The queerupnorth Video Archive


Since its inception in 1992 to it's unfortunate closure in 2011 queerupnorth had been redefining queer culture. Challenging stereotypical notions of ‘queer’, the festival embraced every conceivable artform from hip hop to puppetry and everything in between, pushing at the frontiers of creativity and sexuality. 

The festival brought dozens of major international artists to Manchester, and helped establish the North West as a major hub of queer and alternative culture.

The History of queerupnorth
queerupnorth began life as 'It's Queer Up North' in 1992, when it was founded by two of the staff at Manchester's Green Room, Tanja Farman and Gavin Barlow. The name, a play on the well known phrase 'it's grim up north', was an idea borrowed from 'Flesh', a gay club night held at Manchester's famous Hacienda club. In 1998 the first word was dropped from the organisation's title making it simply queerupnorth. The idea was to provide a platform for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender art, including drama, cabaret, club nights, comedy, film, fine art and performance art. In 1992 it was not conceived of either as a festival or a sustainable event, but was rather one small element of that year's Manchester Festival. When it did prove possible to have another season in 1993, it was branded as 'The National Festival of Lesbian and Gay Arts 1993'.

The format of the queerupnorth's programming changed from year to year. From 1992-1994 there was a concentrated season, or festival, of work but between 1995-2000 there were festivals presented only in 1996, 1998 and 2000. There were, however, a handful of queerupnorth events presented in 1995 and 1997. There were little or no events explicitly connected with queerupnorth either in 1999 or 2001. In 2002 however, the format of queerupnorth's programming changed again and between 2002-2005 individual events and small seasons of work were presented throughout the year. In 2005 queerupnorth returned to an annual festival format where it remained in 2006 and 2007. By 2005 queerupnorth had become Europe's biggest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender arts festival.

(information taken from Manchester Archives and Local Studies office record for queerupnorth)

What the collection holds

The Live Art Archives hold the master queerupnorth Video Archive. We have both the analogue and digital master copies for preservation, plus DVD viewing copies which are available for research purposes on request. 

The material includes:

  • videos submitted by artists along with other materials promoting their work
  • videos recorded by, or on behalf of queerupnorth, mostly within venues in Manchester during the festival
  • videos relating to LGBT issues and produced by interested groups

‌A detailed catalogue of the DVD copies available to view at the Theatre Collection is available on the Theatre Collection online catalogue.  (Clicking on the 'Ref No' will open up the catalogue hierarchy or 'tree'.)

The full queerupnorth archive is catalogued under the reference M800 at Manchester Archives

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