As part of celebrations marking 30 years of akt, a new exhibition of photo portraits is touring the country.

The exhibition by photographer and akt staff member Jamie Luke Scoular showcases young people, staff, volunteers, patrons and supporters of akt, spanning the 30 years of the charity. akt was founded in 1989 by an ally Cath Johnson (nee Hall), at a time when LGBTQ+ people faced persistent and high levels of oppression, physical and verbal abuse and were denied the basic human rights and equity afforded to others.  Cath stood up and galvanised the LGBTQ+ community of Manchester by leading the world’s first response by a charity to the many LGBTQ+ young people who faced rejection, abuse and homelessness just for being brave enough to come out to their families. 

I hope the exhibition shines a light on lgbtq+ youth homelessness and that it’s still very much a problem.

Jamie Luke Scoular said: “I enjoy creating work that’s attached to a purpose especially within the LGBTQ+ community and so this was a project I was very excited about being involved in.  I shot everything across two months at the start of the year. I shoot on film and depend a lot on good natural light so the gloomy January weather was sometimes a problem!  I’m particularly excited to have my work at Dalston Superstore. It’s really important to have spaces like this within the community. It’s also a great awareness opportunity for akt to share the amazing work they’ve been doing for the past 30 years.” 

Tim Sigsworth MBE, Chief Executive at akt said: “The people featured in this exhibition, starting with Cath, comprise just a snapshot of the thousands of incredible allies and LGBTQ+ people who have helped akt prevent lifetimes of homelessness, alongside some of the amazing young people we have helped. The akt family have provided over 500,000 nights of safe accommodation to keep young LGBTQ+ young people safe.”

He continued: “At 30 our future is firmly focused on prevention and early action. We will be developing more physical and online services to ensure we are accessible to young people in crisis across the country wherever and whenever they need us; and will be working with communities and families to provide the support LGBTQ+ young people need to remain loved and safe at home. Thank you to the photographer, filmmaker and akt staff member, Jamie Luke Scoular, who turned his passion and belief in our work into this wonderful photographic celebration of the akt family.”

On what Jamie would like people to take away from the exhibition, he said: “Often when I speak about akt people they are surprised that a such a charity exists in 2019. Unfortunately it does and so I hope the exhibition shines a light on lgbtq+ youth homelessness and that it’s still very much a problem.”

The akt 30th anniversary photo exhibition is currently scheduled for display at Superbia in Manchester between 23rd - 26th August, Dalston Superstore in September for 6 weeks, and later this year at Manchester Central Library. More dates and venues are currently being scheduled. Keep an eye on akt’s social media channels for updates.