After the success from the Outcome book and the Exhibition, Tom Dingley has began taking the exhibitions out of our capital.
I got the chance recently to catch up with him.
Thanks for doing this second interview with me. I do appreciate how busy you have been.
What response did you receive from the launch of your book about exhibitions?
The launch of the book was such a positive evening with so many close friends, family, Outcome participants, press and contributors there! It really propelled the project on it’s tour. Making connections on the evening with other University LGBT groups as well as business organisations. I was told a few times “this needs to be seen by more people” which just encouraged me to follow up with connections and get the exhibition to many different places. At the time, it was national Coming Out Day – and I found myself busy in February for LGBT History Month. Next is IDAHO Day where I’ll be in Harrow, with a pop-up studio should people wish to be photographed for Outcome. It’s nice to have these important days throughout the year, but a project like this can be exhibited at any time, as I think it’s always important to show positive role models in the LGBT Community, and reach out to those who need the support.
Did you have any negative responses, and how have you dealt with it?
Thankfully, I have not had any negative responses. Which is also a real boost to the project and wanting to take it further afield. It was interesting when I exhibited in Greenwich University, I heard a couple of comments of “What’s this?” “Why is this here?”. When explained, the students appreciated it more and understood a need for such an exhibition.
Have you learnt anything crucial about yourself and your work since launching the project?
I’ve learnt that practice really does make things easier, and to do things that scare you. Before embarking on such a big exhibition, book launch and promotion of it, I had not really done any public speaking. Now I’ve done a fair few speeches and been part of panel discussions on LGBT topics. For myself this has been a huge boost – doesn’t mean I still don’t get nervous when it comes to addressing so many people about my work! Having kept an eye on social media surrounding my Outcome project and it’s theme of coming out, I have seen the benefits online. Being in touch with people who are not out, but use the internet to make the right kind of connections for support and help. The internet gets a lot of rap for being too open and a dangerous place – which it can be – but it is also such a powerful and useful tool.
I understand that you took the exhibition outside of London to Sheffield, how did this exhibition go?
Did you notice any differences between Sheffield and London in regards of the LGBTIQ Community?
Since the launch in London, I have had small exhibitions in different London boroughs, but I have also taken it out to Kent, Sussex, as far as Lancaster and recently Sheffield! All these exhibitions went really well. It was interesting holding shows in places with little or no gay scene. But it is surprising how many LGBT groups and community schemes there are all over the country. I found that if people aren’t in the same city as the exhibition, but close enough, they still feel connected via social groups, and therefore make the effort to visit. In London we are lucky to have a big LGBT+ scene with a lot going on throughout the week, whether it’s Lola Lasagne hosting a pub quiz, gay cinema at the BFI, concerts, or equality dinners, there is always something happening. In other areas, for the LGBT Community it is fresh to have something new to check out, and it feels special. I have had a a lot of appreciative comments such as “Thank you for wanting to bring your work here.” Which is lovely to hear. Makes the train journeys worth it.
I believe you are taking the exhibition to other cities. I know Cardiff is on the cards. How can people get involved?
Yes, the exhibitions do not stop here. I want to get the exhibition into some Prides this summer in one way or another. Pride Cymru are hoping to host an exhibition for their Pride weekend, which will be exciting. There could even be the possibilities of digitally exhibiting overseas. When this happens, you’ll be the first to know! People can get involved by keeping tracks on social media – @OutcomeLGBT (Twitter and Instagram) At each exhibition I host a studio day when LGBT locals and visitors can be photographed to take part in Outcome! It’s all very straightforward, and a nice way of adding to the Outcome portfolio, with people from all over the country!