The Wave Project was our creative response to a local GP saying:

It has never occurred to me that there are old LGBT people

We gathered photos of people aged 50-100+ who identify as LGBT+ and who live, work, or play in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, sharing a wave and a few words about themselves. We displayed the photos in an exhibition during June 2023. There were 48 photos depicting 59 people who, between them, represent a range of genders, sexualities, ages and geographies (rural, suburban and urban).

Throughout June 2023, the photos appeared in exhibitions at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and Theatre Severn’s Upper Circle gallery with an estimated footfall of over 16,000 people. We held a launch in the museum’s STOP! Cafe, which was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the exhibition and was opened by the mayor of Shrewsbury.

The Wave Project is now on tour around the county. As of December 2023, it’s already returned to Theatre Severn, as well as making smaller appearances at Wrekin Housing’s National Inclusion Week celebration, and the annual general meetings of Community Resource and Citizens Advice Shropshire, all of whom are Covenant partners who have made a commitment with SAND to “EMBRACE A Culture of Inclusion”.

The Wave Project has served as a vehicle to:

  • bring local older and old LGBT+ people together, e.g. at the exhibition launch
  • offer local older and old LGBT+ people a chance to contribute creatively to a visible community project
  • show to older and old LGBT+ people who may not be ‘out’ that they are not alone
  • raise visibility of older and old LGBT+ among members of the non-LGBT+/non-older community
  • increase confidence; for example, one participant in the project expressed some nerves about her photo being on display once the exhibition was curated, but before long was expressing pleasure and pride.

We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed a photo, as well as Shropshire Council for donating their exhibition spaces, and LGBT Consortium for funding the project.

The Wave Project digital gallery

Would your organisation like to host The Wave Project? If you’re interested and would like to find out more contact james@lgbtsand.com or phone 01743 590023.

Betty on scooter in front of classic red post box
Black-and-white photo of Helen, Jane, Lisa and Liesa at the beach
Sal on her bike, posing on a footbridge over the river Severn
National Lottery and LGBT Consortium logo
Promoting the visibility of older and old LGBT+ people in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin

“LGBT+ Futures: Equity Fund was a two-year £786,000 partnership between Consortium and The National Lottery Community Fund, designed to help community-led and grassroot organisations supporting some of the most under-represented and marginalised LGBT+ communities.”