Queer Shores and Seas

SeaScapes CoLab invites Queer people, as well as their family and friends, to be part of a series of workshops ran by artist, performer and writer Lizzie Lovejoy.

Queer Shores and Seas is a project designed to explore the stories of the Queer people around our North East coastline, from the North of the Tees to the South of the Tyne.

In ‘Writing for Performance’ participants will explore performance games and activities, as well as different techniques for creating a Spoken Word/ Performance-Poetry piece. Participants will have the opportunity to perform, or have their work performed by someone else, in a performance showcase later this year.

‘Sketchbook Walk’ is an observational drawing based activity. All participants will be given a sketchbook, pens and pencils and be led on a trail, documenting and illustrating different aspects of our Northern coastal landscape. Participating artists will have the opportunity to be featured in a touring exhibition showcase later this year.

As part of ‘Story Sharing’ participants are invited to share their stories by the coast, and their experiences of Queer life. This workshop is more of a conversation, hearing stories and giving stories in return. These tales and experiences will be the basis of the spoken word pieces and visual artwork created by Lizzie Lovejoy, showcased later this year.

Lizzie said: “The workshops will be primarily story-collecting sessions, with elements of both creative writing and reportage drawing explored by those that take part.

“This will lead to the creation of a range of images and a series of poems and everyone that is part of a workshop will have the chance to have the work they produce featured at the exhibition and performance night.”

The story sessions will be held in several community locations south of the Tyne and north of the Tees, including Souter Lighthouse in South Tyneside and the Northern School of Art in Hartlepool, where Lizzie studied illustration, and there will also be a virtual element to ensure accessibility for all.

Lizzie, 25, who has lived across the Tees Valley and County Durham but is currently based in Newton Aycliffe, said: “There is freedom in water, and I’ve always existed near rivers, so I write a lot about the water, particularly northern water, and about being by the shoreline.

“I’m very much a community practitioner and want to encourage and empower people to be more creative. Many people say to me that they can’t draw, but they often surprise themselves, and everyone’s stories are relevant. I understand more than most that it can be uncomfortable to identify yourself in a certain way, but I want to help people embrace that discomfort through this work, as well as capturing the uniqueness of our northern water.”

Suzy O’Hara of SeaScapes Co/Lab said the team selected Lizzie for Queer Shores and Seas as they have a strong relationship with the marine and maritime heritage of the regional coastline, and a strong track record of amplifying northern voices.

She said: “We know Lizzie’s work will help us magnify the voices of underserved LGBTQIA+ people living within the SeaScapes area and safeguard the oral ‘living histories’ that will contribute towards conserving the richness and diversity of our natural, cultural and marine heritage for future generations.”

Learn more about Lizzie and their work at lizzielovejoyillustration.co.uk. The story-collecting workshops will begin in May, and you can follow the progress of the Queer Shores and Seas project at exploreseascapes.co.uk.

Led by Lizzie Lovejoy, in partnership with Curious Arts Curated by Suzy O’Hara for Explore SeaScapes

Find out more about attending these sessions here: https://buff.ly/3KXLaW8