Mission & Backstory

OUTsider is an Austin-based transmedia nonprofit that celebrates the bold originality and creative nonconformity of the LGBTQ+ communities through the presentation of provocative, overlooked and out-of-the-box film, dance, theater, performance art, music, writing and visual art.

Through its annual festival and conference, OUTsider unites queer artists, audiences and scholars from around the globe to exchange ideas, ignite conversations, transcend boundaries and experience new pleasures through artistic discovery.

Core values of OUTsider include:

  • Creativity: Showcasing the wild imaginings of the queer arts communities.
  • Collaboration: Inspiring conversations and connections between audiences, academics and artists across disciplines.
  • Community: Developing new forms of queer togetherness through unprecedented festival experiences.
  • Cultural Enrichment: Enhancing understandings of queer art through dynamic panel discussions, participatory activities, casual shindigs and scholarly presentations.

OUTside the Rules

OUTsider breaks the traditional one-medium festival model through a transmedia experience that bridges disciplines and activates the power and brilliance of collective LGBTQ+ creation and community.

OUTsider rejects the common separation of artistic practice and appreciation through an intertwined festival and conference that encourages generative interactions between artists, scholars and the general public.

What’s in a Name?

The name “OUTsider” is a reference to queerness, and specifically the act of refusing shame and living one’s life “out,” including living “out” as an ally of the LGBTQ+ communities. “OUTsider” also expresses an affinity with outsider sensibilities and people–those who take risks and dare to be different, and all marginalized folks who live and think outside the status quo. These various notions of the “OUTsider” inform the festival’s structure and content.

OUTsider Backstory

In December of 2013, a small group of queer artist and festival friends were catching up over some snacks and libations when the conversation turned toward the contemporary festival scene in Austin. We agreed that this scene was unparalleled and that queer culture in Austin was at a creative zenith. At the same time, we felt that something was missing: a queer space (both in Austin and beyond) that encouraged participants to explore beyond their artistic comfort zones, that facilitated new interactions between artists, academics and audience members, and that brought together LGBTQ+ artists of all stripes from around the globe. The more that we discussed this vision for a new type of queer festival, the more excited we became and, by the end of the evening, OUTsider was born!

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