In early 2023, a group of families from the LGBTQ+ Family Network worked with animator Lily Ash Sakula to create a short animated film inspired by the museum's collection and LGBTQ+ histories and stories.

Over the course of three sessions they explored storytelling, storyboarding, animation and editing. Their short animated film was premiered at the Out at Sea family festival, and you can also watch their animation here.



Week 1: Planning our film

During the first session, we all got to know each other with some games and challenges, before finding out more about LGBTQ+ histories within the National Maritime Museum's collection. 

We found out about pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Reed, marriages between sailors, and merfolk. 

We then began to think about our story and do some storyboarding. 

"I felt welcomed and warm and we were in a space where we could be who we are, which doesn't always happen."


Week 2: Pre-Production

In the second session we started to build our props, characters and backgrounds for the film. We made 2D and 3D pieces by either cutting up images of objects in the collection or building bits out of plasticine. We also got creative and used lots of materials that we found in the art cupboard. 

We then started to use an app to start animating our pieces. We used stop motion to take photos that were then pieced together to make it look like our characters and props were moving. 

"It was fun drawing"

"It was such a nice community in the room"


Week 3: Animating

In the final session we finished making our animations and then recorded sounds and interviews with the different families to create a soundtrack for the film. We then decided what music and sound effects should go into the film. 

Next, we waited for the final edits to be made so that we could see the final film at the 2023 Out at Sea family festival. 

'I really appreciate that animation has been the theme this time.. they've learnt a new skill about how to make things move and turn it into a film... It's been a fantastic opportunity"

"Working together and being creative has been good"

"It's a skill we've taken home and started using as a family."

Do You Sea What I Sea?

Created by the 2023 Families in Residence

Thank you to all the families who participated in the 2023 Family in Residence programme at the National Maritime Museum. 

Lily Ash Sakula is a Deptford based artist and animator. They make collaborative films that link different generations and communities; creating space for participant led chaotic fertility and collective brilliance. Lily is interested in capturing instances of joy, flashes of excitement and glimpses of practical utopias; creating magical spaces in which social norms can be broken. They seek through their work to be an active practitioner of radical hope. Animation, with its constantly morphing, unlimited possibilities of representation, is, for them, the perfect medium to capture our shifting ideas about how to live in and with the world.


The National Maritime Museum doing LGBT history month, using their collection to explore ideas around sexuality and gender, is fantastic. 

LGBTQ+ Family Network

A safe space for local LGBTQ+ families to meet one another, get involved in creative activities for all ages and explore the stories within the collection.