September - November 2017 | Kingston Lacy - Dorset
In 2017, The National Trust, in collaboration with the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries at the University of Leicester, developed an ambitious National Public Programme, ‘Prejudice and Pride’ to celebrate and tell stories of properties and places with a strong LGBTQ link in the year that marked 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.
I was a researcher and a creative lead on EXILE, the collective name for a series of installations that formed a ‘house takeover’ of National Trust property Kingston Lacy, Dorset. Emerging from a process of rigorous research and drawing on narrative theory, an enhanced visitor route through the house was created to tell the story of William John Bankes, one of Kingston Lacy’s former owners.
William John – a Member of Parliament, collector and talented draughtsman – inherited Kingston Lacy in 1834 and set about making dramatic changes to his home. Just seven years later he was caught with a soldier in ‘an indecent act’. It was the second such incident. At a time when intimate relationships between men could be punishable by death, William John felt he had no choice but to leave the home he loved for exile in France and later Italy.
The installations were designed to move, inform and empower the visitor, making links with William John’s experiences of displacement and prejudice and the ongoing global fight for LGBTQ rights today.
Please find a link here to the researchers talking about EXILE https://youtu.be/jmaPDAYomlM
Please find a link here to the making of In Memoriam EXILE https://youtu.be/n3qH1v2-NcI
Below is the soundscape that accompanied the ropes installation In Memoriam, including vocals by staff and volunteers and music by composer James Jones.
Research and narrative design by Richard Sandell, Tom Butler and Julie Howell
Spatial design and production by Julie Howell and Tom Butler
Projection mapping and Film production by Lea Nagano
Soundtrack by James Jones
With thanks to the staff and volunteers at Kingston Lacy NT, Dorset UK
Image Credit: National Trust images / Steven Haywood.