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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

Transitions of Southampton Lesbian Community Through a Pandemic


This project shares knowledge about Southampton lesbian people’s sense of community to relevant stakeholders in the city, in ordertoinform provision of space and events as local companies workto “build back better”.

In light of increased reliance on digital spaces,and moves away from in-person socialising, during and after the covid-19 pandemic, which has dramatically impacted footfall for local businesses, the project will synthesise and share knowledge on how community is facilitated across space and how digital provision can be used to support in-person engagements for community and businesses. Mapping of transformations of space and community will be used to advise onthe provision of space, activities and community facilitated by local partners.

Much has been written about gay men’s use of digital technology in facilitating community and intimacy, including during the current pandemic (Hakim, Young and Cummings, 2021; Mowlabocus, 2016) but lesbians remain underrepresented in this literature. Further, existing data on how lesbian people access community and necessary health and wellbeing supports is situated in large cities with diverse queer scenes. The project will synthesise this literature and offer situated knowledge on the landscape for lesbian people in Southampton in order to share targeted and specific insights with external partners and facilitate engagement with additional partners for future collaboration.

Through group discussion events hosted online and offline, and interviews with community and commercial space managers, the project will ensure synthesis and triangulation of key challenges and identification of needs which will be shared with external partners. Specifically, the project provides an important route to diversify and solidify community engagement and community hub-building to secure long-term financial security for the Art House Café (through traffic to paid-events and turnover) and ensure ongoing provision has relevance to changing, specific social, cultural and community needs in Southampton.


Principal Investigator: Dr Elizabeth Reed

Co-investigator: Dr Eleanor Wilkinson

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