Queer Glossary

In 2015 the Van Abbe published its first Queer Glossary. By providing a clear summary of the terminology related to queer issues from a personal perspective, the sociologist Alice Venir wrote this informative glossary together with the museum in order to stimulate discussions about queerness.

Queer Reading Group

In 2017 the Van Abbemuseum hosted a weekly queer reading group on the subject of queer separatism. The sessions included an introductory talk by artist and writer Eimear Walshe followed by group discussions that examined how, throughout history, queers have united to create spaces designed and organised on their own terms. Though usually used to describe the outright rejection of society, the series took the widest possible definition of separatism, drawing on examples from social, political, domestic and educational spheres.

The reading group was led by Eimear Walshe. Walshe's work seeks to reconcile queer histories with personal or local narratives through fiction, biography, and academic writing. This reading group was part of Queering the Collection and the Deviant Practices research programmes at the Van Abbemuseum.

Queering Sessions 2017

In the light of our mediation tool - Queering the Collection - the aim of the Queering Session was to unpack intersectional notions of everyday life. The topics were Fashion, Toys and Parents, Colleagues, Sport and finally the Embodied Knowledge in Performance. The evenings worked their way through each topic using performances, workshops, meditations, dialogue and cross-pollinating presentation formats. The point was to scavenge the landscape for methods and actions, to analyze, reflect and make way for inclusion and diversity.

Queer Media Club 2017

The mediation tool Qwearing the Collection and the Queering Sessions focus on the subversive, personal and political implications of queering. However the museum can also be a place to discuss sexuality, gender and identity, hence the collaboration emerged between the Mediahuijs Eindhoven and the Van Abbemuseum locating LGBTQ experience at the centre of the five consecutive discussions. By watching clips, reading articles and analysing extracts of movies the Queer Media Club managed to give insight to, and reflect on how LGBTQ experiences are being framed and portrayed in contemporary media. 


In July 2016 Qwearing the Collection opened as the 5th and final tool in the toolshop at the van Abbemuseum. Designer Olle Lundin who graduated cum laude with the project from the Man and Communication department at Design Academy Eindhoven in a collaboration with the Museum and sociologist Alice Venir.

Qwearing the Collection explores how a queer perspective can be used to change the experience of the museum and the art on display in it, therefore provoking further thoughts and analysis from the visitors. Using the term queer in its broad sense of otherness and fluidity opens to analyze any cultural archive from an intersectional standpoint, and shedding new light into the white cube of the museum space.
Qwearing the Collection consists of two main elements: firstly the questioning of relevant artworks and situations of the main art collection taking place on five informative garments through text and image. Secondly an introduction and contextualisation of the queer terms that are used in the enquiry which can be found and investigated on the scarfs. They both come together in the experience where the audience are invited to browse through the collection.

Accessing the information on the garments involves reading text and imagery from ones own body as well as the surrounding bodys partaking in the experience. This alters the performativity of the exhibition space and renegotiates the relation between the wearing and the non-wearing visitors, and already through the design itself introduces the user to concepts such as drag and performed identity

Qwearing the Collection Scarf

The Qwearing the Collections scarf is also available in different colours in our museum shop. Click on the image below to visit our online shop.

Queer Art (temporary programming)

The project Archivo Queer? Screwing the system (Madrid 1989 - 1995) can  be seen in the exhibition The 1980s from 2 July until 25 September 2016. Archivo Queer? consists of an open archive filled with photographs, videos and texts of public performances, demonstrations and campaigns by queer movements in Madrid in the early 1990s, when the aids epidemic claimed many victims. The archive will be exhibited in the Van Abbe for the first time and shows an alternative to the patriarchal and hetero-oriented classification. The project was initiated by Fefa Vila Núñez, the promoter of the LSD artists’ movement, and Sejo Carrascosa from the Radical Gai group – in collaboration with the artist Andrés Senra and the researcher Lucas Platero.

Other activities

Various activities were organised in the Van Abbemuseum to correspond with Queering the Collection.

In May 2016 a lecture is given in the context of the International Day against Homophobia. The researcher Luc Brants from the COC talked about the relationship between the flourishing homosexual and lesbian movement in Eindhoven and the increasing aggression against homosexuals in the 1980s, and provided a striking picture of how anti-homosexual violence actually contributed to the liberation of homosexuals in Eindhoven. 

The assistant professor in Film & Literature Studies, Eliza Steinbock, gave a lecture on The Navigating Portraiture in March 2016. Using different trans-portraits by contemporary artists she examined the power relations at the basis of a portrait. How do you navigate your way through portraits without using gender terms? And how can the aesthetic values of trans-portrait techniques be made more vibrant?

A QueerKino took place in November 2015, discussing the development of performance art and film from the 1960s to the early 1980s. The panel included the moderator Olle Lundin, the curator Diana Franssen, the sociologist Alice Venir and the interior architect Gabriel Ann Maher. They added a new layer of meaning to the films that were screened and related this to humor, sexual expression, the male outlook and social constructivism.