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Visiting the Queer Arts Festival hub

Jess Ducey, co-founder of the Queer Arts Festival talks about the inaugural festival which ran in Wellington from 30 May to 5 June 2022. The recording was made at the headquarters/hub of the festival, which also included a display from the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand Te Pūranga Takatāpui o Aotearoa. Following Jess, Will Hansen and Roger Smith talk about LAGANZ. This recording was made with participants wearing face masks.

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  • 00:00 - Jess Ducey - Queer Arts Festival
  • 21:30 - Will Hansen and Roger Smith - LAGANZ


The recording explores the origins and execution of the Queer Arts Festival (QAF) in Wellington, emphasizing its meaningful impact on the community and the relevance of its location at 106 Courtenay Place. The discussion begins with Jess Ducey, who explains the festival's accidental inception following a road-trip conversation between Ducey and their partner.

Born from a shared passion for queer art and a desire to spotlight the rich artistic tapestry within Wellington, the festival aims to celebrate and pay fair wages to queer artists. With funding from the Wellington City Council's Creative Communities Fund, what started as a whimsical idea materialized into a week-long celebration across various art forms, with events from galas to literary readings and drag performances.

Exemplifying the festival's inclusivity, the hub became a forum for showcasing a diverse range of artworks, from soapstone carvings to zines. The QAF utilized a collective approach to planning and funding, emphasizing artist compensation as a fundamental principle. Jess Ducey highlights the festival's emphasis on paying artists fairly and creating joyous, community-driven events that affirm the city's identity as a creative hub.

During the interview, Jess also mentions the strategic use of the term "queer" in the festival's title. The choice stems from its brevity and the capacity to encapsulate a spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities without delving into precise terminology. Additionally, the term stands as a reclaimed expression of the community's diverse identities. The conversation also touches upon audience inclusivity and the positive reception of the festival, which challenges notions of art accessibility and affirms the significance of representation in communal spaces.

The recording also features a conversation with Will Hansen and Roger Smith regarding the presence of the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ) at the festival, emphasizing the importance of making queer history visible and accessible. They illuminate the challenges facing archives such as funding and the need for continual custodianship. The talk reflects on the evolution of the term "gay liberation" since the 1970s, the potential for a Queer History Month in New Zealand, and the critical role of archives in preserving and disseminating LGBTQ+ history.

As the interview concludes, the speakers share thoughtful perspectives on the future of queer communities, including the necessity for systemic changes and the recognition of queer histories as a vital component of the nation's narrative.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

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Record date:4th June 2022
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:106 Courtenay Place, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004672).