Stories from the pandemic. A lasting testimony from Sheffield.
We all lived through a historic global event. No community was untouched by the pandemic. In a very real sense, we found our way through it together. But what the experience of living through such a universal event actually felt like is particular to every individual living it.
Despite the universality of this crisis, the texture of its experience for each of us was, by its very nature, been isolating. We all stood witness to a totalising event in our own discrete, specific ways.
As part of Sheffield’s Covid-19 memorial activity, this project sought to gather stories from the people of Sheffield to inform and strengthen the city’s memorial plans. All of these stories and hundreds more were captured and have been stored in the Sheffield City Archives in order to form a lasting testimony from Sheffield.
Fragments of these stories were inscribed into the city's Willow Tree Memorial, which was installed in March 2023 in Sheffield City Centre. The sculpture was awarded the Keith Hayman Award for Public Art at the Sheffield Design Awards 2023.
A selection of stories have been put together in a feature documentary, that explores the experience of this period for Sheffield residents.
In addition over 50 small grants were awarded to support communities own memorial activity and to reflect on their experiences from the pandemic and encourage collective healing.
It was a city wide collaborative effort with a wide number of organisations and local people from across the city. The project was lead by Opus, Compassionate Sheffield and Sheffield City Council, with support from Sheffield City Archives, and Lab 4 Living.
As we learn about each others lives we can lay the foundations for a Compassionate Sheffield.
Let's celebrate the small acts of kindness, support positive change and remember those we have lost.
Everyone has a story.