Festival of LGBT+ history 'OUTing the Past' comes to Dublin in March 2020

LGBT+ history will be celebrated in Dublin next week with a 3-day extravaganza of events across the city as OUTing the Past returns.

LGBT history
Image: IQA/National Library of Ireland

OUTing the Past Dublin 2020: The International Festival of LGBT+ History kicks off on March 20 – 22 2020, bringing LGBT+ history to a wider audience with an exciting, inspiring and thought-provoking programme of events.

Following the festival’s hugely successful Dublin debut in 2019 at the National Gallery of Ireland, this year sees three of the capital’s most popular cultural institutions host events across the city.

From a drag story time tour at the National Gallery of Ireland to events exploring clothing as a means of expressing self-identity at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, and a keynote lecture at Kilmainham Gaol, OUTing the Past aims to provide a platform for fresh perspectives on and new insights into past attitudes and behaviours related to sexuality and gender.

Interior of Kilmainham Gaol overlaid with rainbow colours

The Festival opens at the historic Kilmainham Gaol on Friday, March 20 with Sexual Identity, Authenticity and the Casement Diaries, a lecture with Jeffrey Dudgeon, Northern Irish politician, historian, gay activist and distinguished author of Roger Casement: The Black Diaries.

On Saturday, March 21, the National Gallery of Ireland plays host to the Festival. A Drag Story Time Tour with personal drag guides creates stories and games based on queer works of art in the national collection. Gender.RIP’s Conspiracy Workshop allows the public to conspire about what a queer gallery looks like, and how spaces can be taken over.


The concept of asexuality and its impact among artistic communities over time is discussed by Aoife Convery at Asexual Representation, while Clare Geraghty explores hip-hop as an expressive medium born out of underground transitional networks at Hip Hop Feminism: Queers of Colour and Strategies for Resistance.

At pop-up talk The Faithful Underground, Dr Richard O’Leary draws on documents from the Irish Queer Archive, personal oral testimony and never before seen photographic evidence to tell the story of Gay Christians in Ireland. Kris Reid of Historic Royal Palaces talks challenging the status quo by queering the stories in places of ‘power’ at Queering the Castle. Drag & Draw, a life drawing class with drag performers as models, takes over the Grand Gallery.

The final day of the Festival takes place at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks on Sunday, March 22 and features events including Esther & Oscar, author Denis Kehoe’s exploration of clothing as a means of expressing self-identity. Clothing is also explored in ‘It’s What You Wear’, by trans activist Sara R Phillips, who looks at the role clothing has played for the trans-community over the past 200 years.

Pink triangle erected by Denis O’Neill & Tonie Walsh, Hirschfield Centre, Dublin; June 1981

Taryn de Vere talks about her experiences as a fashion activist (with pieces now part of the Museum’s collection) and as a mother of a trans child. Schulze Rainer discusses the significance of the “Pink Triangle” for LGBTQI+ History and Political Activism and visual artist Bríd Murphy introduces the ‘Iam-CAMP’ Project, a video and sound installation created in collaboration with Darren Collins, a Traveller and LGBT+ activist, which is currently on display at Collins Barracks. The Festival concludes with a live music performance from some very special guests to be announced.

OUTing the Past, LGBT+ history festival Dublin 2020, takes place at Kilmainham Gaol on Friday, March 20 2020, the National Gallery of Ireland on Saturday, March 21, 2020, and the National Museum of Ireland on Sunday, March 22 2020. Admission to all events is free. Booking is required for some events in Kilmainham Gaol and the National Museum of Ireland: please see www.nationalgallery.ie and www.museum.ie for details.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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