Visit the Queer Spaces exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery

A new, free exhibition exploring the evolution of LGBTQI+ venues in London since the 1980s has opened at the Whitechapel Gallery, called Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today.

This small display features photography, different flyers from London’s queer scene through the years, a documentary and archive material courtesy of the UCL Urban Laboratory. There’s an interactive map of all the LGBTQI+ venues in London for every year from 1980 to 2019 – it was interesting to sit down and have a look at the different queer scenes evolving through the years, where places opened, then what closed down.


A light installation is also being shone upon the outside of the building, but only during night-time when the gallery is closed. I’ll be going back at night to check that out! 

The art displayed here celebrates the history of each venue, highlighting the necessity of queer representation in the city: the number of such spaces in London has halved since 2006.

Dr Ben Campkin, from UCL Urban Labs, says: ‘since 2015, there’s been a lot of effort in London among activist groups to archive LGBTQI+ spaces, in response to threats of closure. We have started to build up archives and see why places had opened, where, how they stayed opened and, if they were closed or threatened, to find out why.’ 


‘When you listen to the oral histories, you can hear the tenacity and creativity of the people who have driven these spaces forwards. That reflects in the activism that is happening now.’

Queer Spaces is at Whitechapel Gallery to 25 Aug
Admission free
77-82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX
Tue-Sun 11am-6pm; Thur 11am-9pm


Want to learn more about LGBTQI+ landmarks? Discover them here this Pride season 

Art credits from top to bottom:

Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings
The Scarcity of Liberty #2, 2016
Cork board mounted on wooden frame, magazine pages, pins
Courtesy the artists and Arcadia Missa

Soroya Marchelle
Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 2018
Photo by and courtesy of Léa L’attentive

Ralph Dunn
Public Toilets, 2004
Photograph Courtesy the artist


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