Manchester Pride aims to be a consumer-driven, community-led event in future after an open attendance consultation earlier this week helped shape its future.
The Manchester Central Convention Complex hosted an evening – led by CEO Mark Fletcher – to encourage participants to share views to democratise its future.
Much of the Q&A section centred around diversifying Pride, with questions raised about how to increase BAME, bi, trans, and women’s inclusivity.
Mr Fletcher welcomed questions about user-friendliness for minority groups but also indicated the existing channels available for funding and organisation.
“What we’re trying to do through awarding grants and providing support…to create and host an individual event whether that’s put on by a group or organisation, and then we’ll put the full weight of Manchester Pride behind it to support it and promote it.
“If it’s an event for us to deliver how do we do this? Do we know what this refers to? Do we know how to best deliver? Do I have the resource available on my team or do we go out and do we speak to people who are experienced in this area?
“We have a number of different initiatives that we operate throughout the year. Most recently you’ll be hearing about an equality and inclusion charter that we’ve been doing now for almost two years.
“That will be helping us to eradicate discrimination faced by people for protected characteristics other than sexuality and gender in safe spaces.”
The evening’s consultation followed the announcement in August that the main stage and dance arena of the yearly festival will be moving to an undecided location, due to various building developments in the city centre, and around Manchester’s iconic Gay Village.
New developments including kampus on Whitworth Street and Chorlton Junction, town houses on Bloom Street, and two new hotels are due to bring 1100 news residents and patrons to the area.
This will raise issues around licensing, accessibility for construction sites, noise complaints, and rental contracts for the carparks which previously hosted the main stage and dance tent.
However, Mr Fletcher was categorical in his insistence that the gay village would remain at the heart of the event, citing that Manchester Pride have pledged £300,000 worth of investment to the zone.
In 2019 Sackville Gardens will host a main stage and the sing along cinema, expo, markets, street performers, and Superbia going ahead in similar veins to previous years.
Sites being investigated to host the main stage include Heaton Park, Platt Fields Park and the Manchester Arena.
Other questions were raised about making Pride more environmentally sustainable; the commercialisation of Pride and maintaining the campaign for LGBT rights; issues of transportation to the main stage; issues surrounding ticketing; and concerns from local business owners.
Mr Fletcher was pleased with the feedback and general engagement of attendees.
“It’s really important for everybody to understand that they are here to help us shape the future.
“The future is not determined, so I’m pleased with the line of questioning and the amount of engagement that we’ve got tonight.
If you didn’t make our Listening Group last night, we still want your feedback and opinions on the future of Manchester Pride Festival! Let us know your thoughts by filling in our consultation survey here: https://t.co/2InXKX2z6m This survey will close on 2nd November. pic.twitter.com/rzUoaYaUQG
— Manchester Pride (@ManchesterPride) October 19, 2018
“I know that we’re going to be delivering one of the strongest and most fantastic festivals in 2019.
“Exactly how it will look yet I’m not too sure but I can guarantee that it will be one of the most important, significant celebrations of LGBT life in the UK.”
Questionnaires are available on all of Manchester Pride’s channels online for members of the public wishing to express their views.
Image courtesy of Manchester Pride via Twitter, with thanks.