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City Centre Panorama Park Hill

Stories from the Pandemic

About the project

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 feels like is particular to every individual living it.


Despite the universality of this crisis, the texture of its experience for each of us has, by its very nature, been isolating. We all stand witness to a totalising event in our own discrete, specific ways.


As a central 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.


A feature length documentary from the project is set to be screened as part of Sheffield's 2024 memorial activity on 22nd March 2024 at the Showroom Cinema.  


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 led by Opus, in collaboration with Compassionate Sheffield and Sheffield City Council, with support from Sheffield City Archives, and Lab 4 Living.

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Latest updates

The Willow Tree Memorial sculpture by George King Architects was awarded the Keith Hayman Award for Public Art from the Sheffield Civic Trust.

5 March 2024

The Stories from the Pandemic documentary screened at The Showroom on 1 March, and can be watched in full here:

1 March 2024

Photo credit: Rachel Rae

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