A Q&A With Homotopia

Homotopia is the UK’s longest running LGBTQIA arts and cultural festival.

This year’s festival is set to be very different to usual! We caught up with Festival Director, Char Binns, to tell us all about it!

What exactly is Homotopia?

Homotopia is the UK’s longest running LGBTQIA arts and cultural festival. Born and bred in Liverpool, we’ve been around for 16 years and bring an exciting and eclectic programme of events to the city every Autumn. We also support queer and trans artists year-round through our artist development programme, as well as running a theatre programme for LGBTQIA youth. This year’s festival runs from 29 October – 15 November.

Is there a particular theme to this year’s programme?

This year’s theme is Show Your Working. When you tackle a Maths problem at school, the grade depends not so much on finding the correct solution, but on how you got there. In the answer box sits the statement: show your working. So, to show your working is to suggest that you may not have the answer, but you are making a plan for how to get there. In essence, this year’s festival is about art, activism and allyship.

We’d love to hear about some of the highlights and when they are taking place….

This year our focus is on showcasing local artists, or what we like to call homo-grown talent! We’ll also be joined by Brighton-based artist and campaigner Fox Fisher as this year’s Artist in Residence. Fox has curated a series of events, with a highlight being a screen-printing event which, using social media, will bring hundreds of voices together to create a giant piece of art as a display of solidarity for trans rights. If covid doesn’t stop us, we have two nights of live theatre towards the end of the festival when we’ll be queering up the main stage of the Liverpool Everyman Theatre. Find all of our events at homotopia.net/our-events.

How has Covid changed your plans for this year’s festival compared to previous years?

Enormously! Usually most of the festival is live audience events but this year we’ll have to livestream events instead. However, we felt it was important to offer some “real life” art experiences and we’re super excited about the Queer The City strand of the festival which includes self-guided tours featuring 8 giant artworks by LGBTQIA visual artists in prominent places around Liverpool. Plus, together with the Unity Theatre, we commissioned 6 artists to write short audio plays about different areas of the city. These could be enjoyed as an immersive experience while walking around Liverpool, although can just as easily be listened to from the comfort of your own home. Check out homotopia.net/queer-the-city.

Can ML partners get involved?

Because this year’s festival is online there’s plenty of opportunity to get involved online. Spreading the word and joining the conversations during events will be really important, the more the merrier. Our Queer The City series will see public art in various locations around Liverpool, and we’ll have a podcast series featuring audio plays and an art crawl along with that, so partners will be able to download and explore the city themselves with a queer eye.