This week I talked to the founding members of the Canny Queer Collective, a Newcastle-based group set up in January 2022, with an aim to create a safe and friendly space for Queer people across the North East. They organise casual events, meet-ups, and also share activism posts on social media such as Transition Fundraisers and local Queer-led charities.
The founder, Ella, set up team applications at the beginning of this year and created a group to help advertise on social media, organise events, and run the collective. Since setting up their Instagram in January, they already have over 1,000 followers, which shows a distinct gap in the market for safe Queer spaces in Newcastle. I sat down with Ella, Izah, and Eva for a casual coffee in Journey, a Queer-led café bar in the city centre. They were friendly and inviting, and really excited to discuss their collective and the direction they are hoping to take in the future.
We began by discussing the meetups that they have arranged in the past, and others that they are hoping to organise in the coming months. We all agreed that the venues and events in Newcastle that are supposedly catered toward an LGBTQIA+ audience are often saturated with people who do not identify as members of the community.
Ella stated in the meeting that “it’s important that we organise events that cater to everyone”. For Ella, Izah and Eva, as well as the collective’s two other admins, Isla and Ollie, an important part of the collective was the inclusion of sober events that don’t always centre around nightlife. Getting feedback from attendees at their previous meetups such as their Cafe Quiz event was helpful and showed the abundance of support they have from the Newcastle community.
A large part of the collective is centred around creating a community in Newcastle, and in doing so, they hope to create a space where Queer people can meet other like-minded individuals and attend events with others that they might not go to alone. Izah reinforced this point and also stated that they and the members of their team will be stationed at events and will enter with people who are not comfortable going alone. They emphasised this for their event in March, which was a visit to the Baltic to see the Phyllis Christopher exhibition. Since then, they have organised lots of other friendly events such as visiting the Tynemouth market.
Meeting the people behind this collective was really eye-opening and showed their commitment to creating safe spaces for North-East-based Queer individuals. Follow their Instagram, @cannyqueercollective for any updates on events, and advice on how you can get involved!