niranjankamatkarAt the moment, promotion of GFest 09 call for submissions continues to be our main focus here on: www.gaywisefestival.org.uk.  It seems the external coverage for GFest call for submissions is getting better each year.

Entries have started pouring in from various places across the globe, but greedy as we are 😉 – we want more.

As always we need to ensure GFest 09 programme reflects true diversity.

It can sometimes be a strange and considerable learning experience to be at the helm of affairs. As usual, as soon as we announce any event/ activity, one of the first responses comes from a community member. Sadly, this time one of the first responses was a knocking one ;(. It was about the use of the word ‘queer’ in GFest publicity.

Why did GFest use the term ‘queer’ artist in its publicity?

Fortunately for us, there was a detailed response provided by another community member on another website. Some people still see it as a derogatory term, despite the fact that several arts practitioners (and our audience) have proudly reclaimed it as identity statement about their work and their life.

I appreciate that all of us are unbiased, self-critical LGBT community members and we need to remain so. However … what may help boost the feel good factor (which is always to be welcomed) are a few positive or encouraging initial responses towards this 3-year young initiative (of course, followed by a few knocks post those!).

The huge amount of positive response that GFest has received over the past 2 years (alongside the few critical voices), indicate the high levels of expectations that members of our community have from an event or from this festival, and we aim to meet these challenges.

There are not many cross-arts platforms and opportunities available for LGBT artist and practitioners who are inspired or influenced to create work specifically around their sexuality or sexual orientation.
This is the purpose of GFest. It is organised by arts charity Wise Thoughts on a shoestring budget and most of the ‘in kind’ support is delivered by London’s resourceful LGBT (and wider) community and organisations.  We need more resources to have a programme that encompasses as many LGBT and queer artists and art forms as possible.

We need to widen partnership base to make sure that GFest becomes premier and inclusive LGBT arts festival for all. Hope we get there soon with everyone’s wholehearted & most valued support.

Niranjan Kamatkar – Artistic Director, GFest 09
London, April 09

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