New art installation which will light up at night is unveiled to promote women's safety in Sheffield parks
A new public art installation has been unveiled by campaigners Our Bodies Our Streets in collaboration with the University of Sheffield to raise awareness of women's safety in Sheffield’s public spaces.
The installation is based at the Ponderosa and aims to help raise awareness of women's safety in public
A wooden structure to be lit up at night, the installation features cut out poems and an engraved Experience Map, a map of locations in the city where victims have experienced catcalling and street harassment.
Emma Beaumont, Our Bodies Our Streets campaigner and student at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape Architecture, said: “We should all be able to enjoy the city’s public spaces without fear of being harassed.
"Now more than ever, we understand how important being in green spaces is to our emotional and physical wellbeing. Sheffield is the ‘outdoor city’ and takes pride in its many wonderful green spaces - but we’ve got to make sure that all its residents can access and spend time in these.”
“Unfortunately we know that women and girls are the most likely to experience street harassment, and this is an intersectional issue with women of colour and members of the LGBTQ+ community facing additional fears.
"Our campaign focuses on promoting interventions to actively make spaces feel safer, which might include increasing visibility using specific tones or types of lighting, or using uplighting instead of floodlights.
“The beauty of public art is that it can send such a powerful message to so many people. We’re delighted to have this piece installed at such a prominent location in the city, and hope that it helps spread the message of how important it is that the women of Sheffield feel safe outdoors.”
Funded by the Department of Landscape Architecture, the installation is part of a campaign to help make public spaces feel safer.
The installation is made up of a hexagonal wooden structure laser cut with poems from women in Sheffield based on their experiences of street harassment. It also features an engraving of the campaigner’s Experience Map, a map of locations in the city where victims have experienced catcalling and street harassment.
Coun Alison Teal, Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Wellbeing at Sheffield Council said: "We are supportive of initiatives that help to improve women’s safety, and the new art installation in Ponderosa Park is a reminder and powerful symbol of this very serious issue that affects women every day.
"Our Bodies Our Streets campaigners impressed us with their knowledge and passion and have encouraged us to think about this issue more creatively. “Last week as part of a partnership bid with The Police and Crime Commissioner, South Yorkshire Police and with the three other SY Local Authorities Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster, we have applied for further funding from the Government's Safer Streets Fund, with lighting at Ponderosa Park included as a proposal within the bid. If we are successful this will allow us to assess whether the lighting is effective in improving community safety and might be something we could consider in other parks across the city.
“We want everyone to feel safe to enjoy our lovely parks and green spaces and to feel safe on the streets too. No one ought to fear threats and intimidation at any time of day or night and we are working to help Sheffield residents feel confident about their safety when they are out and about.”