Ride with Pride vehichles at Beckton 2015 (Image:TfL / London Transport Museum Collection

“Museums must do more to care for LGBTQ+ histories all year round”

Yosola Olorunshola, 24.07.2019
Q&A on London Transport Museum’s #MyJourneytoPride
In July London Transport Museum launched #MyJourneytoPride – a contemporary collecting project asking people travelling to Pride and UK Black Pride events in London to share their journeys.

Supported by funding from Arts Council England, London Transport Museum’s contemporary collecting projects like #MyJourneyToPride aim to preserve stories and objects from life in London today for future generations.

Museums Journal spoke to documentary curator Ellie Miles at the museum to find out how the idea developed and hear some of the stories and themes that emerged. 

1.    How did the idea for the project come about? 

Through our contemporary collecting projects like My Journey To Pride, London Transport Museum wants to make sure that everyday stories and objects from life in London today are preserved for future generations. In our collection we’ve already documented how Transport for London has promoted LGBTQ+ equality in recent years, but we knew we wanted to do more. Earlier this year, Sacha Coward and I were talking about working together on a new collecting project and he proposed the idea of #MyJourneyToPride as way to help preserve the social side of the story which these objects cannot tell on their own.  

2.    How will the collection be displayed or accessible to the public? 

At this point our focus is on collecting and documenting people’s #MyJourneyToPride stories, and any outputs we produce will be led by the material. We’re currently seeking permission to preserve and use material people have shared with us as they travelled to and from the Pride and Black Pride events on 6 and 7 July. We’ll then look at ways for people to engage with the stories that have been collected. As part of the project, six video diarists – including Sacha – also documented their own journeys to and from the parades. A video sharing their experiences will also become part of our collection and be shared online, so keep an eye out for that!

3.    What do you hope #MyJourneytoPride will achieve for LGBTQ+ visibility and solidarity?

#MyJourneyToPride is a step forward in the museum's ongoing commitment to caring for LGBTQ+ histories for future generations. I hope that we will be entrusted with a body of material that reflects a variety of opinions and lived experience across the LGBT+ community.

4.    What were some of the stories collected this weekend?

We’re really grateful to everyone who took the time to document and share their experiences so candidly. I love the energy and sense of community the contributors captured during their journeys to Pride and throughout their time at the parades, but I was also struck by one video diary entry describing verbal abuse the contributor had been subjected to at a railway station. #MyJourneyToPride set out to document the everyday experience of life in London for the LGBTQ+ community as they travelled to Pride events - both positive and negative - and I am thankful to the people who have entrusted us with their stories.

5.    What challenges did you face in collecting a wide range of voices over the weekend, and how will you continue collecting contemporary LGBTQ stories?

One challenge was the perception that the museum only wanted to document positive experiences and good news stories. I think this points to the fact museums must do more to care for rich, complex LGBTQ+ histories and experience all year round. I think museums generally have to earn trust from people whose communities have historically not been well represented. We are in the early stages of research about LGBTQ+ railway histories in London in the mid-twentieth century, so for London Transport Museum, #MyJourneyToPride was a step towards building this trust. In time, we will also look at how we display the new collections we develop.

If you have a story for London Transport Museum’s Documentary Curator get in touch by emailing: documentarycurator@ltmuseum.co.uk