The Oscar Wilde Temple: Rethinking platforms for artists & communities with Laura Harford

Laura Harford is Curator (Participation) at Studio Voltaire in London. Laura will speak about her work with reference to recent installation The Oscar Wilde Temple, by McDermott & McGough. During this exhibition Studio Voltaire’s gallery became a space of sanctuary and celebration, used by LGBTQ+ communities for ceremonies, reading groups, community meetings and other special events.

To initiate the artists’ intention, Studio Voltaire issued a simple invitation to London–wide LGBTQ+ organisations, charities and individuals to come and activate the temple, collaborating with 20 to host over 70 events: from weddings to coffee mornings and tours.

Laura’s talk will cover key concerns including how curator intervention can avoid diluting generous representations presented by commissioned artists as well as progressive methods for organisations to provide authentic offers to local communities, and how to listen to and act on public concerns relating to the misrepresentation of their communities.


Currently Curator (Participation) at Studio Voltaire in London, Laura Harford is a producer, curator and researcher with over a decade of experience working for non-profit arts organisations and galleries. Her work focuses on commissioning and producing art in the public realm, writing cultural strategies and delivering learning and collaborative projects.

At Studio Voltaire, Laura leads the participation programme for the gallery, producing artist residencies, offsite projects and learning programmes that often respond to socio-political issues, whilst questioning established values, histories, ways of thinking and living. Recent work has explored the politics of representation through queer and feminist histories which has led to working in-depth with LGBTQ+ artists and communities.

This event is part of Represented: Platforms not compromisea programme of events and activities highlighting an urgency for equality in representation and critiquing misrepresentation, under-representation and misinterpretation. In conversation with artists, writers, curators, performers, activists and communities, the programme aims to welcome, acknowledge and present a growing plurality of voices.

Image credit: The Oscar Wilde Temple by McDermott & McGough, Studio Voltaire, London, 2018 – 19 Courtesy of the artists and Studio Voltaire Credit Francis Ware.

Stay in touch