Exhibitions

Copyright of Museums Sheffield

Sheffield’s contribution to protest: a review

Sheffield: often referred to as a ‘friendly’ city, a city surrounded by the serene setting of the Peaks. However, adding depth to its amiable reputation, Sheffield has a fierce history of protest- as you will find out by visiting the ‘Changing Lives’ exhibition at the Weston Park Museum.

As soon as you step into the exhibition you’re immersed in protest. From photographed portraits of figures involved with ‘Save Sheffield’s Trees’ campaign to hand made cross-stitches of the ‘craftivism’ movement to inflatable dinosaurs declaring the fight against fossil fuels. The exhibition documents the role Sheffield has played in protests over the last 200 years, and the city has played a surprisingly large part.

The exhibition opens with a timeline which illustrates all the protests which have occurred in the city from as early as the 18th century, up until last year. Of course, one of the most pivotal- and pertinent- successes of activism was the passing of the Representation of the People Act, in 1918, which was achieved by the women’s suffrage movement. Evidence of the dedication and laborious work which many women invested into this movement can be found throughout the exhibit.

As well as heavily publicised, global protests, movements which are more localised to Sheffield are displayed. For instance, the actions of rebellious ramblers of the early 1900s which secured public access to the city’s surrounding countryside today are highlighted. A large montage of the posters and pictures of the yearlong miners’ strike, anti-Conservative representations and a display about the closure of the steel factories complement each other to reveal the city’s more liberal, left-wing attitude that has dominated throughout its past.

In contrast to the black and white evidence of past protests are the colourful displays of more recent movements, including Black Lives Matter and the inevitable anti-Trump banners. In fact, one of the most entertaining, and certainly most colourful, posters of the exhibition compares the US president to a Wotsit. Need I say more?

The exhibition is free entry and runs until 1 July.

200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield

The Changing Lives: 200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield exhibition opens at the Weston Park Museum on 6 February until 1 July, 2018. 

Cole not dole

Copyright of Museums Sheffield

The passing of the Representation of the People Act on 6 February 1918 was a major electoral reform which extended voting rights to 8.5 million women across the UK. The Act was the result of a long struggle for the suffrage movement and the beginnings of British democracy as we know it today. To mark the 100th anniversary of this milestone in the development of our electoral system, Changing Lives: 200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield will celebrate how people in our city have stood up for what they believe in over the past two centuries.

Among the stories featured in the exhibition will be that of Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures, a group formed soon after the Miners’ Strike in 1984, whose Houghton Main pit camp brought public attention to further pit closures in the 1990s. The exhibition will also include local photographer Chris Saunders’ powerful portraits of people involved in Sheffield’s current tree protests.

The exhibition will examine how protesters have employed a variety of creative strategies to support their cause, from Samuel Holberry and the Sheffield Chartists to fly posters from the 2016 Black Lives Matter campaign. Visitors will find out more about the 1911 census evasion, led by suffragette and Sheffield resident, Adela Pankhurst, as well the radical writings of The Sheffield Register (1787-1794) and The Sheffield Iris (1794-1825).

Changing Lives will also showcase how Sheffield residents have demonstrated unity in protests on a local, national and international level. Visitors will discover objects from the World Peace Congress held at Sheffield City Hall in 1950, alongside placards and banners from more recent protests, including those supporting Junior Doctors, as well as the anti-Trump demonstrations which took place in the city and around the globe in 2017.

Save me

Copyright of Museums Sheffield

 

Louisa Briggs, Project Curator (Sheffield: Protest & Activism) said:

“Sheffield has an incredible history of protest and activism. The passion people have shown, the commitment they’ve demonstrated, and the sacrifices they’ve often made for the causes that matter to them are a hugely important part of the city’s story.  We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share that story through this exhibition at Weston Park Museum.” 

Visit www.museums-sheffield.org.uk for more information.