From Nightclubs to Protests: A Journey through Manchester’s LGBTQIA+ History launches at The Refuge

Together As One features a stunning collection of photographs by John Shard and Peter J Walsh…

By Emma Davidson | 28 July 2022

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Launching this evening at The Refuge on Oxford Street, Together As One is a collection of images celebrating the diversity and wholeness of Manchester’s LGBTQIA+ community across the years. 

Featuring seminal photography by Manchester-based photographers John Shard and Peter J Walsh, the exhibition captures two iconic moments in Manchester’s vibrant queer history, displayed for visitors across The Refuge’s historic walls. 

The first part of the exhibition documents the anti-clause 28 protest which was held across Manchester in the late 80s. Thousands took to the streets to march against the clause which was put in place to suppress the gay community at the start of the devastating AIDS epidemic.

Peter was at the protest, documenting the monumental march that helped change the face of LGBTQIA+ rights in the UK. 

Jon Shard’s input to the exhibition is in the form of a detailed account of Manchester’s gay nightlife scene of the 90s. It captures the mischievous, after-hours party, Flesh, which was held in the iconic Hacienda night club, capturing the pioneering culture of a generation. 

Launched in 1991, Flesh was a nightclub full of flamboyant, fabulous characters, which became an inclusive, safe space for the community to let loose. The club became a place for creative and cultural innovation in the city and subsequently birthed some of Manchester’s greatest DJs, artists and performers.   

The exhibition debuts tonight (Thursday 28th July) at 7pm in The Refuge’s main bar with music from DJ James Holyrod.

Alongside the exhibition, The Refuge will also host a series of celebrations of all things pride, including its famous terrace party ‘Come As You Are’ across the August bank holiday weekend.