Celebrate Sheffield’s Green Spaces with ‘A Bit of Earth’ Project

A South Yorkshire initiative is encouraging people to share their stories and photos about local green spaces that have helped them during lockdown.

‘A Bit of Earth’ invites anyone to take part and write a story – either fact or fiction – about outdoor space and then upload it to their website.

Artistic director, Malaika Cunningham, 30, said: “We wanted to give something back to nature. Even if that’s just a weed cracking through pavement those experiences and our interactions with those green spaces have been so important to people.

“Before the pandemic we took the green spaces around us for granted quite a lot. We’ve been forced to look at them again and think about their value in our lives.”

Interactive arts company – The Bare Project – has partnered with Can Do South Yorkshire, Sheffield Climate Alliance, The Festival of Debate, and Opus Independents to celebrate our wildlife and spaces that have offered us comfort.

The stories will be shared online in May as a digital installation as part of the Festival of Debate and will have a live exhibition in September.

The project is suitable for all ages and they are keen to hear from a wide range of people across Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley.

The first 150 households to share their adventures will be sent ‘growing-kits’ in June. It contains seeds and a map to a local community garden as a chance to plant a garden with other people participating in the project.

Dr Cunningham said: “By planting those seeds it’s a little bit of an opportunity for us to pause and say thank you to the green spaces that have helped us get through.”

She hopes that the project will offer the participants a sense of connectivity within communities and has always been interested in people’s voices featuring strongly in work from The Bare Project.

In the past year they haven’t been able to create live work with audiences, so they have been working a lot with the postal service to keep their projects tactile and “magical”.

James Fawcett, 18, a student at the University of Sheffield, said: “I like going to the Peak District and spending time walking along the edges. Being able to go to outdoor spaces has helped me during lockdown.”

Written by Nadia Lincoln

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