Collection Exhibitions


Historically public art collections have been presented in a certain way.  White-washed by a straight, ableist, middle-class, male gaze.    The presentation a product of bias across generations of collectors, donors, curators and directors.  People were marginalised; their stories were suppressed and hidden in plain sight. This has led to public collections seemingly not representing all facets of contemporary society.


In order to address this issue, and better reflect the people of Walsall today, over the next three years a commitment has been made to ensure more diverse narratives are embedded into our Collections displays.

To begin this initiative, Here&Queer has been co-produced with members of the LGBTQ+ community.  Community members have had the opportunity to take ownership of the Collections and the stories they tell, re-interpreting works from a queer perspective, and increasing the visibility of queer lives.  The steering group explored both the Garman Ryan Collection permanent displays on Floors 1&2, and also delved into our Collections Store and found works they connected with in our Permanent Collection.

This project aims to show there is no one definitive queer experience, just as there is no one straight experience, we are all complex and multi-faceted human beings and we hope that the displays give the opportunity for people to gain new insights into works in our Collections and help visitors begin to also connect with works on an individual personal level.

While we can’t ever claim to fully represent everyone, we endeavour for our Collections to connect with as wide a range of experiences as possible and to permanently embed visible change and representation into the displays, allowing different communities to feel a sense of ownership, of belonging, of being seen and being celebrated.

Should you be interested in exploring areas around class, disability or race in connection with our Collections in future iterations of the Embedding Diversity project contact: Julie Brown, Collections Curator



Thursday 4 August   6-7pm   via Zoom

Join LGBTQ+ panel members for an accessible introduction and learn how the project came together

Saturday 20 August, 11am-3pm   Strike a Pose! family workshop.  Make your own rainbow figurines using plasticine with artist Rob Conway

Saturday 27 August  Here&Queer Events Programme in celebration of Walsall Pride

11am-3pmFollow the Rainbow Heart Road family workshop, creating a celebratory trail through the Gallery in honour of the Here&Queer exhibition and Walsall Pride with artist Yasmin Agilah-Hood.

11am-2pm – Alex Billingham, artist and LGBTQ+ community panel member, will perform a response to their chosen work Three Women Bathing in Here&Queer, on our Roof Terrace. 

2pm – In-conversation event with artist Michael Petry, in our Floor 4 Conference Room, who will reflect on the response to his 2004 Hidden Histories exhibition in Walsall and the Here&Queer project with LGBTQ+ panel members.  How far have we come in the last 20 years?  

3pmArt in an Emergency panel discussion around artists’ responses to significant social and political events, chaired by LGBTQ+ panel member Hope Talbot.  This event will take place in our Community Gallery, to also mark the closing weekend of the Twenty Twenty Collection exhibition.

Friday 23 September   12-4pm

As part of the national Art History Festival Julie Brown, Alex Billingham and Jon Sleigh will discuss the project and the wider context of LGBTQ+ representation in Collections.

Saturday 11 February  3pm

Curator’s Tour of Here&Queer

Book your free place here.

For further information on the exhibition or events programme contact our Collections Curator Julie:


Garman Ryan Collection Trail Guide: 

Temporary Exhibition Guide