A Chat With: Leo Welton

This week, ahead of  Queer the City NML Xtra on Saturday 2nd July, we chat to freelance graphic designer and artist Leo Welton, who works predominantly with clients in the arts and culture sector. They tell us about their involvement in the Queer the City project, thier own workshops that will take place on the night and why queer events are vital to our community.

So Leo, can you tell us a bit about the upcoming Queer the City project at the Museum of Liverpool and your involvment?

It’s going to be a cracking night with a real mix of events and spectacles! Homotopia has programmed loads of amazing LGBTQIA+ artists and activists from around the UK, including dancers, lecturers, poets and musicians. There’s loads to see and experience; it’ll be really great to explore the museum in a new way.

I’ve been working closely with Homotopia since 2019 and the team there asked if I’d be up for running a workshop on the night and so I jumped at the chance to be involved. I’ve also been involved with the Queer the City project since it started so it’s great to see it growing again.

You are facilitating workshops with artist Sophie Green, what can people expect from that?

Sophie and I played around with a few ideas for our workshops and we’ve settled on a hands-on workshop where participants get to ‘Queer the News!’. We’ll be creating our own versions of magazine and newspaper covers, making the headlines we want to shout about. This might be something serious or personal or it’ll be funny and outrageous… whatever the participants feel they want to express. 

This event comes 12 months on from a spate of hate crimes and incidents targeting the LGBT+ community in Merseyside – why do you think an event like Queer the City is needed?

I think events like Queer the City are needed regardless of hate crimes – queer culture is rich, diverse and basically fabulous, so it should be celebrated and given the platform that we deserve. The visibility of events like this is really important in quieting the voices of hate and I hope it helps to highlight that those voices are definitely the voices of the few and no amount of backlash or politicians in power trying to hinder our progress will stop us – quite the opposite, we’ll just get louder. I also think these events are really important in bringing our community together, reminding us to support each other and meet new faces.

Apart from the workshops you’re running, what part of the Queer the City event are you most looking forward too?

It’s going to be hard to decide what to see first! I want to see everyone there but I’m really excited to see Matthew Ratcliffe, I love watching him dance, it’s mesmerising. I can’t wait to see some of the drag king acts too and of course a good dance to Luna Thee Frenchie and Abbie Morris.

What would you say to someone who maybe feels nervous about attending a queer event, perhaps because they are not yet out or maybe can only come alone?

I’ve been that person, still am sometimes – and every time I push past those nerves and get myself to an event I’ve always been rewarded with a great experience. There’s always friendly faces and people making you feel welcome and accepted. Now I wonder how I got through without queer events in my life, they are massively important to my own self expression and acceptance. So please, come along – you won’t regret it!

What do you and the organisers want people to feel or experience at the event?

Joy! I think the overriding want is for people to feel queer joy in all it’s glory! Aside from that I hope it opens people’s eyes and hearts, gives a wonderful taste of queer culture and people leave the event with a renewed sense of love and pride for our community. 

On a personal note, I’d just like to say thanks to the team at Homotopia who work tirelessly to support our creative queer community and to everyone involved in putting this event together. We’re lucky in Liverpool to have so many great people within our community doing good things, as individuals or organisations, that benefit us all.

You can get the full line up and your tickets on the NML website here

Follow Homotopia and National Museums Liverpool on social channels for any last minute news and announcements.


Image credit: @marni_v_portraits

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