A NEW project, Out on an Island, will explore the untold and often hidden heritage of the Isle of Wight's LGBTQ+ community.

Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which has awarded the project a £42,400 grant, and delivered by the StoneCrabs theatre charity, Out on an Island aims to break down stereotypes and encourage open discussion.

Project manager Caroline Diamond and artistic director Franko Figueiredo have appealed for people to get in touch and share their stories.

They are keen to include memories, documents and artefacts that highlight the Island's LGBTQ+ history — largely ignored and often erased, particularly in rural communities.

The project will span 18 months. Volunteers, who will receive accredited training from the Oral Histories Society, are being sought to carry out interviews, research archive material and engage with the wider community through talks and workshops.

Caroline said: "Isle of Wight and UK Pride have brought the Isle of Wight LGBTQ+ community into the public eye locally.

"This isn’t a ‘new’ community and we are excited to have the opportunity to highlight and learn from the unspoken LGBTQ+ stories from the past.

"We hope to encourage the sharing of stories and we have no preconceived ideas of what to expect.”

Franko said: "The time of full equality is not quite with us yet, we still feel oppressed by the legacy of the hetero-normative history and many of us don’t always feel safe or comfortable in public places.

"There is still a lot of misunderstanding and bigotry against the LGBTQ + community that we need to overcome.

"Caroline and I have been meeting and Out On An Island came from our discussions on the meaning and importance of cultivating connection and change through our island's unspoken LGBTQ+ history.

"Out On An Island can show us that the Island can and should be a diverse, inclusive home for all its visitors and inhabitants.”

The project has been backed by human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who said: "LGBTQ+ history and Pride events have tended to be focused on Britain's major cities, to the neglect of more out-of-the-way places like the Isle of Wight.

"But LGBTQ+ people are everywhere, in all parts of the UK. This project aims to shine a light on the Island's LGBTQ+ community and its long history — to inform, educate and inspire."

Local contributors to the project include Quay Arts, Ventnor Exchange, Carisbrooke Castle Museum, the Isle of Wight County Records Office, County Press Archives and Wight LGBTQ Women.

Out on an Island will culminate with the publishing of a project book and exhibition at Quay Arts in 2020.

A launch night will be held at Quay Arts on Thursday, June 6, with guest speakers.

The event is free, but booking is required at


For further information about the project, or to volunteer, email


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