Ryan Kearney is a curator and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Ryan’s on-going research centres on queer night-time spaces.


Print | A Map of Queer Brum, Nov 2019

Exhibition | If Memory Serves, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sep 2019

Workshop | Campania, an explanation and a history, Recent Activity, May 2019

Exhibition | The Club’s Conception (or How the Egg Was Cracked), Recent Activity, May 2019

Exhibition | Three Models for Change, Stryx Gallery, Jun 2018

Performance | Rainbow Flag/Trojan Horse, Recent Activity, Jun 2018

Exhibition | A Prelude, Centrala, May 2018

Screening | Queering the Archive, Recent Activity, Nov 2017


Artist Talk | Denzil Forrester, Nottingham Contemporary, Feb 2020 →

Keynote | Paul B. Preciado and Jack Halberstam, Nottingham Contemporary, Feb 2020 →

Artist Talk | Diane Simpson, Nottingham Contemporary, Feb 2020

Artists’ Film | The Otolith Group, Nottingham Contemporary, Nov 2019

Contemporary Conversation | Form and Frontier, Nottingham Contemporary, Nov 2019

Conference | Architectures of Education, Nottingham Contemporary, Nov 2019

Artists’ Film | Jarman Award Touring Programme 2019, Nottingham Contemporary, Oct 2019

Exhibition | From.Between.To, Gallerija Vartai, May 2019
Performance | Territorial Symphonies, Block Universe, 58th Venice Biennale, May 2019

Exhibition | From.Between.To, Parafin, Apr 2019 →  


Review | Love and Solidarity at Grand Union, this is tomorrow, Apr 2020

Text | Some Kinda Love, Celine Gallery, Oct 2019

Review | Ian Giles: Trojan Horse/Rainbow Flag, this is tomorrow

Exhibition Text | Indre Serpytyte: From.Between.To, Parafin and Galerija Varta, Apr 2020

Text | The ‘Gale Comes of Age, In The Pink, Grand Union and SHOUT Festival, Nov 2018

Review | The Oscar Wilde Temple at Studio Voltaire, this is tomorrow, Oct 2019

info [at] ryankearney.co.uk

15 Sep - 14 Nov 2019
Birmingham Hippodrome
Hurst St
B5 4TB

↑ Photomontage of architectural drawings from recollection

“From my understanding, the Hippodrome wanted that place so bad for a long time because it was ideal for them, you know? And we basically said ‘no, you're not having it’. I wasn’t privy to how much they charged because we were members committee not general committee, but they wanted it for years but we said ‘no, no, no, no’.” - Angela Gilraine, The Nightingale Club’s first female Director

If Memory Serves narrates the previous venue of Birmingham’s oldest queer space, The Nightingale Club. The exhibition forms part of an ongoing research project by Ryan Kearney, which born out of gaps in the city’s queer record, considers the closure of LGBTQ+ spaces, their exclusionary practices and the role of memory in forming a queerer archive.

The Nightingale Club’s history centres on narratives of migration and erasure. From a terraced house to an ex-working men’s club, its previous sites faced compulsory purchase orders and rejected applications for expansion. Modelled after a gay village, the club’s third iteration on Thorp Street was purchased by Birmingham Hippodrome in 1994 following ongoing efforts, and was subsequently demolished for their expansion. Merging recollections, personal ephemera and archival material, If Memory Serves re-positions collective narratives upon the site of club’s former foundations.

To its members, the club was an extension of home, to others, it was dismissive of those who were not white, male or cisgender. Women could not obtain membership until the mid-1990s: “it [entry] depended on the guards at the door, but it also depended on the members. There were guys that liked women coming in, but there were also guys that didn’t like women coming in because they felt like it was their space - it was quite difficult to integrate.” - Anne Ellen, attended the club through the 1980s and 1990s.

The exhibition’s title is taken from If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past, Christopher Castiglia and Christopher Reed’s argument for queer memory as an activist tool. The display advocates the role of memory in remedying fractured queer narratives, while forming an understanding between cross-generational experiences and the ongoing displacement of our queer ecosystems.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of workshops, through which participants are invited to record Birmingham’s queer spaces, both past and present. This research will form a publication delivered in collaboration with SHOUT Festival of Queer Arts and Culture in November 2019.

   Exhibition Guide

    Photos by John Fallon