Gray’s School of Art host event to celebrate Aberdeen’s LGBTQIA+ community

Friday 31 March 2023

Image of Bart Grabski from Look Again and organiser of CRACK
Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University (RGU) is to host a series of new LGBTQIA+ community events in Aberdeen city centre in the run up to Grampian Pride.

Taking place on Friday 21 April at OGV Podium, Gray’s School of Art's creative unit, Look Again, is proud to present ‘CRACK’, an evening of enthralling performances featuring drag icons, music and artists who embody queer culture.

The event will bring together the LGBTQIA+ community from across the North East and all profits raised will be donated to the Aberdeen’s Four Pillars charity ahead of Grampian Pride.  

Visitors to ‘CRACK’ are encouraged to wear anything that suits their style from drag to leather, glitter to goth. The focus is on self-expression and individuality, and everyone is encouraged to be themselves.

A supporting exhibition will run during Grampian Pride and transform the city centre Look Again gallery on 1-5 George Street.

The LGBTQIA+ events support RGU’s commitment to promote respectfulness, inclusion and equality, and are supported by funding from Aberdeen City Council’s Covid Recovery Fund (LACER) to re-energise Aberdeen city centre.

Organiser, Bart Grabski from Gray’s Look Again team, says ‘CRACK’ represents the LGBTQIA+ community coming out of the ‘cracks’ and emerging into the spotlight.

He said: “We want people to express themselves freely and ‘CRACK’ offers a space where queer culture can be celebrated, and where people can come together, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

“The event is not just about partying but is about creating a sense of community and belonging. We want to celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and love in all its forms and to foster a sense of belonging and togetherness for the north east’s LGBTQIA+ community.

“’CRACK’ and our supporting exhibition builds on the success of the ‘Collaborative Insights’ event, organised at the Look Again Project Space in January, and offers new opportunities for Aberdeen’s LGBTQIA+ community to come together to share their experiences.”

RGU’s Equality Champion for Gender Reassignment, Clara Maurillon, said: “Being inclusive towards society’s most marginalised groups, is central to RGU’s ethos. As a University, we are committed to equality and diversity, and I am proud to support the LGBTQIA+ community at RGU through the Rainbow Action Group, a safe space for staff members to share their experience and provide feedback to help us create a more inclusive working environment.

“Our first big initiative of the year will take place on Trans Day of Visibility, where I will be helping the LGBT Student Network at RGU in setting up stalls around campus to raise awareness of trans issues. We will also be distributing 250 pronoun pins in an attempt to make the sharing of pronouns normalised so that our trans and non-binary community can feel less ostracised. The Look Again events coincide with Grampian Pride and offer more opportunities for the north east’s LGBTQIA+ community to come together to celebrate and share their experiences.”

Leading artists at CRACK include Claudia Sneddon and Joe Morris, who are former Gray's Artists in Residence.


Claudia and Joe said: “The Look Again LGBTQIA+ events provide an opportunity for people to connect with others who share similar experiences and challenges, and to build supportive networks of friends and allies. We need more LGBTQIA+ events because they provide a platform for members of our community to come together in a safe and accepting environment.”

Reuben Jarvis is a member of Aberdeen Taexali an LGBTQIA+ rugby team based in Aberdeen who is looking forward to the event. Reuben highlights the challenges faced by Trans people in sport. He said: “We are working hard to create and support a vibrant atmosphere in sport and in rugby where trans people can thrive. We are passionate about growing and being part of queer spaces focusing on trans inclusion out of sport and it means a great deal to our mission of inclusivity and community power to be involved with CRACK. Trans people belong anywhere and everywhere.”

Joy on Tap is an Aberdonian drag duo led by Sleepy and Cadenza who are also performing at CRACK.

They said: “We are currently running Aberdeen’s latest queer drag night, providing what has been lacking in the city for years - a safe space for queer people to thrive. Since we started the show, we have seen so many people finally be able to express themselves in ways they previously thought they couldn’t, be it the way they dress, the way they do their makeup or even the way they present themselves.

“Queer Joy is so important to the city, it gives the LGBTQIA+ population an escape from the harsh realities of the world and allows us all to thrive in an audience of people who are all there for the same reason, to be unapologetically queer. We want Aberdonians queer community to be as big and bright as it possibly can be, and we are so excited to be a part of Crack!”

The event also supports International Transgender Day of Visibility on Friday 31 March, which celebrates transgender people worldwide and aims to raise awareness of discrimination faced by people worldwide, whilst celebrating their contributions to society.

‘Crack’ takes place at OGV Podium, 7 Windmill Brae, Aberdeen. Doors open at 8pm with performances starting at 9pm. For more information, please visit Look Again. To book your ticket, visit: Eventbrite.

Main image shows Bart Grabski from Look Again at Gray’s School of Art who is organising CRACK. Other images show leading artists at CRACK Claudia Sneddon and Joe Morris; Aberdonian drag duo, Sleepy and Cadenza from Joy on Tap; and Reuben Jarvis from Aberdeen Taexali.

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