SHOUT Festival is looking for people from a wide range of backgrounds to help shape the Festival as part of its Advisory Group.
What is SHOUT?
SHOUT is the Festival of queer arts and culture for Birmingham and the West Midlands. It aims to amplify the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people and communities from across our city and region, and start new conversations and tell new stories about LGBT+ life.
What does the Advisory Group do?
It’s a group of people who get together for a couple of hours, 4-6 times a year with the SHOUT team, to talk about what we want to see in the festival and other programmes.
They review the programme plans, give feedback, make suggestions, and discuss issues of relevance to the community. They also look at the SHOUT business plan and budgets, and help make sure that SHOUT is living up to its ambitions.
They might also get involved in other ways: attending events, actively promoting SHOUT when possible, making connections and introductions when that’s helpful, and occasionally helping with recruiting new staff.
Some Advisory Group meetings are virtual and some take place at the Birmingham LGBT Centre in the city centre.
What are we looking for?
We’re looking to assemble a group of people that can be representative of the brilliant cultural diversity of the West Midlands. We especially welcome applicants from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds
The most important personal attribute is enthusiasm, for SHOUT as a festival of queer arts and culture. Beyond that, we’re especially looking for people with a range of different life experiences, skills and knowledge. This could include:
- Artists, especially those whose work explores an aspect of LGBT+ life or queer culture
- People who work with LGBT communities or have experience of coordinating LGBT community projects
- People with specialist knowledge that might be helpful to SHOUT: this could include any of the following
– Strategy and business planning
– Marketing and communications
– Fundraising or business relations
– Cultural diversity and inclusion
– Digital media and technology
– Knowledge of the cultural sector
– Knowledge of another related sector like education, public health or local government
Will this mean I become legally responsible for SHOUT?
No. SHOUT is a project of Birmingham LGBT, which means the Board of Birmingham LGBT are legally responsible for SHOUT.
Will I get paid?
The Advisory Group is a voluntary group, but we want to make sure that nobody is excluded for economic reasons. So we can pay expenses for being involved, including for travel, meals, and childcare or other care of dependents.
SHOUT will also do our utmost to ensure that there are no barriers for anyone taking part. We will cover access costs, including full support or contribution to personal assistant costs and/or interpretation if required, or if unobtainable under Access to Work or any other support mechanism.
If I am on the Advisory Group, can I still be programmed in the festival?
Yes. If you’re an artist, for instance, you can still be part of the festival and also part of the Advisory Group.
All we would ask is that if you might personally benefit from any festival programming decision, you shouldn’t be involved in discussions about that decision: and there’s a conflict of interest policy to make sure of that.
How do I apply?
If you want to be part of the Advisory Group, please email us at email@example.com, explaining a little bit about yourself, why you want to join and what you think you will bring to the group, by 13 January 2023. We’ll then be in touch with next steps as soon as possible after that.
If you’re thinking of applying but want to have an informal discussion, please also email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to have a chat.
Volunteering from home the story of one of our volunteers who joined just before the first lockdown.
Our volunteer, Emma, shared their experiences with us, to celebrate Volunteers’ Week 2021.
I originally applied to volunteer to be front of house staff and an events co-ordinator for the centre in March 2020. I completed all of my training online over the summer and attended any optional training I could as I found these sessions really engaging. As much as the experience volunteering was not what I was expecting because it all took place online, the training itself involved hanging out with nice, new people which helped massively with the boredom and isolation of lockdown. Trying to have some semblance of a normal life by turning up to training and engaging with different people was really positive and I learnt a lot about the centre and the LGBT community.
After completing my training, I was asked if I would be interested in becoming a befriender and mentor. I wondered how I would fit this into my 3rd year university studies, but I thought it would be a nice experience and allow me to put all the training to good use. I first matched with a lovely gentleman and after 10 sessions of befriending with him I mentored another lovely woman for 10 sessions. I looked forward to each session every week and enjoyed the extra work I did after the calls to research things that could help who I was calling. I often found that the conversations and advice I would give those I was helping were things I needed to remind myself, such as things like self-care. Even though this was not the role I applied for, I had a lot of fun being part of it and found the work had many positives in my own life.
I’ve also enjoyed being part of the events at the centre such as the online fortnightly women’s socials; the Christmas social; the mandala art workshop and the all-day disco theme event. Meeting people (sometimes who were joining zoom from another country) was a really enjoyable experience that I always looked forward to. Even though there are people who I have been speaking to solely online for over a year now, I have been able to create memories, have some laughs and form bonds with people during this period of lockdown. For my own personal wellbeing this has been a source of fun and connection with people that I have really appreciated.
From my volunteering training I was inspired to look further into LGBT related academia as I study philosophy. This research actually formed what I have written my 5000-word dissertation on. This work was an exploration of the academic arguments which aim to invalidate the identities of transgender women (none of which I found convincing). I am really grateful for the training that I received that helped me think on what I was going to pick for such a big piece of my university education. I had an amazing experience talking to the influential transgender author Juno Roche at one of the LGBT centre’s online events, of which I was able to discuss my project with her. These opportunities have all spurred from my decision to apply for an events role at the centre just before a global pandemic, and I am so grateful for the way things have turned out.
I want to say a big thank you to the centre for giving me the opportunity to be part of such an important and lovely organisation. There have been so many positives for me personally that it is hard to put it down in so few words. It has been great to feel like I have been contributing back to the community which has supported me. Next step is going to New Jersey to work as a camp counsellor after I graduate this summer, then I move to London. I will definitely keep in touch!
By Siȃn Finn, Volunteer Coordinator
For this year’s Volunteers’ Week, our dedicated volunteers were treated to 90 minutes of entertainment from Don One, a drag king originally from Birmingham. We wanted to celebrate and thank our fabulous volunteers for all they do in supporting our work. Despite it being lockdown we were still able to offer a fun and interactive social event on the last day of Volunteers’ Week via Zoom.
Thirteen of us were treated to three uplifting songs and two rounds of quirky queer quiz questions. The show started with Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher” and volunteers and staff did their best to join in on the chorus. Mid-quiz, we all shared our favourite gay icons and were given a rendition of “Star Man” by David Bowie, Don One’s gay icon for their androgynous stage personas. After the final random quiz round the performance ended with Don One singing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, which was a lovely reminder for us all during these strange times.
Steve, one of our new volunteers, said:
Loved the Don One Show. Put a real smile on my face at the end of a hectic weekend.
Andrew, one of our longest-serving volunteers, said:
I fully enjoyed taking part in this online event (even though I’m totally rubbish at quizzes), not only to be a part of something fun, also it was wonderful to have communication with others due to me living on my own and have, like lots, been self-isolating for the last 13 weeks without seeing one person in the whole of that time.
It was a fabulous way to round off Volunteers’ Week. We are incredibly grateful to all our volunteers, not just during Volunteers’ Week but every week of the year.