Claiming Our Past – Celebrating Our Present – Creating Our Future
First celebrated in 2005, each February marks LGBT+ History Month in the UK. It was founded with the purpose of promoting equality and diversity and increasing the visibility of LGBT+ people, their history, lives, and experiences.
Each year sees a different theme for the month and LGBT+ History Month 2023 is titled, “Behind the Lens” with a focus on championing the LGBT+ community’s contribution to the arts.
Inspired by this theme, the H+K UNITE team have curated an exhibition from a small selection of creatives from across the community. As well as brightening up the office with the artwork and celebrating LGBT+ History Month, the team wanted to shed light on the stories of the community behind the art and spark some ideas and interest within the London H+K team for how these queer creatives could contribute to live and upcoming client projects.
As LGBT+ identities become more visible in the media, going behind the lens is about recognising and listening to the people in the community who are writing, creating, and capturing stories in their art.
Eight artworks are on display all month in the H+K London Bar, from illustrators Ana Jaks, Will Marsden and Faye Troote, and photographers Amy Maidment and Nona Duch.
Step Behind The Lens
Ana Jaks is a freelance illustrator based in Bristol whose love for shape, colour, pattern and inclusivity is reflected throughout her work. Working across a range of different media from editorial to murals, her specialty and love lie in visual identity. Previous clients include Vice, HiPP, Nike, Bombay Sapphire, Stylist Magazine, The Telegraph, John Lewis and many more.
In 2018, Ana received the New Talent Award in the Site Specific category of the AOI World Illustration Awards, for a visual identity project with Facebook. Ana is part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and ADHD diagnosed – and is particularly interested in projects related to these parts of her identity.
Bournemouth-based Amy Maidment is a photographer working in sport and fashion, and the co-founder and Director of Photography for Club71 – a creative collective shining a light on sports-themed stories that deserve exposure.
Experienced in commercial and editorial work, Amy photographed H+K’s Move Your Skin campaign for Venus and the 2022 Women’s Euros, as well as working with adidas, Dr Martens, Pepsi Max, Tag Heuer, England Lionesses, Bournemouth FC and more.
Will Marsden is a Graphic Designer from North Wales. Initially studying Fashion Communications at University, he has since worked for the likes of Next and ASOS in fashion retouching and as a web designer for various design agencies. Will is now the creative behind Mawgo, an online design studio selling original art pieces and personalised prints, which he opened during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
As an LGBTQ+ creative based in Manchester, Will draws inspiration from the queer community in his work, especially in his utilising of the colours of the progress pride flag.
Originally from Barcelona, and now based in London, Nona Duch is a fashion photographer characterised by her exploration of colours, lighting and expressions, with a focus on diverse casting and dynamic storytelling. Nona has been working for more than 8 years in all kinds of disciplines, from fashion to jewellery, food, interior design and events. Having spent 4 years full time with Harrods, she brings great experience at the highest level of e-commerce and creative shoots.
Nona has featured in publications such as Flanelle, Lewis Mag, Wag1 and Fucking Young.
Fay is a freelance illustrator based in Brighton. She translates emotions by visualising narratives, communicating new and different ways of looking at and understanding the world around us and our place within it.
Inspired by adventures within nature, Fay loves using textures, bold colour, and senses of scale to create playful imagery that bring to life stories far and wide.
Creating work that explores our connection to people, place, nature and wellbeing, Fay is drawn to projects which aim to strike a balance between positivity and sensitivity. Her work has found home within editorial, packaging, publishing, design and mural projects.
The H+K UNITE team is the agency’s division of WPP UNITE, a collection of LGBTQ+ thinkers, doers and creators from across the organisation’s global network who work together to ensure diversity of thinking and creativity plays a central role in the work we create for our clients.
The team’s recent work is wide ranging to say the least.
Last month saw the inaugural H+K UNITE Monthly London Tea Time, an open invitation for LGBTQ+ H+Kers and allies to come together in a relaxed and safe space to talk about whatever’s on their minds – in the week of Madonna’s world tour ticket drop, conversation was sharply focussed on who holds the spot of Best Female Pop Icon.
Towards the end of last year, Emma Franklin-Wright, Liam Earl, and Louise Vernon contributed to WPP’s global insights study on LGBTQ+ marketing and its future, titled Beyond the Rainbow. The investigation reveals insights calling for more authentic representation of LGBTQ+ identities in the industry and the need for support from brands stretching beyond the excitement of Pride Month.
But H+K UNITE’s work doesn’t stop there: we’re excited to be taking part in WPP UNITE’s field trip to London’s Queer Britain Museum later this month, with H+K’s Office Bar playing host to a UNITE gathering later in the evening.
Keep an eye out for more of the upcoming projects the team has planned and how you can get involved.