Kiki Bristol: “There’s a clear appetite for these kinds of spaces” ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿
Bristol’s newest dedicated BME LGBTQ+ space
IMAGE: SHARIFA JAMES, KIKI BRISTOL
Set up by a small group of queer black Bristolians who felt there was a need for a dedicated BME LGBTQ+ space in the city, Kiki Bristol offers a safe, discreet space for QPoC to meet, laugh, discuss, perform and dance! Queer people of colour (QPoC) can experience higher rates of disadvantages, including isolation and hate crime, compared to their white counterparts, meaning spaces like Kiki can be crucial. DIVA spoke to Peta Shillingford, one of Kiki's organisers, to find out more.
DIVA: What’s Kiki Bristol all about?
PETA SHILLINGFORD: Kiki is not your usual club night. It's an opportunity to bring Bristol’s QPoC community together. It's a pretty laid back affair, where we chat, eat and dance. Thankfully, Kiki has a few people willing to lend their time and expertise to make the event work, the main instigators being Sharifa James, Edson Burton, Linda Devo and K. Other contributors include myself (Peta), Sheila, Lara, Imwen and Ti (who has kindly let us use his venue!)
Above: Peta Shillingford, Kiki Bristol
How did Kiki come to be?
Kiki grew out of a conversation between a couple of the founders earlier this year. They decided that if the existing Bristol scene couldn’t provide the kind of space that QPoC people need, then we needed to make it happen ourselves. Team Kiki was born in August 2017 and since then, people have been really eager to get involved and grow Kiki into something special.
How many events have there been so far?
We’ve hosted two events so far and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. There’s a clear appetite for these kinds of spaces in Bristol - an incredibly diverse city with a rich cultural heritage. Even at a conservative estimate, there are at least 2,000 BME LGBTQ+ living in Bristol right now. We get quite a few Bristol University students coming along, but other than that it's pretty mixed. From young people to more mature, many different backgrounds and across the LGBT+ spectrum. It's actually a lovely thing to see.
Our November Kiki was great fun! Thank you @BlkOutUK for your support! We will be taking a break in December. However, we will be back in 2018 with more exciting stuff planned! 👌🏾✊🏾❤️🏳️🌈— have_a_kiki (@Kiki_Bristol) 2 December 2017
Why is Kiki important?
One of the biggest challenges BME people face within our community is isolation. Quite often we have no idea that each other exist. A common problem is that we cannot be out in our respective communities as we face ostracism. This is why it is vital we are discreet and are seen to be a safe place of refuge. Having a space like Kiki where we can be out, relaxed and visible is crucial.
What are your plans for 2018?
We’re taking a small break throughout December to recharge, but we have plans for Kiki in 2018! We are, however, conscious that we don't want it to grow too quickly. We want to keep it really informal and concentrate on the social side of the event. There have been discussions about social events outside of our current venue, such as film screenings or discussion panels, and we have been talking to other organisations, so there may be collaborations in the pipeline...
How can people support Kiki?
We have had such a positive response from the community in Bristol - and further afield. It's been really encouraging. If you’re reading this, you can support us by spreading the word to QPoC in your social circles. Any financial support would also be gratefully received, so that we’re able to continue doing what we are doing. We’re also looking for a BME photographer to document our events, if you are interested get in touch at email@example.com.
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