21 May 2021 5pm – Late

The fundamental purpose of Ports In A Storm (PIAS) is to facilitate engagement in public life for marginalised and vulnerable communities. The organisation aims to encourage people to transcend that first hurdle to engagement, i.e. leaving the house! It is our hope we can provide such engagement for marginalised and dispossessed communities from all walks of life, responding to the specific needs and context of a continually changing world.

How will it work

Ports In A Storm is dedicated to logistically connecting oppressed communities to (in the first instance) arts organisations, with emphasis on establishing galleries, exhibitions spaces, etc. as safe spaces for members of vulnerable and oppressed communities. PIAS will identify participatory physical art spaces as safe spaces for respite from a potentially hostile public world, either as destinations or places for a breather, during public excursions. In reciprocation and to build trust, PIAS will organise & build visits to art spaces, within support networks for oppressed communities.

PIAS is an engagement project, focussing attention where it is needed, rather than maintaining ongoing routine activities. This is a reflection of a desire to build confidence with individuals, as a steppingstone to their further independent engagement, rather than provide an ongoing service. This emphasis also enables the project to respond to developments in the wider world. This might mean emphasising engagement from a particularly beleaguered community, in a given moment or connect a particularly appealing event to a community. The weighting will always be in favour of the oppressed community needs.

What we will do for LightNight 2021

PIAS will initially focus on the transgender community, purely as this is the community PIAS is most familiar with. However, it is anticipated that the project will look to work with further marginalised or dispossessed communities, such as refugees, elderly or simply people suffering with social anxiety in any of its forms.

Our first engagement project will focus on the transgender community and access to Liverpool LightNight.

We are hosting an online ‘Nice To Meet Yous’ event on the Wednesday (19 May 2021) prior to the festival, where invited guests from the venues & Liverpool’s wider arts community will be invited, along with representatives of the LightNight, to introduce themselves. This online event is open to anyone who identifies as transgender and our families and friends. One of the worries about leaving our cosy homes can be the expectation of a sea of unfamiliar faces outside. Here we hope to make some of those faces, particularly within the arts world, not just familiar, but friendly! There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions about not just the art, but basics like support, toilet access, etc. so that we can address any of those anxious worries which make it harder getting ourselves out socially.

For the LightNight event itself, we are coordinating a walking group specifically for trans people. We will have a limited number of spaces reserved for venues & timings to coincide with performances. In particular, we shall coordinate our travelogue to performances organised through Homotopia, so we can whoop our support from privileged viewpoints! If, however, the covid situation worsens & physical events cannot happen, Ports In A Storm will have an online tour through the festivities.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Kelly via portsinastormliverpool@gmail.com

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