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B.Right.On Festival celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transexual History Month with poetry, art and culture

  • Date: 16 January 2013
  • Area: South East
Love, Vince Laws

Love, Vince Laws. Credit: Photo courtesy of Vince Laws

This February sees the launch of a new festival that aims to celebrate Brighton's vibrant Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transexual (LGBT) culture and history, spearheaded by Norfolk poet, artist and campaigner Vince Laws.

The B.Right.On Festival takes place 1 to 28 February 2013 and pulls together an exciting mix of visual arts, theatre, film, poetry, participatory events, live performance, academic debate, tours and talks taking place all across the city as part of the LGBT History Month.

Vince Laws received a £7,625 Arts Council England Grants for the arts award to produce his solo exhibition in Brighton during February as part of LGBT month. His exhibition I Am A Poem will transform the whole of Jubilee Library 1 to 13 February.

Grants for the arts is Arts Council England's open application funding programme. It invests National Lottery money to support activities that engage people in the arts and helps artists and arts organisations with their work.

The Festival kicks off on Friday 1 February with two high profile launch events.

At 3pm Brighton Mayor Bill Randall will launch LGBT month and the Festival at Brighton Town Hall with an unveiling of a HIV memorial Hankie Quilt made especially for Brighton's past and present HIV community. At 7pm, Vince will launch his exhibition I Am A Poem at Jubilee Library. Both launches will be accompanied by cake, poetry, wine, Adopt-a-pansy's, performances from Hullabaloo choir, and surprise entertainment.

Highlights of B.Right.On Festival include:

  • Hankie Quilt - 1-28 February, Brighton Town Hall - Hankie Quilt is a memorial to the lives lost and those living with HIV in Brighton. In Brighton, 482 HIV+ people have died since 1982 and there are 1,895 people living with HIV today.
  • Vince Laws' solo exhibition I Am A Poem - 1-13 February, Jubilee Library The exhibition sees BANNED painted across the main window in 'blood', a display of 'banned' books and films and giant speech bubbles in the library foyer exhibition space of coming out stories in 140 characters (OUT140). Other works include This Pope Is Pants and My Mental Helmet.
  • Queer Brighton Tour, with Rose Collis - 3 February, 11am, starting at the Jubilee Library. A fascinating hour-long tour, featuring some of the venues, events and personalities from Brighton's long-standing queer history, including Oscar Wilde, Sussex GLF, Joe Orton, Radclyffe Hall, Anne Lister and the Bloomsbury Set.
  • Love Late - 14 February, 7-10pm, Brighton Museum and Brighton Dome. An alternative Valentine's Day event featuring live music, DJs, objects of desire, DIY valentines, cocktails, performances and a hunt for hidden love stories. Vince Laws will be performing poetry and present OUT140.
  • Poetry event with Vince Laws, Maria Jastrzebska, John McCullough & Max Wallis- 17 February, Envy, 4pm

Vince Laws says: 'I'd like to thank everyone who has agreed to take part - so far the response has been so enthusiastic. So here's how it happened. I went into a cafe in Brighton where I used to clean the floors and asked for an art exhibition. The owner liked my work but said it was too political for his business. A friend knew someone who knew someone at the Jubilee Library - I got offered an exhibition there in February.

'So then I asked if anyone else wanted to help celebrate LGBT History Month in Brighton in February. After getting the support of LGBT History Month National Co-Chairs Sue Sanders and Tony Fenwick, plus many others locally such as Gscene magazine, Brighton Council LGBT Worker's Forum, and Jubilee Library, I Am A Poem turned into we are The B.Right.On Festival - now with added Arts Council England support!'

Paul Bonham, Diversity in Arts Practice Relationship Manager, Arts Council England says: 'It's great to see our National Lottery-funded Grants for the arts scheme supporting Vince Laws' I Am A Poem solo exhibition at Jubilee Library. The mix of poetry, visual arts and performance in honour of LGBT History Month should be a treat, and I hope that as many people as possible have a chance to check it out.'

For more information about Vince Laws and The B.Right.On Festival, see http://www.vincelaws.com/brighton2013.htm. To learn more about our open access Grants for the arts scheme, see http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/apply-for-funding/grants-for-the-arts/