Origins, Ethos and Development of the project

The project was initiated by chance as an outcome of a consultation meeting to discuss preparations for the Olympic Torch passing through Bournemouth. Andrew Williams, Manager of the Safer and Stronger Communities Team at Bournemouth Borough Council, and Alan Mercel-Sanca (chairperson of a Dorset-based multicultural learning society and a trustee of Dorset Race Equality Council) discussing the multicultural preparations for the event. At the conclusion it was suggested that the LGBT population is, along with its ethnic communities and retired population, one of Bournemouth’s major distinctive communities, and it would therefore be good to have it represented in some meaningful way on the day.

Alan from October 2011 began to structure the project and in particular to create thematic articles around key topics; the material taking shape over ten months and involving extensive research and the development of a valuable one-stop supportive links resource (found on the Appendix PDF and on the second section of the Using the Resource page.

It was only possible to turn the original concept of the exhibition into a very extensive coalition of supporting organisations and individuals, by making a direct/personal appeal through the articles to not only LGBT people suffering from discrimination, but to also reach out to the many non-LGBT people both depressed and disgusted at unchallenged homophobia:

Whether gay or heterosexual, it is not enough to passively absorb awareness of the many cruel and psychologically disturbing acts of homophobic bullying – this is a recipe for depression or worse. What is required to effect real change and release from such a vicious circle is that the sources of homophobia be fully identified, recognised, and seen for what they are: that those who in consequence are influenced by them and cause so much harm, are also seen for what they are – incomplete and easily influenced people.

Commonly, many in positions of authority -- such as teachers, managers, etc -- are very ‘busy’ people … who don’t have the paid-for time to help, much as they would like, with addressing human rights and bullying issues: a small minority of such people happily constitute honourable exceptions to this general rule. At the same time there are individuals who are very busy indeed in making the effort to peddle prejudices and do so much wilful harm to their victims and ultimately society itself, not to mention hampering the efficiency and professionalism of organisations and businesses they work for through their anti-social behaviour.’

But what if you are a victim of prejudice, and what if you are not satisfied by the indifference of those very busy people who don’t have time (they are too busy!) for human rights, including the right to live a life free of physical and psychological bullying??

Such were the perspectives and purposes that informed the creation of the articles material that launched the exhibition project, and lead to such extensive support for its aims and objectives.


Subsequently a broad coalition of supporting organisations (ranging from local government, colleges and a university, across to NHS trusts and a number of LGBT groups, especially the Space Youth Project) joined together to support and in some cases sponsor the creation of the five thematic panels that constitute the heart of the project.

In addition, academics (Professor Eric Anderson and Dr Chris Pullen) specialising in LGBT issues, and the Deputy Dean (Dr Ian Jones) of the Bournemouth University Sports Faculty [Sport BU] contributed articles to the related PDF educational resource, covering such topics as inclusive masculinity, LGBT transnational identity, and details of Blooms Taxonomy of learning applied by UK higher education sports faculties to the issues of discrimination in sport. The support of James Palfreman-Kay (Bournemouth University Equality Officer) for introducing Dr’s Chris Pullen and Ian Jones and Professor Anderson to project lead, principal researcher and creator of the main PDF educational articles material, Alan Mercel-Sanca, is deeply appreciated.

A questionnaire was also created to provide valuable findings and personal input to the project (sample responses are provided on the PDF version of panel 1, along with some findings of a Space Youth Project survey of members into the topics of PE in schools and sport). Finally, the reflective thinking ethos of the project was put into effect, through the Bournemouth and Poole College final year graphic design students undertaking the creation of the artwork for the exhibition panels themselves.

The most deep-felt thanks for this originally unlooked for development must go to the College’s Equalities Manager [Gemma Genco ] who introduced project lead, Alan to Nick Day [Head of Art and Design], and to Jane Jenkins and Ellie Douglas who led the group of final year students who undertook the graphic design dimension of the project . Special thanks must also go to the college students themselves, who voted almost unanimously to undertake the project: their dedication and enthusiasm for the goals of the initiative led them to create truly outstanding work.

An article will be appearing on the website very soon detailing more about the Bournemouth and Poole College Art and Design graphic design team and students responsible for creating the exhibitions graphic designs

Other support and thanks:

Much appreciated thanks is given to the Intercom Trust and Equality South West for their direct encouragement and supportive articles about the project as it developed in its final phase, and to Stonewall for providing valuable links to their online information pack resources and for related literature at the project’s touring and dissemination programme launch.

In addition, project lead Alan Mercel-Sanca offers the fullest thanks and appreciation are given to Kate O’Malley (a professional editor who kindly and enthusiastically gave her time for free in creating the three PDF’s aimed at younger people), and to Louisa Clark (Arts Manager of the Bournemouth and Poole WAVE organisation responsible for liaising with the conurbation’s schools). Special thanks also go to Michail Sanidas (NHS South of England Equality & Human Rights Manager [West]), to David Corbin (DHUFT Equality & Human Rights Advisor), to Denise Wootten (DHUFT Community Development Worker) , to Toby Horner (SUBU President 2010 – 2012) and to Sue Newell (Poole Borough Council) for their direct guidance, encouragement and personal support for the project in numerous ways.



The exhibition project would not have been possible without many different forms of support by a wide range of organisations.

Organisations include:

Bournemouth Council ● Poole Council ● Bournemouth University ● Bournemouth University Students Union (SUBU) ● Bournemouth and Poole College ● The Arts University College Bournemouth Students Union (AUCB) ● AFC Bournemouth ● Equality South West ● NHS: Dorset HealthCare University Foundation Trust (DHUFT) ●

LGBT organisations: Space Youth Project ● Intercom Trust ● Stonewall ● Bournemouth University LGBT group ● Silver Moments

Exhibition panel sponsors at the time of the formal launch of the project included: Bournemouth Council ● Poole Council ● Oriental Culture Educational Society (OCES) ● Dorset HealthCare University Trust (DHUFT).