An exploration of creative mapping as a method for engaging with older people’s lived experience of Manchester’s Gay Village

A project with David Dobson, Jaime García Iglesias & Jessica Mancuso

This project focuses on older generations of LGBTQ+ individuals’ experiences of urban development in Manchester’s Gay Village.  It engages with geographies of memory to creatively map how memories unfold and change in relation to alterations to the physical and social landscapes they are associated with.

Manchester’s Gay Village has a rich history and has offered convenient yet secluded places for LGBTQ+ people to meet in relative safety.  This community has, however, experienced increasing corporate sanitisation of a space that was, for many, a space for experimenting with sexual and gendered identities away from public judgement.  At the same time, there are ongoing disputes surrounding acceptable practices, sexualization, inclusivity and accessibility, particularly for older LGBTQ+ people.

The use of mapping techniques will facilitate an exploration of the emotional and affective experiences of older LGBTQ+ people, how these have changed over time, and their hopes for a more inclusive future village.  The project is set against the backdrop of ongoing redevelopment efforts and will help to address political concerns surrounding the the existence of markedly LGBTQ+ spaces.