Since 2009, the SHOUT festival of queer arts has aimed to provide a safe space for expression and celebration for the LGBT+ community, inviting cultures and orientations from across the United Kingdom to Birmingham each year. In addition to the desire to provide representation and inspiring discussion, SHOUT is the only LGBT+ oriented festival in the West Midlands, making it a potentially important annual event.
This year, the festival aims to take place from the 10th to the 20th of November, and the line-up may contain a wide selection of events endeavoring for the promotion of the genre and visibility of new artists. Examples of this may be seen in the opening event, Miss Behave’s Gameshow, which aims to celebrate the vibrancy and upcoming amusements of the festival, which may be hosted by Olivier award winning Miss Behave. Or, attendees may visit Birmingham Open Media’s production by Gemma Marmalade, a one night only performance exploring the LGBT history and civil rights movement through a durational installation in which guests exchange in conversation and narratives with a performer.
Birmingham as a city may also provide a wide variety of other cultural travel opportunities this November for those looking for a weekend away within the United Kingdom, especially in the build-up to Christmas. Among the historic attractions which Birmingham may have to offer are the recently 300-year-old Birmingham Cathedral or the 250 years of history in the Jewellery Quarter, where over 500 jewellery retailers may still operate to this day.
Alternatively, there may also be a chance to visit the historic Victoria Square, where the three main roads of the city meet and public events may still be held throughout the year. The square was so named in 1901 to honour Queen Victoria who would pass away 12 days later, having previously been known as Council House Square due to its proximity to the main house.
The city may also be a hotspot for more modern attractions and retail, offering a wide variety of day trips and retail locations as customers get their Christmas shopping underway. For example, the Cadbury World is located on the site of the original Cadbury Factory in Bournville, offering potentially exciting activities such as chocolate making, the history of chocolate and a chance to play in chocolate rain! For further retail opportunities, visitors may also choose to make a stop at the Bullring shopping centre, where they may find over 160 brands and retailers as well as more than 40 restaurants and cafés.
For intellectual stimulation, there may also be a visit to the Thinktank Birmingham science museum, which aims to offer a selection of hands-on exhibits as well as a Planetarium and Science garden, which may appeal to travelling families and friends alike. Also potentially on offer may be the National SEA LIFE Birmingham centre, where the UK’s only 360-degree ocean tunnel is located and more than 2,000 creatures are on display, or The Glee comedy club, which may have brought some of the United Kingdom’s most prolific comics to the city for over 22 years.
Birmingham seems to have a wide variety to offer historically, in addition to the cultural value and developments for the LGBT+ communities in the West Midlands as well as throughout the United Kingdom. As well as the potential retail opportunities in the city for Christmas shoppers, the winter season and potential events may give reason for travellers to choose Birmingham this winter for a weekend away if they seek historical and cultural stimulation.
How may society continue to support minorities through travel opportunities and heritage locations?