Hidden history of people of colour uncovered by new exhibition

Sheffield Cathedral is taking part in a new and ground-breaking arts exhibition which sheds light on South Yorkshire’s hidden racial history. Commissioned and curated by ‘Dig Where You Stand’, the cathedral is one of five Sheffield venues to be displaying artworks from Saturday July 20 to Sunday August 18.

‘Dig Where You Stand’ is part of a project being supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. It is a collaborative exhibition by 14 artists of colour, all based in South Yorkshire, who have explored local archives and produced dynamic new work to reveal the unknown history of people of colour in the region.

Just as histories are written across a city, this multi venue exhibition will display artworks across a range of highly visible public spaces, including Sheffield Cathedral. Make your way around Sheffield city centre and be moved by a stirring mixture of painting, poetry, puppetry, soundscapes, film, textiles, and live performance. Profiles of all the artists can be found on the ‘Dig Where You Stand’ website (www.dwys.co.uk) together with information about exhibition venues, accompanying events and workshops.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This free exhibition grants access to stories that have been hidden deep within the archive and breathes life into people often reduced to bare facts, figures or silence. In doing so it helps renarrate the North, dispelling the myth of a pure white past glorified in mainstream historical accounts, while demonstrating how deeply rooted people of colour are in the region’s foundations.

Sheffield Cathedral c1914Sheffield Cathedral c1914
Sheffield Cathedral c1914

‘Dig Where You Stand’ was originally developed by writer and activist Désirée Reynolds during her residency at Sheffield City Archives in 2021. Using art to navigate the fragments and gaps contained within the archives, Reynolds recovered and reimagined the stories of several local working-class Black and Brown people. These were showcased in a series of sold out exhibitions and documented through articles published by Now Then Magazine. Désirée is Creative Director for the exhibition.

"Dig Where You Stand isn't about kings and queens but ordinary people who end up in the archive as fragments of a will, nitice in a newspaper, play bills or a baptism record. Black or Brown people and racialised communities have been here for centuries and we ewant to bring that out."

Rev Dr Casey Strine, the Bishop of Sheffield’s Advisor for Inter-Faith Affairs commented: “Sheffield Cathedral is very pleased to be hosting the Dig Where You Stand Biennial. To show these brilliant insights into Sheffield’s often forgotten past alongside the prominent histories preserved in our Cathedral offers a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with people and events that have made this city great. I hope this will be the first of many occasions on which we use this historic space in the heart of Sheffield to tell the stories of people of colour that have too frequently been overlooked.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.