For the Love of Russell-Cotes – Bournemouth Museum and Gallery Awarded Heritage Lottery Fund Grant for Groundbreaking LGBT+ Exhibition in 2017

As part of its programme for 2017, and with a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £45,000, the Russell-Cotes will be staging an exhibition and series of events that will be co-curated with the LGBT community of Bournemouth to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.

 Members of the LGBT community, working with museum curators, will have an opportunity to explore some of the thousands of art works in the Russell-Cotes, taking inspiration from the museum-founders Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes’ passion for collecting. They will be able to choose the pieces they love to form a major co-curated exhibition in the museum galleries from May to October 2017. There will also be complimentary workshops, events and celebrations to showcase the museum and its collections.

 The funding from HLF will enable the Russell-Cotes to appoint an Audience Development Officer and bring in specialist curators, so the volunteers will be able to unpack and explore the significant, largely undiscovered collections of the Russell-Cotes and bring a new angle and fresh insight. The Russell-Cotes is only able to display a small percentage of its collection at any one time but this exhibition will be an opportunity to explore its ceramics, costume, sculpture and world collections as well as its internationally known art collection. 

Sarah Newman, Programmes Officer, comments: “2017 is going to be a very significant year with celebrations and events planned throughout the country, so it will be very exciting for the Russell-Cotes to be able to participate. We are thrilled to be working with Bournemouth’s LGBT community and excited to see the stories and objects they choose to uncover and to celebrate and which resonate with their lives and experience.”

Louise Clarke, Chair of Bourne Free (the organisers of Bournemouth’s annual Pride Festival), says: “We are very excited by the forthcoming LGBT+ exhibition at The Russell–Cotes. There has never been anything similar in Bournemouth and we are looking forward to seeing the art pieces on display and making connections with them. Marking the 50th anniversary of decriminalising homosexuality, we hope that it will reflect in some areas how far we have come within society, yet sadly, in other areas how far there still is to go. We thank Russell-Cotes for organising and housing this fantastic project and look forward to working alongside them throughout the process.”

 The project will be launched on Thursday 20th October 2016 when the LGBT community will be invited to the Russell-Cotes to find out more about the plans and how they can get involved.  For more information on volunteering contact Elissa Noon on