As Liverpool prepares to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, fans across the world are eagerly awaiting the competition – including many from those labelled as minority groups within mainstream society, such as LGBTQI+ communities.
But what is it that draws people from these communities to Eurovision and makes it an international symbol of gay and transgender visibility, representation, and diversity?
That’s what a new research project from Bournemouth University aims to find out.
Funded by the British Academy, the project aims to explore LGBTQI+ communities' experiences of the event through surveys, interviews and observations.
Dr Jane Healy, a Principal Academic in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, is leading the project.
“Watching Eurovision last year, I was really taken by how it's such an inclusive and positive event - it seemed particularly so for those who might be targeted or victimised in the course of their lives because of who they are and how they identify,” Dr Healy said.
“From there, I wondered about the experiences of these different groups: such as those in our LGBTQI+ communities who are labelled as 'minority groups' within our mainstream society, who are then the 'majority' at events like Eurovision. Does this play a role in the positivity and inclusivity we observe at Eurovision? I wanted to explore how Eurovision made people feel, and what it is about Eurovision that draws them to it.”
The research will explore fans’ experiences of culture, safety, and inclusivity at Eurovision, as well as the intersections of LGBTQI+ identities with other elements of identity, such as nationality, ethnicity, and ability.
Eurovision fans can complete a short survey to share their experiences, and Dr Healy will also be travelling to Liverpool to experience first-hand the culture and atmosphere around the 2024 contest, which takes place from 9-13 May.
Dr Healy said: “We know nothing, for example, about ethnic minority LGBT communities’ experiences of Eurovision, or how inclusive Eurovision is for, say, disabled people. I'd love all fans to take part in the survey, regardless of how they identify, to tell us what it is that draws them to Eurovision and why it is such a phenomenal event.”
She added: “If we can explore some of the reasons why Eurovision is perceived as inclusive, representative and tolerant then we have an opportunity to learn something from it, something which could contribute to broader societal inclusivity and tolerance.”
To fill out the survey visit: https://bournemouth.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/eurovision