FOR IMMEDIATE USE                   22 January 2015

Exhibition to celebrate our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community

An exhibition and new collections will be created through a new project exploring the history of Cumbria’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The Heritage Lottery Funded project is the result of an exciting partnership between OutREACH Cumbria and Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery.

The ground-breaking project, called CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria, is currently recruiting volunteers from across the county to get involved over the next 20 months.

The organisers look forward to getting not only the LGBT community, but also people from all walks of life involved.

Tonia Lu, the CELEBRATE Project Coordinator, said: “It is an amazing opportunity to find out more about the lives of the LGBT people in the county in the past, and to share this with the wider community.

“In recent years, we have seen an increasing number of mainstream films and TV shows made about the living history of the LGBT community, including the recent hit film Pride. We believe CELEBRATE will not only be something special for the LGBT people in Cumbria, but also a great channel for people to know more about part of their community – and perhaps there will be many surprising discoveries.

“We are fortunate to have an abundance of voluntary organisations across Cumbria and also the students who would be interested in this project because of its strong arts and cultural elements. We hope many people will come forward to be part of the CELEBRATE team and to make history.”

Partnership working is crucial to this project – OutREACH Cumbria and Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery have been working on this project since early 2014.

OutREACH Cumbria, based in Carlisle, has over 10 years’ experience in providing help, advice and support to the LGBT community.

Richard Kavanagh, the Chair of the organisation, said: “In the past years we have heard numerous stories and issues about what it is like to be an LGBT person in Cumbria: the rural isolation; the lack of local facilities and support.

“We hope this project will not only find and present the community’s stories of the past, but also help us to identify areas in which we could provide greater support – and provide a resource for the local authorities and other charitable organisations. Through working with the Tullie House, we have started on a great relationship in the art and culture sector and hope to expand that.”

Tullie House, the largest museum and a key cultural centre in Cumbria, is also excited to enrich its social history collection through this project.

Claire White, who oversees the community engagement projects at the Tullie House, said: “We have been working in partnership with OutREACH Cumbria since it came to light that there was a gap in our collections that represented the LGBT community.

“This project aims to build stories and a collection at Tullie House which will be a valuable addition for the LGBT and the wider community. Tonia will be working closely with us, likely cross over many departments from curatorial through to education and community, over the next two years to help make this happen.”

February is the LGBT History Month in the UK, and a lunch time lecture about this project will take place at the Tullie House at 1pm on the 3rd of February.

Individuals and organisations interested in involved in this project can go to for more information and to sign up or email Tonia Lu, Project Coordinator at or phone 07956 336872


Notes for Editors
About OutREACH Cumbria:
• OutREACH Cumbria is the main service provider for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans support, advice and engagement in the North Cumbria area.
• OutREACH Cumbria’s physical services may only reach the North of Cumbria, but it does work county wide and provide help to anyone within Cumbria, and the surrounding areas.
• OutREACH Cumbria runs a Free Telephone Helpline between 7pm and 9.30pm on Thursdays as well as One to One Sessions in Carlisle.
• OutREACH Cumbria also runs G.O.B.S (Gay Older Brothers & Sisters) Mentoring Scheme for young people.
• It has a range of different services, groups, projects and opportunities on offer.
• For further details on OutREACH Cumbria, please visit:
About Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery:
• Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery (Commonly known as the Tullie House) is a meeting point of the History, Nature and Art in one of Britain’s most fascinating regions.
• The rich collections are a resource of local, regional and national importance.
• Tullie House run our programme of activities and events for children and families, as well as our Tuesday Lunchtime Talks and Monday Alternative Film Season.
• Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery transferred to Trust in May 2011. The Museum is now an independent organisation and is supported by a Board of Trustees chaired by Roger Cooke.
• For further details on the Tullie House, please visit:
Further Information
For further information contact Tonia Lu on or 07956 336872
Free-to-use images and press releases are available from the CELEBRATE website: