Let’s Talk About Chemsex – panel discussion

Hosted by artist Harold Offeh with Cheddar Gorgeous and Duncan Craig OBE, CEO of We Are Survivors, this event is for people with an interest or have had a variety of experiences that contribute to discussions on Chemsex.

Reserve a spot

This event complements the market stall art installation, which took place on Community Lane within the Gay Village on the previous day. Offeh will introduce the afternoon session with Cheddar Gorgeous and Duncan Craig OBE, offering their thoughts on the recently published report Sex, Chems, HIV & Consent. This will be followed by creative activities, led by Offeh, to engage with ideas on Desire, Intimacy and Consent. Attendees will then come together to review and reflect on the different responses to the activities. The activities in this session are designed to create a playful but sensitive environment to talk about understandings of queer intimacy, desire, and consent. Contributions will be anonymous, and consent will be sought for any audio/visual contributions.

About the wider project:

Let’s Talk about Chemsex led by artist Harold Offeh, is the start of a year- long project that aims to explore the queer communities’ broad range of experiences of sex on Chems. Harnessing the power of the legendary Salt N Pepa track Let’s Talk About Sex, to talk about consent, intimacy, and desire. Let’s Talk About Sex (1991) tried to de-stigmatize discussion of sex and desire in popular culture. The track was released at the height of the AIDS pandemic and was accompanied by a now forgotten

B’side called Let’s Talk About AIDS, featuring the same tune but with lyrics addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis as something to address without shame or prejudice.

Using workshops, talks and performance the project seeks to visually map and survey a diverse range of experiences without guilt, shame, or stigma, Let’s Talk About Chemsex will draw on this history and aims to support efforts by organisations in Manchester to promote non-judgemental discussions on Chemsex, consent, HIV and queer intimacy.

Over the next 12 months people will have the opportunity to participate in further artist led workshops. Directly informed by the lived experience the projects creative outcomes will contribute to final artwork production for presentation Manchester Pride 2024.

Commissioned by Portraits of Recovery and supported by Manchester Art Gallery and Superbia.

An event as part of Recoverist Month Sept 2023

Recoverist = recovery + activist

Artist Biography

Harold Offeh is an artist working in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. Offeh is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of histories. He employs humour to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture. He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally including: Tate Britain and Tate Modern; South London Gallery; Turf Projects, London; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Wysing Art Centre; Studio Museum Harlem, New York; MAC VAL, France; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark; and Art Tower Mito, Japan.

Offeh studied Critical Fine Art Practice at The University of Brighton, MA Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art and recently completed a PhD by practice exploring the activation of Black Album covers through durational performance. He lives in Cambridge and works in London, UK. He previously held the role of Reader in Fine Art at Leeds Beckett University and was a visiting tutor at Goldsmiths College and The Slade School of Art, UCL, London. He is currently a tutor in MA Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art.

Portraits of Recovery (PORe)

PORe is a pioneering visual arts charity in Manchester. We work with leading contemporary artists and people and communities (Recoverists) affected by and in recovery from substance use to create high quality inspirational art.

We are the UK’s only contemporary visual arts organisation in this field. By working collaboratively with leading contemporary artists, people, and communities in recovery, we share the human face of the recovery experience – breaking down barriers and promoting inclusion. Addiction does not discriminate. Addiction is a health, social and cultural issue.

Our key stakeholders, people in recovery from substance use, engage with and create high quality inspirational art as a critical part of their recovery journey. Our work is inclusive, activist, durational and process based. Through culture we build ambition by empowering a stigmatised community to enable systemic change.

Without guilt, shame, or stigma, call our Let’s Talk About Chemsex voicemail care-line on 0161 850 7852 Leave a message about your thoughts and feelings on Chemsex, or themes of consent, HIV, and queer intimacy. These anonymous recordings will contribute to an audio archive for informing ongoing project development. All reflections welcome!

The Let’s Talk About Chemsex, telephone voicemail care-line forms part of artist Harold Offeh’s year-long project exploring the queer communities’ broad experiences of sex on Chems.