GCU teams up with Glasgow partners on Wellcome Trust sexology project

17 November 2014

GCU's Dr Karen Lorimer is an expert in sexual heath research

GCU's Dr Karen Lorimer is an expert in sexual heath research

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow are leading research in the Glasgow hub of a UK-wide Wellcome Trust collaboration promoting the scientific study of sex.

The Wellcome Trust is launching ‘The Institute of Sexology’ (November 2014 to September 2015), the first UK exhibition to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex.

From Alfred Kinsey’s complex coded questionnaires to Samoan jewellery to sex machines, the show investigates how the diverse research, methods and collections of sexologists have shaped our ever-evolving attitudes towards sexual behaviour and identity.

To coincide with the exhibition, young people from around the country have begun work on a Sexology Songwriting project that will see them exploring the study of sex through music and lyrics.

Five groups, or Hubs, from Manchester, Brighton, Glasgow, Havant and London are forming collaborations with sexologists and songwriters to create musical responses to contemporary sexology research. This will incorporate various topics and issues, including gender and sexuality, female pleasure and how sex is represented in popular lyrics.

Projects are being led by The Roundhouse, in collaboration with Wellcome Collection (London); Contact Theatre and the University of Manchester (Manchester); Rhythmix, in collaboration with Safety Net, Brighton Dome and Brighton Youth Centre (Brighton); Music Fusion, in collaboration with the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre and the University of Southampton (Havant); Glasgow Life/ Tramway, in collaboration with New Rhythms for Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Glasgow (Glasgow). Each regional hub will explore different themes and aspects of sexology research, such as body image, sex and everyday life, sex education, LGBTQ youth, mental health and consent.

In Glasgow, GCU’s Dr Karen Lorimer has teamed up with LGBT Youth Scotland, a voluntary organisation dedicated to the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people, community music charity New Rhythms For Glasgow, and art-space Tramway, to encourage young people to explore sexual attitudes and behaviours through song-writing.

The Glasgow hub partners are working with young people from minority sexualities, and are gathering in workshops over a ten-week period to talk about research techniques and for the young people to conduct research in the area of representations of sexual stigmas and attitudes.

Working with professional researchers, songwriters and community partners, the young people will conduct a small research project then compile and perform their own song at The Tramway in Glasgow.

The project will culminate in live performances at a series of events, as well as a selection of the songs being made available online and at listening posts at the Institute of Sexology exhibition in February 2015.

Leah Holmes, Project lead at the Wellcome Trust, said: “The Sexology Songwriting project is a wonderful opportunity for young people from all walks of life to be involved in exploring and creating exciting musical work that will really get under the skin of the most progressive research in a field most relevant to them.”