An Audio-Visual Exploration of Manchester’s LGBTQIA+ Community Will Take Over the City's Streets this Weekend

PROUD will allow visitors to listen to true spoken stories from 20 LGBTQIA+ people who live and work in the city.

By Emma Davidson | August 19th '22

Manchester Portrait Photography

Image: Ahmani Vidal

Commissioned by Manchester Business Improvement District and curated by Heard Storytelling, visitors will be able to listen to spoken stories from this weekend, whilst viewing beautiful, large-scale portraits of the storytellers, forming a trail of ‘Living Portraits’ through the city centre.

From the streets of Jamaica, stages of Manchester, dressing rooms of working men’s clubs and the nation’s TV screens, the audio recordings will take listeners on personal and candid journeys around the theme of ‘Proud’, with the importance of representation at their core.

Darren takes us on a journey through difficult beginnings as a child on Moss Side, moments of triumph towards self-acceptance and living authentically in the place where he calls home, while Norman talks us through how coming out as bisexual at 72 changed the course of his life.

Manchester Portrait Photography

Image: Ahmani Vidal

Image: Ahmani Vidal

Recently ordained Priest at St James and Emmanuel, Augustine, recounts the moment when his searching for a space to be ‘all of who he is’ comes to an end, the moment when ‘otherness becomes brotherness’ and how he is creating that loving space for all of the ‘beautiful parts of humanity’. And Vil who as a child threw open a dressing up box and took delight in dressing up in princess gowns, with complete freedom of expression finds as her body begins to change with puberty, her dressing up box is replaced with a box society wants to put her in. 

These and 16 other true spoken stories will be accessed via scanning a QR code on listeners’ mobile phones located next to the storyteller’s portrait, as well as being hosted online here for those unable to visit the trail.

Manchester Portrait Photography

Image: Ahmani Vidal

Proud runs from Saturday 20 August – Friday 2 September and will be hosted in the windows of shops, restaurants and businesses across the city centre including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Manchester Arndale, the Royal Exchange building on Exchange Street and Kala and Kuoni on King Street.

Jane Sharrocks, Chair of Manchester Business Improvement District which represents over 400 leading retail and hospitality brands in the city centre, said: “Manchester BID is delighted to be supporting Manchester Pride through this beautiful audio visual exhibition which will allow city centre visitors to hear first hand accounts from members of our LGBTQIA+ community. These stories are deeply personal and inspirational and we, alongside our retailers and hospitality businesses, feel incredibly privileged to be able to provide a platform to share them.”

Manchester Portrait Photography

Image: Ahmani Vidal

Colette Burroughs-Rose, Co-founder of Heard Storytelling said, “Heard Storytelling exists to make people feel heard. We wanted to collect and share these important voices to bring people together to listen to each other’s lived experiences. We hope that the sharing of these stories will send a powerful message of solidarity, hope and pride to people who may need to hear it. The power of true storytelling and its ability to develop understanding and deepen connections is more important than ever in these uncertain times.”   

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PROUD Exhibition 2022

Date: Saturday 20th August – Friday 2nd September
Venues: Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Manchester Arndale, the Royal Exchange and Kala and Kuoni.
Price: FREE