International

INCREASING INCLUSION

What is Increasing Inclusion?

This programme encompasses a variety of training sessions, workshops and tools we use to help organisations and individuals become more welcoming and inclusive to marginalised people from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. To do so, we draw on our scholarly work, our Gothenburg-specific research and a variety of local and international collaborations to put together a series of different inclusion tools. We know that everyone needs to do their bit, that’s why our diversity and inclusion work is designed to be as accessible and practically applicable as possible. 

Our philosophy is rooted in a deep and textured intersectional analysis, you can read more about our own approach to diversity and inclusion here.

Our goal is to give these tools to organisations, working groups and individuals seeking to build more inclusive working, studying and social environments – so please don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how we can help you be more inclusive.

For professional engagements, our fee is available on request.

Why do you need our Diversity & Inclusion Programme?

We all have a role to play in making this world more welcoming and inclusive to all different intersections under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, so please get in touch to see how we can help you change your workplace or study environment.

We tailor our work to your specific needs, so whatever your situation we can design a programme with maximum lasting impact.

MOTGIFTET

What is MOTGIFTET?

MOTGIFTET (the antidote) is a space we make in Gothenburg to come together as a community, unwind, tool-up and heal. This workshop series serves up local and international talent from across a variety of different artistic and cultural disciplines to get us exploring ourselves and each other. 

The series seeks to empower new creators and artists-to-be. We do this both by introducing participants to new mediums and by acting as a platform where artists and knowledge holders of all different levels of experience can have the chance to develop and lead their own workshops.

MOTGIFTET also gives us a framework to continue developing our collaborations with our international partners from The Queer Agenda.

Why do we need MOTGIFTET?

We live in a racist, ableist, agist, queerphobic, transphobic and all-the-other-terrible-ists-and-phobics world. We need MOTGIFTET to exchange knowledges and skills, and to give space for us to celebrate ourselves and enjoy each other. MOTGIFTET builds on the work we started in Sparkplug 1.0 by providing the framework and the glue needed to keep sticking us together as a community.

MOTGIFTET #1: Club Kids Then and Now Screening
Drawing on the long history of queer boudary crossers and gender benders, Sam Message put together a snap shot of the Club Kid culture with a series of long and short films. This workshop was produced in collaboration with This is the Queer Space in preperation for the launch of their party SJUKT where attendees are encouraged to get wild with their aesthetics.

MOTGIFTET #2: Club Kid Drink & Draw
In this playful workshop, Sam Message and Kolbrún Inga Söring broke down the ‘I can’t draw’ narrative with a variety of exciting and experimental drawing techniques. Featuring 3 stunning club kid models). Participants played with tools like ‘edward-charcoal-hands’ and huge bendy foam rods to capture the naugthy club kid aesthetic.
 

MOTGIFTET #3: Teaching To Transgress Toolbox
For this workshop Sam Message and Kolbrún Inga Söring created a workshop with the material produced by the TTTT working group ‘Who’s in the classroom?’. The workshop focused on the many aspects of the Pronoun go-round and focused on three main elements, ice breakers, name and pronoun and accessibility. The main focus was to explore more intersectional and inclusive educational and working environments and give participants the tools to apply them to their own contexts. 

MOTGIFTET #4: Feminist Culture House
This workshop explored collaborations and agreement writing in the arts and cultural field. Peer support, collective sharing, and community building are central elements of Feminist Culture House’s practice, so this workshop was conversational—together, we practiced thinking about our needs and created small zines about them. Through their guidance and experience of feminist practice in approaching collaborations, they introduced tools for welcoming trans artists and arts workers into safe collaborative relationships. 

MOTGIFTET #5: Daniel Mariblanca
Taking the artistic process from 71BODIES as a starting point, this workshop got us engaging with each other by exploring self boundaries and dancing together through improvisational tasks all while working through physical and mental challenges. Through Daniel’s guidance, we focused on searching for personal and unique dance qualities with every participant. 

Most of all, we had fun, experimented with the body and expanded our contact with others.

SPARKPLUG

What is Sparkplug?

Sparkplug is a festival of LGBTQ+ delights designed to bring together the most marginalised groups under the LGBTQ+. 

For Sparkplug 1.0 we used large scale installation and jam packed week of exciting programming to kickstart the growth of a new, more inclusive, more supportive LGBTQ+ community here in Gothenburg.

Sparkplug 2.0 is in the pipeline, so hold tight Helsinki, you’re in our sights…

Why do we need Sparkplug?

Our community is fractured and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people has been incredibly uneven.

We need a community so we can support each other and build a better path forward together, but to do this we need to harmonise. Harmonising doesn’t mean becoming the same, it means finding a way to all sing our own tune whilst resonating with others. It means that together we can create something more than just the sum of our parts.

As the starting point for a new harmonisation, Sparkplug 1.0 used two key types of tools to get this music flowing: relational ones and spatial ones. Where the spatial is all about sensory experiences like colour, form, texture and lighting, the relational is all about connecting with people in different ways. 

This is part of a methodology we’ve developed called Community Cultivation. To give you a quick crash course, we’re using Community Cultivation’s spatial and relational tools to bring together new groups of people from different marginalised groups under the LGBTQ+ umbrella and get them to interact with each other. We use this methodology to guide different kinds of interactions with the ultimate goal of fostering new relationships and, in turn, lay the foundations for a more intersectionality diverse LGBTQ+ community.

The Spatial

We had two tasks with the spatial:

  1. To create an environment which encouraged play and upset the rules. 

OUR SPACE OUR RULES
Walking into the gallery, you were immediately confronted with a pulsating, mouthwatering interruption to the sleek yeet bland navy, beige and black Scandinavian world outside. Just as we as a community break with normative life we made our space to break with normative aesthetics.

Sparkplug 1.0’s captivating sensory experience set the stage to move away from the cis-het norms that dominate our social world. At the same time though, being in such an alien space also had us feeling a little alien. If this was going to be the springboard for a new community, for a new home, we first needed to claim this space for ourselves.

Throughout the festival, workshops continually added to the space. We hung up our work, painted directly on the walls and furniture, created freestanding sculptures and left our traces as we pleased. Through our work and our play we claimed ownership over this space together. This built a special connection between us and the space  – in turn this allowed the space to become a medium through which we could connect to those we hadn’t directly worked with.

THE SPACE THAT HUGGED
While the first space was a place to get wet and wild, we also needed somewhere to collect ourselves, connect with ourselves and savour a slice of cooling calm.

At the back of the project space lay a shrouded entrance. Through this entrance came an outstretched peace offering: a hand holding a plant-cutting. In Gothenburg this plant is known as the ‘lesbisk nässla’ or ‘lesbian nettle’. The origin of the name is said to come from how easy it is to take cuttings from it. As the folklore goes, once one lesbian gets one, it spreads like wildfire through their circle. Textile artist Esse McChesney based their work for the Project Space on this ol’ queer Gothenburg tale, taking the ‘lesbian nettle’ as a symbol for our community’s sharing and caring: queer love, if you will!

Plunging into this entrance took you to the source of our space’s otherness – the portal. The Portal Room was designed to expand the space’s versatility. 

The Portal Rooms’ cool throbbing lights, encapsulating fabrics and dampened sound created a stark contrast to the bustling vibrant room lying just beyond the entrance. 

Throughout the week we used this space for reflection, and to take those quieter moments where we needed to get vulnerable with each other. With its completely different feeling to the Project Space, the portal room opened up a whole new set of possibilities for the kinds of relational work we could do with each other.

Sparkplug 1.0 was a space between spaces. It was a space between the world of ablist, racist, ageist, sexist, classist, cis-het bullshit outside and the queer utopia lying somewhere out of reach, beyond the portal. Sparkplug 1.0 sought to upset these overpowering systems; and even if we couldn’t override them completely, our two space’s gave us room to at least start that process.

  1. To create a space which could host all of our relational work. 

This is where the Swiss Army Space comes in: we needed a space to host everything from drag workshops to mural painting, embroidery to vogue, film screenings to karaoke, social space to open space. Furniture we built to make this happen included folding benches and tables that turned into room dividers.

Our furniture also needed to work as tools in our unscripted relation work. The flowing organic shape of our benches were made to be the heart of the room, where people naturally would collect. It became a place where people could meet in smaller groups, whilst also facilitating the mixing of these groups to make broader conversations. With the help of all our structured relational work, this became a space where relative strangers came together to share intimate experiences of being LGBTQ+ in Gothenburg.

The Relational

Once we had claimed ownership over the space together, the stage was set to build new relationships in our fractured community. Together, the workshopping and the spatial work paved the way for the crucial next step: getting into the nitty-gritty. We put on a buffet of different events from high energy – think a room full of hyped up queers and trans people chanting ‘gay power’ over and over again, an activity which deffinately did not upset the neighbours… thanks Speech Karaoke – down to careful contemplation. 

This all fostered a lot of discussions – joyful ones, confronting ones, caring ones, difficult ones – and a lot of listening – listening to dreams, to frustration, to demands, to consolations, to play. 

We had spontaneous discussions, structured discussions and prompted discussions. To spark these conversations, and to guide them, we used a variety of starting points from following scripts and our Together Tools (tools you can only use in collaboration with others) to film screenings and panel & round-table discussions. 

These discussions helped us understand the different struggles, challenges and joys that we face across our incredibly varied community here in Gothenburg. 

MAKING TOGETHER
Whether it was preaching impassioned speeches or sissying our swaying hips, embroidering rainy umbrellas or jumbling together non-binary characters, painting walls or painting faces, we did a lot of making together! Check out the gallery tab to get a taste of the action.

Our workshops were designed by and for people who belong to our 5 priority LGBTQ+ groups – racialised people, working class/precarious people, people with dsaibilities, elders and binary & nonbinary trans people. You can read more about our approach to accessibility and inclusion here.

Throughout the festival, we drew on the strengths of local talent and our international partners from The Queer Agenda to put on a deliciously varied spread of workshops to tantalise people of different tastes – we wanted to make sure there was at least 1 thing that got people’s juices flowing! 

COMMUNITY
We built a space that broke with the norms outside its walls. Then we helped our community claim it for their own. In doing so, those that took part built a special relationship with both the space and each other. This made people feel at home and created fertile ground for new relations to sprout.

During this time we also made room for ‘open space’ – giving the chance for those in the community to turn up and do what they wanted with the space. From impromptu lip sync competitions to drawing to runway presentation on the street outside we used the space how we wanted to. 

So, did it work?

Since Sparkplug 1.0 we’ve seen the seeds we planted burst out of the ground. First they were just small shoots, but with our continued nurturing and fertilising with the help of all our fabulous collaborators we’ve seen these plants grow into sturdy young saplings. Read more about our artistic endevours, and the social spaces our siblings at This is the Queer Space to find out more!

Where there is plenty of work still to go, we are well on our way to the sustainable, inclusive and diverse LGBTQ+ community we dream of. Onwards and upwards Gothenburg!

THE QUEER AGENDA

What is The Queer Agenda?

The Queer Agenda is a network of LGBTQ+ artists, cultural producers and community builders from across the Nordic and Baltic regions. Our fields vary from film making to illustration, intersectional organising to dance and more! 

In our network we share knowledges across our different practices and Nordic/Baltic cultural contexts.

Why do we need The Queer Agenda?

As LGBTQ+ cultural producers, community builders and individuals we face lots of different and specific challenges. These challenges vary enormously depending on who we are, where we come from and in what situation we are in. In the face of these challenges we have learnt to be resilient and innovative in order to not just survive but to thrive. In our work as a network we seek to learn from each other’s success and mistakes. 

We also work to strengthen the ties between marginalised LGBTQ+ people from around the Nordic/Baltic region to open up new opportunities for collaboration and cross-polination.

Round 1

In the first round of The Queer Agenda, we explored our utpoic visions and dreams for the future by drawing on our different experiences and knowledges from the past. Through a series of workshops we tackled issues facing us as LGBTQ+ organisers and artists and explored our desires for utopian queer spaces and relations. 

Sparkplug 1.0

We drew directly on this process for our contribution to installation for Sparkplug 1.0 and also developed 2 artist’s briefs – one for a local Gothenburg-based artist and one for an international partner organisation to respond to for the festival. The first was a spatial brief which Esse McChesney responded to and the other was a relational brief, assigned to Feminist Culture House. 

All members of the network were invited to contribute a progamme point during the festival, check out more about the exciting programme we put together here!

Round 2

Right now we are recruiting for round 2 of The Queer Agenda, so if you are or know an artist, cultural producer or community builder working within the LGBTQ+ community please get in touch here. 

Our Priority Groups

Our inclusion strategy recognises that many marginalised LGBTQ+ people face barriers in accessing traditional pathways to the world of art and culture. That’s why we work to include voices which are excluded by the art world’s systems of ‘professionalisation’, especially those from our priority groups. So whether or not you consider yourself a professional artist, we still want to hear from you. Your knowledge is especially valuable, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch here.