Issue 13 . Summer 2003
All Systems Go!!
The view from the Ourstory offices in the city centre is surely one of the most scenic in all Brighton. Not that you’d know the view was there, however, as the view is blocked by box upon box of books, banners, photos, memorabilia and most of all, of course, memories.
We’re bringing back some of these collected memories with the long awaited return of the Lavender Lounge Bar at the end of Pride Week, on August 10th. The show forms the climax to a whole day of Ourstory activities, centred on Hove’s Dudley Hotel, at the bottom of Lansdowne Place, a few minutes from the West Pier.
Amid the frantic activity of organising these events, Tuesday evenings are a haven of peace when a dedicated team of cataloguers sifts gently through the contents of our many boxes. Recently several new volunteers have joined the Ourstory team. Their focus, along with everyone else, is to get our ever-growing archive into a more logical order and to make sure all the precious items we hold are preserved.
We’ve invested in a computerised cataloguing system that will allow us to easily locate and co-ordinate all our items. New acid-free boxes allow us to keep items from degrading. They’re much more expensive than your common brown box but much safer. As funds allow, we’ll be buying more of these boxes and sending some of the most fragile items off for repair.
Ourstory’s new Management Group has now been established for over a year. Alongside Linda, who has been with the Project since it began are Sally, Benedict and Chris. Sally and Benedict are both graduates of the University of Sussex and became involved with Ourstory through the Queer About Campus exhibition. Chris was formerly owner of the much missed LGBT OUT! Books in Kemptown.
Benedict, Sally, Chris and Linda – Ourstory’s new Management Group
Tom and Alf, although no longer on the Management Group, continue to make a substantial contribution to Ourstory’s work by cataloguing and managing the website. Jill has made the most of her time since leaving the Management Group by getting her excellent book about the Gateways Club published (see the review on page 4 of this issue).
Linda, Sally and Benedict recently went on a fleeting fact-finding mission up north to Manchester to see a variety of archives, libraries and museums to see how Ourstory could develop in the future. While downing a swift half on Canal Street, Sally said of the trip, “It’s interesting finding out the different directions groups have taken. We heard about funding, premises and some of the pitfalls they’ve had along the way.”
The other main focus of the group in recent months has been our application for charitable status. Very few LGBT groups have it but we’re hoping our application will cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s. Becoming a charity will bring with it many benefits.
Firstly it means we will have official acknowledgement that we are completely transparent and trustworthy. Secondly, it brings financial benefits and allows us to bid for pots of money previously closed off. We will report back on this in the next issue.
So enjoy yourselves at Pride and we hope to see you all at our stall in Preston Park on Saturday, August 9th or the next day in Hove for one of our three Pride events.
This year is the 30th anniversary of Sussex Gay Liberation Front’s bold foray into the outside world – Brighton’s first Pride Week. Way ahead of its time, the next Brighton Pride didn’t happen until 1991.