After the success of our first zine, Centre, (launched in 2020), we wanted to continue to find creative ways to connect our community in these challenging times. This project has been made possible through funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.
The project will take submissions from LGBTQ+ people throughout the North of England and Midlands, with Seleena curating and designing a brand new zine, to be published in Autumn this year.
And even more excitingly, we’re pleased that we will be offering creative workshops in zine making and creative writing, both online and IN PERSON as part of this project!
Workshops are planned for members of the public to take part in this July. Special workshops for groups including Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield, students in Further and Higher Education, and Older LGBTQ+ people are also planned. More details to be announced, but if you know of anyone that fits those categories, please do spread the word.
Its important to us that this zine reflects an even wider spectrum of LGBTQ+ voices, and that our community helps shape it at different stages.
The aim of this project is to connect all ages of LGBTQ+ people during this challenging time. We are very aware of the isolation younger and older people may have faced owing to the pandemic, and hope this project will provide social connection and positive experiences for our LGBTQ+ community.
Sign up to our newsletter through the link below to be the first to hear more about our upcoming workshops!
With the UK and devolved governments’ announcements over the last few weeks, we wanted to offer some information about how Andro and Eve plan to return to live events. We share some folks’ optimism but we also remain cautious. On the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, it also seemed like a good moment to provide some clarity for our community.
As a small arts organisation with community at our heart, we have consulted with our volunteers, partner venues and community, so that the board of Andro and Eve could make an informed decision about our offer over the coming months.
We know many of you cannot wait to burst into a venue again and enjoy some queer performance, while for others, the thought of this is anxiety inducing. Having heard from many members of the community, we know that you share our concerns about transmission of COVID-19 and want to ensure we continue to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. In returning to live events, we do not want to leave anyone behind.
Therefore for the foreseeable future, our offer will continue to be remote and online, and we will provide an online offer until well into the Autumn. We want to ensure those in our community with disabilities and long term health conditions, feel safe enough to attend in person. We have a responsibility to protect our staff, volunteers and artists. In this way we can provide meaningful opportunities for artists to connect safely with our community and share their creativity.
We have applied to several different funders to support online activity, and we do not expect to return to in person events until Autumn 2021 at the earliest. We may be able to do something small in person in the summer, but at this point, we cannot be sure. We thank you for your ongoing understanding, patience and support.
We know this has been an extremely challenging year, and our thoughts are with the many people who have not received financial support, or who are struggling with poor health or grieving countless losses.
As an organisation known primarily for our live events pre – pandemic, we are grateful that we have survived this crisis this far, and cannot wait to see you all in person again. We’re also proud that we’ve been able to provide opportunities for LGBTQ+ artists and share queer culture with our community.
However, we have that bit further to go yet. If you can, we’d ask you to donate to support our work, to ensure we do survive and can continue to support the work of LGBTQ+ artists and our community. You can do this via the ‘Support Us’ button above this post, by buying some of our merchandise, or Centre zine.
To be the first to hear about upcoming events and all our news, sign up to our newsletter via the subscribe button below too. Thank you to everyone who has donated, shared or supported our work this last year. Without you, and the hard work of our small team, we’d not still be here, and that means the world.
Team Andro and Eve x
Need Support? Links below.Remember you are not alone.
2020. Wow. We did not see that coming. The start of the year seems like a hazy fog, where the idea of putting on a huge drag king cabaret for 350+ people is like some mad dream. But that’s what we were preparing for back then.
Despite all the nonsense, heartache and grieving this year has brought, here at Andro and Eve we have things to celebrate. And as relentless purveyors of queer joy, (because joy is resistance, to so many communities), we’re here to review the highs, and some challenges that 2020 has brought.
We started the year with a screening of music documentary, Silvana, at legendary music venue, Yellow Arch Studios in Sheffield. Collaborating with Sheffield Doc/Fest, was a first for us, with Melanie Ireldale the deputy director, introducing this celebration of the story of Swedish rapper Silvana Imam, her rise to fame and blossoming romance with Swedish pop star Beatrice Eli. Many in the audience fell hard for this lesbian power couple that evening.
In March, we had the 6th edition of The Kingdom Come planned at Abbeydale Picture House with a stellar line up of talent. Just a few days after we trained our amazing team of volunteers at the venue, the board of Andro and Eve discussed the situation, and made the unanimous decision to cancel our drag king cabaret, scheduled for the 21st.
Facing a significant financial loss, the next week was a blur, but our community came through, with 85% of those who had already booked tickets, donating their ticket, which bought us valuable time to plan for a very different year and apply for funding. Thank you to you if you were one of those kind people.
In May we found out we had been successful in securing Arts Council England Emergency Funding. And with that a bit of breathing space. Launching our drag king workshop course in June, we were bowled over for demand for places on the course, with 50+ people taking part in 3 sessions led by drag king Christian Adore in July. Have a peep at what that involved, and what our participants thought in the video below.
Developing talent is key to our work. Our 2020 programme included an online Cabaret College, which we produced in collaboration with LoUis CYfer. Over 8 weeks, 13 emerging drag and cabaret acts were given the opportunity to develop their own material with regular mentoring from LoUis, and 4 creative sessions. As one of the participants said
The whole experience was so safe and welcoming. I was VERY nervous and always felt supported and like I could ask for help
As well as developing talent we were also aware that digital delivery would limit the audience for our work, and wanted to use print to connect. So we commissioned graduate artist, and founder of Racezine Collective, Okocha Obasi to produce a brand new zine. Okocha was mentored by artist Seleena Laverne Daye, and worked closely with Assistant Producer, Emma Bentley – Fox.
We launched Centre zine with a special online party, A Reyt Queer Night In. With a vogue workshop by Mother of House of Ghetto, Darren Pritchard, and a party makeup workshop by Christian Adore, the night was topped off with a brilliant set from Gal Pal’s DJ Xzan. The night certainly went down well with attendees..
The music was amazing, really good range covered. I liked being greeted on arrival, the friendly, multigenerational space and chance to put in requests
It sure beat our first attempt at an online party – a Netflix screening party of Clueless on March 28th! It was cute, but, not quite up to our usual standard..!
In November we launched a new range of merchandise including postcard sets, badges and tote bags in the Trans Pride Flag colours. Because trans rights matter and we’re here to celebrate trans lives. They look lovely on our newly redeveloped website.
Behind the scenes, we filed our first year accounts to Companies House (what a highlight!), and Artistic Director, Katherine developed a Gender Awareness Training session, aimed at staff in organisations and businesses of all sizes. Both Assistant Producer Emma, and Katherine, undertook anti racism training through Racial Justice Network, with Emma also taking part in Access and Audio Description training with Quiplash. This will inform the way we work in the months to come and is an important part of our mission to make our work accessible and inclusive to all.
On that note, we’ve just launched a new Community Survey. We don‘t know what the future holds, but we want to make plans with our community as the focus. If you’ve been to one of our events or workshops before, or follow us online and have 5 -10 minutes to spare, please complete the survey here. You can win a bundle of Andro and Eve goodies too!
Another highlight for Andro and Eve in 2020 was being invited to join Queer Arts North – a network of queer arts and Northern performance venues, platforming and providing talent development opportunities for LGBTQ+ artists in the North of England. It was great to be part of an artist networking event as part of Homotopia Festival in November.
The events of 2020 made us even more determined to work towards equality for all, and support the Black lives matter movement. The fight for racial equality would be nowhere without Black feminists like Audre Lorde, Angela Davis and Olive Morris, and Black LGBT+ community pioneers including Marsha P Johnson, Storme DeLarverie and Miss Major. We continue to familiarise ourselves with our history, and participate in anti racism work. On that note, this year, we’ve platformed Stop the Scandal, a campaign to prevent the use of mobile fingerprint scanners, linked to the Home Office database, by the police. If you haven’t read it yet, check out the piece by the Stop the Scandal campaign here.
At this point, please excuse some soppiness in expressing a wholehearted thanks to the two new members of the Andro and Eve board, Lola White and Ellie Wyer. Having only joined the board in February, they came through hard for Andro and Eve, and have supported the development of the organisation in this most difficult of years. A special mention must also go to Assistant Producer, Emma, who has gone the extra mile to help us produce and market all our creative projects and events in the last year.
We want to say a massive thank you to all the artists we worked with in 2020, for your dedication, creativity and hard work. Thank you also to the team of freelancers who help make our work look so bold and beautiful. And thanks so much to the volunteers who’ve helped out this year too.
In a year filled with challenges, and so much division sowed between communities, COVID has shown how unequal UK society is. We know in a way, that Andro and Eve and our tiny team are some of the lucky ones, we’ve carried on, while other enterprises have simply not been given the same support, or opportunity. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to make art, and access to culture. So we’ve dug in and got through 2020, and in many ways grown. But we know there is so much work to be done, and it is only in collective effort that we stand to make an impact.
Thank you to everyone who has told a friend about us, bought a ticket, donated, shopped or shared what we do. Your support is the reason we’re still here.
As part of Centre zine, we chose to highlight the Stop the Scandal Campaign. This grassroots campaign was created by Yorkshire’s Racial Justice Network and supported by Yorkshire Resists. They wrote the following piece for our new zine, which is on sale now. 50% of profits from sales of Centre zine, will be donated to the Racial Justice Network. Read on to find out more about Stop the Scandal.
The Stop The Scan campaign challenges a move initiated by West Yorkshire Police in 2019 to introduce mobile fingerprint scanning linked to immigration databases, using equipment funded by the Home Office.
These biometric devices are used with officers’ mobile phones, as they detain people in the street. This adds an extra, dangerous dimension to Stop and Search protocol, which according to the government’s own research, disproportionately targets Black and Brown people (with Black people 10 times more likely to be targeted by police¹).
The technology is used once police officers have deemed an offence to have been committed. This could be anything from loitering to dropping litter. If the officer doubts the given identity from the person detained, they may then use a scan of their fingerprints in order to carry out a person search on their identity. It’s crucial to emphasise that an officer uses their own discretion to determine how authentic your given identity is, a subjective judgement, which in the campaign’s view, has the potential to even further discriminate against trans people within Black and Brown communities.
Scans like this have only previously been carried out at police stations following an arrest. But what future lies ahead, where one’s dignity is stripped down and reduced to the opinion of a police officer, and a frequently inconclusive fingerprint machine?
The officer may choose to check identity against records held on IABS (the immigration fingerprint database). Stop and Scan is part of an immigration system that a 2019 inquiry into the Windrush scandal showed, to hold not only “poor quality systems and data”, but a “failure to monitor the impact of compliant environment measures” (now known as hostile environment measures)². A flag on the database – which could exist for any type of activity – may prompt a call to Home Office enforcers, heightening the risk of entering indefinite detention, or being deported.
The question remains: why use a device which could only identify those with fingerprints either on the IABS or criminal database, IDENT1?
The Stop The Scan campaign was created by the Racial Justice Network and supported by Yorkshire Resists. We are a network of individuals and organisations working together to end racial injustice. Our campaign is about alerting you to the racist nature of the intrusive power that biometric technology extends to the police. These technologies are being introduced, but they lack any meaningful scrutiny of their impact on the communities that the police are supposed to protect.
After the pilot by West Yorkshire Police ended, no evaluation of its use and impact was done before the technology was rolled out nationally.
Aside from West Yorkshire Police, no other police force is publicly recording the ethnicity of the people they are stopping and scanning. The lack of transparency makes it difficult to ensure that the use of this technology does not target certain communities unfairly.
In response to what we know, and what we can only speculate, the Stop the Scan campaign is calling for:
The dismantling of the Hostile Environment: the UK must be a safe place for all people to seek and live a decent life.
The severance of all links between the Police and Immigration, including a firewall between the police and all Home Office databases.
An end to Stop and Scan.
We are looking for support from people able to help raise awareness, to advise on the shifting legal rights landscape during the pandemic, for advisors who may help construct a legal challenge to the roll out, and for people who have been scanned and are willing to offer their experience as a case study.
We believe in artists. They have the power to make change. We also believe that everyone has the ability to be creative, and therefore creative opportunities should be available for everyone. Creativity helps us explore. Helps us dream. Helps us find a way back to ourselves. Or discover who we are. Something people LGBTQ+ identified need. In a world that often taught us we didn’t fit, discovering ourselves can take that much more.
Our mission at Andro and Eve is to bring the community together to celebrate queer culture. The COVID-19 crisis has given us an opportunity to adapt our offer and find new ways to reach our community.
CENTRE is one such way to connect our community with one another, in a year in which everyone has been in some way affected by the global pandemic. Okocha has curated and designed this unique collection of stories, poems and creative works, bringing voice to a range of LGBTQ+ people living in the North of England.
We also believe Black Lives Matter, and stand in solidarity with those who fight against the structural racism here in the UK and across the world. CENTRE contains a piece by Stop the Scandal, a grassroots campaign to stop the use of mobile fingerprint scanning linked to immigration databases by police. We’ve also connected with our friends at LASS (Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield) to bring you an interview with one of their members. 50% of all profits made from sales of CENTRE will be donated to Yorkshire’s Racial Justice Network, who bring together over thirty organisations in the West Yorkshire region to proactively promote racial justice.
The stories, poems and creative works in CENTRE are about things chosen by LGBTQ+ people living in the North of England that matter most to them. Andro and Eve, as a queer arts organisation based in South Yorkshire, is proud to serve and represent ‘Northern’ voices and we hope you will enjoy reading CENTRE.
Our thanks in producing this zine go to organisers from LASS, Stop the Scandal and Racial Justice Network. A huge thank you to Okocha Obasi for his creative vision and hard work, and to the artists and members of the Andro and Eve community who have contributed their work to CENTRE.
Ready to get a copy? Order from our shop here. And celebrate its launch with our special online party, A REYT QUEER NIGHT IN, on 10th October. We’re bringing the party direct to your front room! We hope that we’ll connect with you online soon.
Katherine Warman. Creative Producer / CEO Andro and Eve. September 2020.
This zine has been made possible through Arts Council England’s emergency funding in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Ahead of the launch of our new zine, Centre, we caught up with RACEZINE founder, recent graduate and our latest collaborator, Okocha Obasi (he/him).
Okocha is a graphic designer and recent graduate from Leeds Arts University. In the past three years, he has created an array of projects, characterised by bold designs and themes that are socially engaged and conscious. Obasi is the creator of the RACEZINE whose aim is to platform creatives of colour, and Okocha has produced many projects including a non-profit zine, performance events and colourful and infamous club night TONGUE N TEETH. (All whilst completing his Bachelors degree – crazy right!?)
Q: So, Kocha, what can you tell us about your previous projects?
Okocha: I do a range of different projects ranging from styling, art direction to speculative focused critical design. I use whatever medium is needed to prove or communicate an idea. I like to blur the lines between different practices in order to create visually cathartic pieces of work, hence why I see myself more as artist, than ‘graphic designer’. Whether it’s a poster, club night, event, motion graphic or textile design, all my projects have purpose and direction for impact. For example, my brand RACEZINE COLLECTIVE was made out of the pain of being the Othered my entire life. I created a zine publication known as RACEZINE to share the voices of creatives of colours who tend to go unnoticed in the white dominated Northern art-spaces. Other projects include TONGUE N TEETH, a club night which welcomes those othered, in a temporary carnival-like space, offering moments of escape.
Q: When did you get into zines, and what is it you like about them?
Okocha: I have always been into zines, and since I was young have enjoyed looking through independent bookstores or zine libraries up and down the country. I like how they can take any form, style and narrative, allowing less-heard voices to become physically achieved and known. There’s something very timeless about how zines represent certain eras, highlighting different the social issues of different periods, provide commentary and can be a form of liberation or rebellion. I like the power of self-publishing things, which bigger establishments might view as too
‘risky’. Zines themselves are forms of protest against what is allowed or expected, which naturally makes them an expression of punk. And punk, has always been political and pushing the boat where’s it’s never been and that’s very exciting.
Q: What do you like about living in West Yorkshire/Leeds?
Okocha: What I love about Leeds is the definitely the club nights, as I have had many good (and messy) nights out! I also love that many people are very down to earth and genuine, it feels like you can breathe more so than London at times. There’s definitely been a surge in creative collectives which is always inspiring. I love the D.I.Y attitude that comes with these collectives, that often comes with being thoughtful about who and why they are creating spaces. On a personal level, I grew a lot in Leeds as well for a range of different reasons, which I will always thanks the city for. Overall as a creative it’s a good place to fail, learn and succeed, as it cheap and accessible for many different things.
Q: What do you find challenging about living in Leeds?
Okocha: I think there are a lot of white dominated spaces, which can feel very suffocating as PoC. I think also the mass amount of students made me very anxious as some people views definitely did not align with my own. I wish there were more regular art shows which are not inherently fine art and white. I think it’s great a lot of different art spaces are created by DIY collectives, but I wish there were more radical exhibitions and shows, led by established art organisations & spaces.
Q: What do you hope to achieve with Centre?
Okocha: I hope to represent all the voices meaningfully and create a loud, bold and visually cathartic zine publication. One which will be cherished by all those who get a copy. I definitely want it to be completely different to all my past work in regards to style….just expect every page to be visual ecstasy….that’s all I’m going to give away for now 😉
Q: Can you share with us someone that inspires you?
Okocha: My mother’s strength runs through my blood. Being completely resilient to any downfall what comes her way has always made me realise even in the darkest times we can rise. My mum taught me how to survive independently and warned me about every bad wolf in the world from a young age. I think that’s why I see the world the way it is and with that, find strength in using light to reveal the dark.
Q: I think it’s only fair to finish by asking you the same question we’re asking of all the artists who submit a response to Centre. Can you tell us, in 50 words or less, what matters most to you?
Okocha: Being unapologetic. I am young but feel like I’ve lived a long life due to a range of experiences, good and bad that have shaped who I am today. I have grown, broken myself and grown again, which has taught me now, more than ever, to be completely unapologetic in everything I do.
You can see more examples of Okocha’s work, and follow him on Instagram, here.
Title image credit: Okocha Obasi, photographed by @undinemarkus.
This summer we’re very aware that many LGBTQ+ people will be missing the annual Pride celebrations, places where communities can come together and feel free, standing up for what matters to them.
We’re also aware that as event organisers, we can’t physically bring people together. That is why we are collaborating with artist Okocha Obasi to create a zine. Obasi is a graphic designer and recent graduate from Leeds Arts University, and the creator of the RACEZINE COLLECTIVE whose aim is to platform creatives of colour. RACEZINE COLLECTIVE has produced projects include a non-profit zine, performance events and infamous club night TONGUE N TEETH.
Through our collaboration we’re launching the new zine ‘Centre’. The hope is that this can act as method to connect folx across the North of England and provide visibility and a voice to our queer community, particularly those often marginalised.
So with that in mind, here’s what you need to know about our latest project!
CENTRE: A new zine
What’s at your centre? What matters most? What are your hopes for the future, and how is this informed by who you are?
CENTRE is about centering untold stories. We want responses from all ages, and all walks of life, but are particularly interesting in hearing and documenting Queer and QTIBPOC stories in the North of England. We’re also keen to hear from LGBTQIA folx identifying as neurodiverse, deaf or disabled.
We’re looking for responses in the form of: Letters, personals stories, personal historical materials, recipes, interviews, art, comics, drawings, prints, paintings, spoken word, intergenerational collaborations, short stories and anything else that you want to share with the world.
To submit something all you need to do is complete our Google form and attach your submission there. If you have any issues using tech, or need extra support, drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help you.