MY YEAR: Curious Arts | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Reliably informed

Image: Audio Queer artwork by Adrian Martin

Words: Ellie Puckering

We’ve all felt the impact of Covid-19. Our venues having to close their doors and fellow freelancers offered little to no support. Staying safe at home has left many separated from their support systems, loved ones have been lost.

Conscious that lockdown would bring many challenges for our LGBTQIA+ communities, such as isolation in unsupportive settings and reduced access to vital support services, we wanted to ensure that the opportunity to connect with each other remained despite our collective separation.

Curious Arts was founded with the mission to develop and champion LGBTQIA+ arts, artists and audiences across the North East. We’re super small but often reflect that our size is a strength as it enables us to be reactive, flexible and adapt pretty quickly. Something we’ve all had to do in abundance this year.

In July we were due to celebrate Curious Festival’s fifth birthday across the region until Covid had other plans! Like many others, Curious went digital, putting together our first micro-online LGBTQIA+ arts festival and exploring new projects and ways to stay connected.

In summer, we teamed up with Queerious Podcast to launch Audio Queer, a podcast series showcasing LGBTQIA+ artists and creatives from across the North East. We also moved our annual young people’s project, Queer Creative Challenge, online, and collaborated in new ways with LGBTQIA+ artists, allies and supportive organisations to provide young members of our community with moments of creative escapism.

We’re currently re-imagining what Curious Festival might look like in 2021, whilst feeling grateful to be planning for next year. It’s been challenging at times but the support of partners, funders and community members has allowed us to develop a series of community projects focused on well-being in areas of digital poverty.

We’re looking forward to be able to queer spaces and experience art together. Just being together would be great but we’ll settle for Zoom until we get there!

As DJ and Sound Artist Sayang recently reflected at a Queer Arts North event, 2020 is not a write off, too many important things have happened. We have to celebrate the little wins, the progress being made and the voices finally being heard.

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