Cinema for the Qu(ears): Exploring LGBTQ+ Stories

Cinema for the Qu(ears): Exploring LGBTQ+ Stories

I'm Eamon Durey, or Nim as most people call me, and I’m a Creative Media Trainer here at the Nerve Centre.

Cinema for Qu(Ears) was a creative arts project that aimed to capture the everyday sounds of young people from the LGBTQI+ community and craft them into a unique immersive audio experience. Led by the Northern Lights Project, the initial phase involved workshops with Amanda Koser-Gillespie and sound design sessions with Glenn Rosborough and Peter O’Doherty.

After creating the immersive audio piece, we were approached by the Northern Lights Project to develop a visual element that further showcases the work. I sensed this project would take us on an inspiring journey from the start. Together with my colleague Mik O'Connell, I led a four-week programme, guiding the young participants to create a virtual exhibition. This not only showcased the audio pieces they developed but also celebrated their individual stories and identities.

Exploring Identity Through the Lens

Photography and identity are closely connected. For the LGBTQ+ community, photography serves as an important tool for representation and visibility. It allows individuals to document their lives, assert their presence and share their stories. Adding a visual element to our project felt like a natural step, bringing an extra layer to the captured sounds.

Our Stages of Creation:

1. The Art of Light and Composition: We began by introducing the participants to Digital SLR cameras, teaching them the basics of composition and lighting. This gave them the foundation to start telling their visual stories.

Light and Half-Light Using a dark room and various light sources, participants created images that only partially revealed their identities. These photos, almost invisible at first glance but recognisable to friends, challenged viewers to look deeper and think harder.

3. Eyes Speak Volumes We explored the idea of ‘look into my eyes and hear what I’m not saying.’ Participants took close-up photos of their eyes and combined them with personal images using photo manipulation software, creating powerful visual narratives of their inner selves.

4. True Colours: Participants created simple portraits using props that symbolised their identities. Music was a recurring theme, reflecting the personal interests of the subjects, including two keen musicians.

5. Pride in Our City Photographers captured environmental portraits and cityscapes during a walk around the inner city. These images reflected the thoughts and feelings of the young participants, presenting a vivid snapshot of their lives in early 2024.

Virtual 3D Installation

The final images and the participants’ soundscapes were curated into a virtual 3D online environment. Each artist designed their own room, strategically placing their chosen images on the walls. As viewers navigate from room to room, they encounter the unique sounds and images representing the identities of LGBTQI+ young people in the North West today. This multimedia approach enhances the sensory impact, creating an immersive experience. You can view it here now.


Cinema for Qu(Ears), with its blend of audio and visual art, offers a meaningful exploration of identity and representation. Through the lens and through sound, these young individuals have created narratives that challenge stereotypes and celebrate diversity. Their stories inspire a deeper appreciation for the beauty of being true to oneself and we felt privileged to provide them with the platform to do it!