Stories from the pandemic: Exhibition at Sheffield gallery celebrates ‘connections between communities’

Visitors to a 10-day exhibition which opened to remember stories from the COVID-19 pandemic has been hailed as an experience which “pulled at the heartstrings”.

The ‘Stories From The Pandemic: A Lasting Testimony from Sheffield’ exhibition opened at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery last month and ran until yesterday.

The exhibition, which was held in partnership with Opus, Compassionate Sheffield and Sheffield City Council, displayed stories throughout a staged house through photos on coffee tables, videos on TVs, radio and pictures on the wall.

Stories were displayed on walls and on bedside tables.

Visitor Sarah Jones from Netherthorpe, said: “Some of the quotes from these people were just so touching. The range of positive and awfully tragic experiences made it a rollercoaster. 

The 54-year-old added: “The way it has been displayed made it pull at the heartstrings for sure. You felt like you were in someone’s living room.”

The exhibition included pieces of paper and pens, where visitors could write their own experiences and add them to a wall collage.

‘Compassion & craft’ sessions were held by Compassionate Sheffield for free who said “remember what we lost in the pandemic and celebrate positive change”.

Director of Opus, Joe Criss, said: “It’s really important to look back at the COVID-19 pandemic even though its recent history because it’s important we understand its impact. 

“There are lots of people who have had different struggles. The exhibition creates these moments of connection between different communities.”

He added: “It’s more aimed at people who haven’t had those experiences to actually understand how it’s been for those in Sheffield. A lot of people are still living with these after-effects.”

A staged garden included photos and videos of stories.

Sheffield City Council and Compassionate Sheffield awarded 54 grants of up to £2,000 to community groups in Sheffield under its COVID-19 Community Memorial Fund.

Organisations who received the grant included United Women Affiliation, African Voices Platform and Sheffield Futures.

Terry Fox of Sheffield City Council said: “Sheffield City Council is proud to be a member of the partnership that sought out stories from the pandemic.”

The featured stories are part of a wider project by Compassionate Sheffield, and the full collection of stories will be released on their website later this month.

To read extracts from the ‘Stories from the pandemic’ exhibition click here.

Written by Angel Sang

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