Sheffield-based artists are being briefed this week about plans for a permanent city centre Covid memorial that will open in Spring 2023.
Covid memorial: Gathering ‘Stories from the Pandemic’
Sheffield is creating unique, long-lasting, and creative memorials as a tribute to those who have died from Covid, those who have lost loved ones and those who have been affected by the pandemic.
Our city, like those around the world, has been deeply affected by the impact of Covid-19, and in Sheffield we want to pay a meaningful tribute to those who have lost their lives, those who have worked above and beyond to keep people as safe as possible and those who have been affected by Covid.
Memorial activity in Sheffield is focusing on a memorial archive, local memorial activity, and a centralised memorial, which will be in place in the city centre by Spring 2023. The key focus of these plans is to make sure that Sheffield residents, community and voluntary groups and city organisations have a tribute of which they can be proud.
Community and voluntary groups and city organisations are already involved in the first phase of the memorial activity, ‘Stories from the Pandemic’, which launches to residents tomorrow by inviting them to share their stories and experiences about Covid-19.
Everyone across the city will have the opportunity to shared their stories either at https://www.sheffieldstoriesfromthepandemic.com/ or on postcards which will be available in libraries, museums and other city venues. A list of participating venues will be published on the ‘Stories from the Pandemic’ website.
The postcards have been designed to encourage people to share their stories, thoughts, or experiences about something small that made a big difference, something they are thankful for, a significant moment, something they have learned or about their feelings of loss.
Councillor Terry Fox, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “Everyone has a story or experience to share about Covid and its impact. So many people need compassion and support because of what they experienced during Covid, and we recognise that to share those deeply sad memories for this memorial archive is too painful. We know too, that others will benefit from talking about their experiences and telling their stories and we hope that they will note them down in their own words so that their story will always be there to inspire and encourage others. Covid was difficult for everyone in all sorts of ways, but for some people its effects will last a lifetime.
Postcards can either be posted into a ‘Stories from the pandemic’ box in a participating venue or submitted by post. They can also be ordered at https://www.sheffieldstoriesfromthepandemic.com/ for group sessions and discussions within communities.
The project is being delivered by Opus Independents, Sheffield City Council, and its Sheffield City Archives Service working with a range of organisations.
The trailer at https://vimeo.com/691359219 documents some of the stories that have already been gathered to launch the ‘Stories from the Pandemic’ project.
Every story and experience collected will be made live at https://www.sheffieldstoriesfromthepandemic.com/ and plans are in development about exhibiting the gathered stories.
They will go on to form a lasting archive of Sheffield’s Covid stories, focussing on what the pandemic meant to our communities and will become a part of our recorded history.
This first phase of the overall planned memorial activity will inform plans for community memorials and the central memorial.
Linked with the memorial activity is the work of www.compassionate-sheffield.co.uk which is connecting and supporting people, communities, and organisations to harness the power of compassion. It was often the small acts of kindness that made the biggest difference to people during the pandemic.
Councillor Terry Fox added: “We hope that people contribute where they can to this sharing of stories and experiences, and we look forward to listening to and understanding what people have felt and are still feeling.
“We are grateful to the groups and organisations who are already involved with this project, and we’d love people to continue to come forward to be part of the shaping of the local memorial activity in their communities and the central memorial too. Our wish is to create what we set out to achieve when the planning for the memorial first started, and that is a perfect memorial to those loved ones we have lost and those who are here living with that loss.”
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