LAKELAND Arts has put together a innovative new project to uncover the history of Cumbria’s LGBT community.

The display - LGBT+: Within and Beyond - runs until February 1, at LA's Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry at Kendal, and curator Rachel Roberts said that currently MOLLI only had a handful of LGBT+ stories and objects in its collections: "We want to change this and tell stories that could otherwise be lost.

"This display is the start of a larger project which will explore a range of themes and currently under-represented voices under the collective title of Within and Beyond."

The initial display brings together existing objects and stories, but does not pretend to give a comprehensive account of LGBT+ history in Cumbria. It aims to invite visitors to help build and diversify perspectives.

The museum is working with artists-in-residence Bordello Theatre Company, a Queer artists collective which creates and performs immerse theatre works, and was originally formed in Cumbria.

Graham Easterlow, the theatre's artistic director, explained that he grew up in South Lakeland in the 1980s and 90s and went to school under Section 28: "It was a very tough time for the LGBT+ community and even more so for those of us still in school," he added.

"It can be a terrifying world sometimes for people who are different to the norm and in some ways it feels like some parts of the world are still trying to catch up.

"At a time when our society is being rocked by political upheavals, social division and an increasing intolerance and hatred, it is more important then ever to reconnect with the simple message that deep down we are the same. It is an amazing thing to come full circle and return to South Lakes to take part in such an exciting opportunity for the LGBT+ community of Cumbria.”

The first display brings together loan objects from across Cumbria and farther afield, including from Keswick Museum, Whitehaven and Carlisle Archives, People’s History Museum and London School of Economics.

Items on show include works and letters by Percy Kelly.

There's also a poster from the Pits and Perverts concert in 1984, which was a benefit gig organised by the London Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners group. Headlined by Bronski Beat, the concert was significant in leading to a political breakthrough for gay rights.

Other pieces featured include a pin badge from the Greenham Common peace camp; objects relating to bestselling author Hugh Walpole, who lived at Keswick, and stories relating to H Montgomery Hyde, who went to Sedbergh School and eventually wrote a history of gay relationships entitled The Other Love.

"These are fragments of a much bigger story," added curator Rachel. "We want to invite the local community to help us expand our collections and understanding of LGBT+ history and experiences."