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Diversity in the Arts

At Rural Arts, we love to celebrate diversity in all its forms across the arts. This page, created in October 2020, will feature articles and signpost to useful resources, and will grow as we do.

LGBT+ History Month 2021

In this year's history month, we're looking back at our LGBT+ event from 2019, and signposting to various resources.



Take a look at the LGBT+ History Month website for events in the UK.

8th Feb, 9.30am-3.30pm: Leeds City Museum - ‘OUTing the Past’ Festival of LGBT+ History

York LGBT Forum events

10th Feb, 6pm-8pm: LGBT People of Faith: History Month Event

12th, 19th, 26th Feb: Trans and Non-Binary Confidence workshops

15th Feb, 6pm-7pm: LGBT+ History Month - Jamie Windust in Conversation

16th Feb, 4.30pm-6pm: Anne Lister's Queer and Natural History

16th Feb, 5pm-6pm: Beyond The Binary: Scientific Thinking About Sex 1900-1950

27th Feb, 7pm-8pm: Quiz by Leimeducation History of LGBT+ Rights in the UK


Barnado's LGBTQ Young People


Education: LGBT History Month Packs 2021 - Reception to Post-16

The Be You Project

LGBT Foundation

LGBT Health and Wellbeing

Mind: mental health support for LGBTIQ+

York LGBT Forum

Healthwatch North Yorkshire LGBT Youth Groups



Keith Haring 1986 original

Keith Haring (pictured above)

Keith Allen Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an American artist whose pop art and grafitti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s. Much of his work includes sexual allusions that turned into social activism. He achieved this by using sexual images to advocate for safe sex and AIDS awareness.(Bio via Wikipedia)

David Hockney

David Hockney, (born 9 July 1937) is an English painter, draftsman, printmaker, stage designer, and photographer. As an important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. (Bio via Wikipedia)

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Irish-born English figurative painter known for his raw, unsettling imagery. Focusing on the human form, his subjects included crucifixions, portraits of popes, self-portraits, and portraits of close friends, with abstracted figures sometimes isolated in geometrical structures. Rejecting various classifications of his work, Bacon claimed that he strove to render "the brutality of fact." He built up a reputation as one of the giants of contemporary art with his unique style. (Bio via Wikipedia)

Marlow Moss

Marjorie Jewel "Marlow" Moss (29 May 1889 – 23 August 1958) was a British Constructivist artist who worked in painting and sculpture. (Bio via Wikipedia)

Catherine Opie

Catherine Sue Opie (born 1961) is an American fine-art photographer. She lives and works in West Adams, Los Angeles as a tenured professor of photography at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Opie studies the connections between mainstream and infrequent society. By specializing in portraiture, studio and landscape photography, she is able to create pieces relating to sexual identity. Through photography, Opie, documents the relationship between the individual and the space inhabited. (Bio via Wikipedia)

Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi (born 19 July 1972) is a South African artist and visual activist working in photography, video, and installation. Muholi's work focuses on race, gender and sexuality with a body of work looking at black lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex individuals. Muholi is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, explaining that they "identify as a human being". (Bio via Wikipedia)


Tate: Queer Lives and Art

Google Arts & Culture: 8 LGBTQI+ Artists You Should Know

TV and Films


Channel 4: It's A Sin - Drama from Russell T Davies about five friends living and loving in the shadow of AIDS.

Netflix: Disclosure - Led by Laverne Cox, in this documentary, leading trans creatives and thinkers share heartfelt perspectives and analysis about Hollywood's impact on the trans community.

Netflix: The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson - As she fights the tide of violence against trans women, activist Victoria Cruz seeks to uncover the truth of her friend Marsha's death while celebrating her legacy.

Schitts Creek - A married couple suddenly go bankrupt and the only remaining asset they have is an ugly small town named Schitt's Creek.

BBC: LGBTQ+ Documentaries - A collection of programmes exploring experiences of being LGBTQ+ in the UK.


Shuggie Bain - Douglas Stuart (Booker Prize Winner 2020)

Rainbow Milk – Paul Mendez



Ben Platt




Andrew McMillan - Physical


Agrespect: Inspiring stories from LGBTQ+ people with rural lives and careers

The Tab: Finished It’s A Sin? Watch these films, docs and series to learn more about LGBT+ history



Black History Month 2020

For Black History Month in October, we're spotlighting some fantastic artists, musicians, theatre companies as well as resources for Black creatives.

Theatre and Dance

Image: The Head Wrap Diaries by Uchenna Dance, streaming online 16th-22nd October 2020 via Rural Touring Dance Initiative.

Below are some links to Black theatre and dance companies, many of which are based in Yorkshire.

Phoenix Dance Theatre

Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Learn about Black artists and the stories behind their work.

Lubaina Himid

Lubaina Himid CBE (born 1954) is a British artist and curator. She is a professor of contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire. Her art focuses on themes of cultural history and reclaiming identities.

Himid was one of the first artists involved in the UK's Black Art movement in the 1980s and continues to create activist art which is shown in galleries in Britain, as well as worldwide. Himid was appointed MBE in June 2010 for "services to Black Women's Art" won the Turner Prize in 2017 and was made a CBE in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours "for services to art." (Bio via Wikipedia)

In the past we looked at the work of Lubaina Himid in our Art Club for ages 6-16. Inspired by her work, our young artists created their own cardboard cutouts, each depicting a famous artist's work. See it below.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) was an American artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent. Basquiat first achieved fame as part of SAMO, an informal graffiti duo who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s, where rap, punk, and street art coalesced into early hip-hop music culture. 

Basquiat's art focused on dichotomies such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting, and married text and image, abstraction, figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique. Basquiat used social commentary in his paintings as a tool for introspection and for identifying with his experiences in the black community of his time, as well as attacks on power structures and systems of racism. Basquiat's visual poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle. (Bio via Wikipedia)

Untitled, 1948 (source)

Video: Ted-Ed - The chaotic brilliance of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat - Jordana Moore Saggese

Yinka Shonibare

Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA (born 1962) is a British-Nigerian artist living in the United Kingdom. His work explores cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. A hallmark of his art is the brightly coloured Ankara fabric he uses. Because he has a physical disability that paralyses one side of his body, Shonibare uses assistants to make works under his direction.

Shonibare's work explores issues of colonialism alongside those of race and class, through a range of media which include painting, sculpture, photography, installation art, and, more recently, film and performance. He examines, in particular, the construction of identity and tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. Mining Western art history and literature, he asks what constitutes our collective contemporary identity today. Having described himself as a ‘post-colonial’ hybrid, Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. (Bio via Wikipedia)

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle (London, 2010) by Yinka Shonibare during its occupancy of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square (source)

Kara Walker

Kara Elizabeth Walker (born 1969) is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, and film-maker who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity in her work.

Walker is best known for her panoramic friezes of cut-paper silhouettes, usually black figures against a white wall, which address the history of American slavery and racism through violent and unsettling imagery. She has also produced works in gouache, watercolor, video animation, shadow puppets, "magic-lantern" projections, as well as large-scale sculptural installations like her ambitious public exhibition with Creative Time called A Subtlety (2014). The black and white silhouettes confront the realities of history, while also using the stereotypes from the era of slavery to relate to persistent modern-day concerns. Her exploration of American racism can be applied to other countries and cultures regarding relations between race and gender, and reminds us of the power of art to defy conventions. (Bio via Wikipedia)


Listen to Black and British artists in this YouTube playlist by Vevo


Digital Arts Platform championed under represented creatives - For T'Culture

Black Gold Exhibition by Pinterest

Black Artists Grant by Creative Debuts

Opportunities for writers and illustrators of colour by Book Trust

Black British Visual Artists, an arts and education organisation

Lungs Project


Black History Month Website - online and regional events

Tue 13th October, 2pm: Harrogate Library Facebook page - Unconscious Bias, a talk by Tina Shingler

Fri 16th - Thu 22nd October: Dance show The Head Wrap Diaries by Uchenna Dance streaming via Rural Touring Dance Initiative

Throughout October: Pinterest - Celebrating British Black History Month