KALEIDOSCOPE is a community project that celebrated local queer people during LGBTQ+ History Month in February 2023. Curated by Tom Stock, Colchester Library hosted an exhibition and selection of literary based events led by local LGBTQ+ writers, poets, artists, performers and drag artists. The project was informative, interactive and most importantly, inclusive. Tom and the Colchester Library team collected lots of positive feedback for the free queer poetry/writing workshops, art gallery, drag story-time, and for transforming the library into a rainbow wonderland (photos opposite and below).  

The project began on 19th August 2022, when S/ASH a local digital zine, founded by Tom Stock, had a stall at Colchester Pride where people could finger paint on a large canvas. After Colchester Pride, Tom wanted to display the canvas in Colchester Library for everyone to see. The Library had a better idea and asked Tom to curate a project for LGBTQ+ History Month 2023. Over 6 months, several meetings and many hot beverages, KALEIDOSCOPE was created.

To help cover the costs KALEIDOSCOPE Tom used the crowd funding platform Click to raise over £300. Thanks to the local communities generosity, this money paid for art supplies, decorations and more. The promo video can be viewed below.

KALEIDOSCOPE opened and closed with story-time events where local drag performers Shar Cooterie and An Nemia read to children and their guardians. Unfortunately a handful of people belonging to a far right group decided to protest the event so the local LGBT+ community peacefully came to counter protest. Over 250 LGBT+ people and their allies gathered outside Colchester Library to stand up to hate. The social media content of the protest can be viewed below. Local and national news reports about KALEIDOCOPE can be viewed above.

Everyone involved is keen to bring KALEIDOSCOPE back in 2024.

KALEIDOSCOPE back in 2024.