Commissions anthology for LGBT History Month.

Author Zoe – who edited the anthology – introduced readings from Jackie Kay, Louise Welsh, Ryan Vance, Kirsty Logan and Allan Radcliffe, who had just found out that his story, ‘Outings’, is one of three pieces from the anthology that will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Zoe – who is one of this year’s Cultural Commissions artists – has commissioned 30 pieces of prose, poetry and extracts from longer works from Scottish LGBT and queer writers. The line-up reads like a who’s who of established and emerging talent, highlighting the massive contribution LGBT and queer people have made to the Scottish literary scene.

'The response has been hugely positive and already the collection has gained interest across the literary scene,' said Zoe. 'I've been interested in themes that I haven't seen represented much in fiction before; there's more about bisexuality, and much more about older LGBT people.'

The collection – which includes contributions from Ali Smith, Louise Welsh, Jackie Kay, Ronald Frame, Toni Davidson, Kerry Hudson, Val McDermid, Damian Barr and many others – will be published in September by Freight Books, and will be the first collection of Scottish LGBT writing in twelve years.

Attendees also had the opportunity to take part in GAMEFACE, an interactive art exhibition by Pride House Artists in Residence, Garry Mac and Lucy Holmes-Elliott. Garry and Lucy are photographing and sketching visitors to Pride House and painting chunky, Fauvist-style portraits directly onto the walls.

‘Our aim is to create a fast-moving, constantly changing piece of art that represents all the lovely folk who walk through the doors,’ said Garry. ‘Pride House is one of the most chilled-out, inclusive and generally really nice LGBT-spaces I've been in.’

Garry is this year’s other Cultural Commissions artist. Since February he’s been interviewing LGBT people from across Scotland, and is currently working on a short, animated film which compares and contrasts the experiences of LGBT people across the generations.

Lucy was one of LGBT History Month’s first Cultural Commissions artists in 2013. Photographs from her Cultural Commissions piece, The Queer Window Project, are currently on display in the windows of 35 Virginia Street, Glasgow.

The Cultural Commissions – large scale pieces of art with an LGBT theme – are part of LGBT History Month’s wider cultural programme, and were made possible with funding from Creative Scotland, the National Lottery and the Scottish Government’s Homecoming Fund.

LGBT History Month Scotland is a project delivered by LGBT Youth Scotland.