A Tale of Two Sheffields: Everyday Borders and City of Hope

This exhibition is the culmination of a collaborative photography project between The University of Sheffield, Abigail Ward, Chilypep (Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project) and "Happy Group".

The Young Artists

'Happy Group' is Chilypep's participation and support group for refugee, asylum seeking and newly arrived young people in Sheffield.

The group was established in 2019 and it remains the only youth group specifically aimed at supporting young asylum seekers and refugees in the city. The members of Happy Group are 13-22 years old and come from all over the world: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Kurdistan, Iran, Albania, Chad. Some have lived in Sheffield since they were 7 or 8 years old, others for just a few weeks. The majority of Happy Group members are UASCs (Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children). Happy Group is one facet of the RUBIC2 project, which aims to empower communities and individuals to address and challenge barriers that undermine the development of cohesive and inclusive communities.

The Art Project

The art project involved a series of workshops conducted by Dr Maria Teresa Ferazzoli and Abigail Ward, a young photographer from Sheffield, to express young migrant people’s experiences of 'everyday borders' in Sheffield.

The young artists selected photography as a means of communication because it transcends language barriers, and they recognised it as a common and easy channel through which they are able to express themselves. This photographic project was an opportunity for the artists not only to communicate the difficulties met by young migrants when they arrived in Sheffield, but to also share their positive experiences of the city.

The Exhibition

Photographs are exhibited at the City of Sanctuary Sheffield, which is an independent charity working in solidarity with people seeking sanctuary in Sheffield. The 'Happy Group' meet here every Tuesday.

The exhibition is part of Sheffield's Migration Matters Festival, 2022 and it is presented across two spaces within the City of Sanctuary:

  1. Photographs in the first room represent the barriers that a migrant may encounter when starting their life in a new place.

  2. Photographs in the second room represent what the young artists say they love about Sheffield.