Dig Where You Stand Dig Where You Stand

Dig Where You Stand is an archival justice movement made up of artists, archivists, educators and local community members.

Read more about DWYS and its origins

Welcome to the Archive

Explore past and present stories, events, exhibitions, artists, and more involved with DWYS
biennial 20 Jul 2024

Biennial 2024

There has not been anything like this done in South Yorkshire before, not at this scale. The Biennial is more than an arts exhibition, it is a reclamation. An act of memory recovery and a rennarration of the region’s racial history. Dig Where You Stand is an archival justice movement that has partnered with Sheffield City Archives, The Centre for Equity & Inclusion and Peter & Paul to bring you this powerful and necessary intervention.

exhibition 31 Oct 2021

Dig Where You Stand 2021 Exhibition

Dig Where You Stand will be running its first ever exhibition from the 25th to 31st October 2021. Artwork produced by Désirée Reynolds and Otis Mensah will capture previously untold stories about people of colour found in local archives. This work emerges from Reynolds’ 6 month residency with Sheffield City Archives.

event 19 Jun 2024

We Gather - Migration Matters Festival 2024

Get a first insight into Dig Where You Stand's exciting new work before the launch of our summer exhibition, via Britain's largest festival about migration, sanctuary and refugees.

story 20 Jul 2024

Eileen Biney

‘Exposure’ is a reimagining of Eileen Binney, sister to boxing legend Albert Binney, living in Sheffield from the 1920s onwards. Photography.

event 22 Jul 2024

DWYS Presents "We Gather" with Sheffield Cathedral

Join us for a special evening of live performances to celebrate Dig Where You Stand's new and groundbreaking summer exhibition. Featuring DWYS Creative Director, Désirée Reynolds, and commissioned artists Otis Mensah, CJ Simon and Rosa Cisneros.

event 27 Jul 2024

Open Studio

For one day only - visit the Dig Where You Stand open studio and watch how three of our artists made their work through shadowpuppets, textiles and poetry.

event 31 Jul 2024

Creative Workshop with Sile Sibanda

Uncover the hidden history of South Yorkshire and tell these previously untold stories through your own poetry and creative writing with Sile Sibanda. For ages 12 - 17.

event 08 Aug 2024

DWYS Presents "We Gather" with Sheffield City Archives

Join us for a fascinating discussion about the hidden history of South Yorkshire and how the visual arts can bring it to life. Featuring commissioned artists Kedisha Coakley, Seiko Kinoshita and Patricia Bugembe with Senior Archivist Cheryl Bailey.

event 17 Aug 2024

Ancestral Futures - Street Procession & Performance by Eelyn Lee & Collaborators

Join us for live procession through Sheffield City Centre to honour the first recorded Chinese people in Sheffield and numerous other ancestors from East and South-East Asian communities who passed through or settled in South Yorkshire.

exhibition 19 Jul 2024

Persistence Works

exhibition 19 Jul 2024

Moor Market

exhibition 19 Jul 2024

Sheffield Central Library

exhibition 19 Jul 2024

Winter Garden

exhibition 19 Jul 2024

Sheffield Cathedral

story 18 Jul 2024

Sheffield’s Africa

‘Sheffield’s Africa’ responds to the attitude of 20th Century Britain towards the African diaspora. Photography.

story 18 Jul 2024

Whispers Of History

One of the first Somali women in Sheffield arrives in 1956. A fictional audio recording captures her working life.

story 18 Jul 2024

Ancestral Futures

A Chinese baby is born and dies in Sheffield in 1855. At just 5 weeks old he’s buried at St Paul’s, now the site of the Peace Gardens. A processional street performance honours him and other ancestors from South and South-East Asian communities.

story 18 Jul 2024

Nigeria Says No

'Nigeria Says No' is inspired by a 1909 article lamenting the fact that colonial Britain couldn't get Ibadan in Nigeria to drink enough article, unlike it states it can in Barnsley. Photography.

story 18 Jul 2024

Hunter 77

Joe Philips is a steel worker in Sheffield who, in 1971, builds a boat that he hopes will take him back to Jamaica. Shadow puppets and film.

story 18 Jul 2024

A Train Running over the Sea

A train commissioned by the Japanese Government was built by Yorkshire Engine Co., Meadow Hall Works in 1871. Multimedia artist Seiko Kinoshita has created and installed six banners to capture this unlikely connection between Japan and Sheffield.

story 18 Jul 2024

Tears In A Cup

Lucretia Smith and Mathilde Boswell were buried at St Mary’s Churchyard in Beighton, 1844. A screendance and poem memorialises their lives.

story 18 Jul 2024

Edgar Jessop Smith - Dreaming

Edgar Jessop Smith, the troubled son of a famous African American tragedian, struggles to settle in Sheffield. A visual poem explores this psychodrama.

story 18 Jul 2024

When Our Souls Have Lean’d the Heat to Bear

Inspired by the known and unknown Black servants of Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham, during the Georgian era. Print plate materials: braided synthetic hair, pineapple leaves, hessian string, cardboard.

story 18 Jul 2024

The Shadow that Life Becomes

An old Jamaican man contemplates his life in Britain. A short story read by its author.

story 18 Jul 2024

The Sense of Us

A Sikh woman, who lived down Sheldon Road, Sheffield, is discovered and obscured in the 1939 census. A poem and audio recording captures her haunting.

story 18 Jul 2024

Lost Voices Hidden Names

The journey from Nigeria to Sheffield and all the colours in between. A tapestry of silk dupion, organza, silk threads and soluble fabric.

story 18 Jul 2024

The African Instruction

In 1820 a Sheffield born quaker purchases the freedom of two African men, Sandanee and Mahmadee. An epic narrative poem reimagines their story.

story 18 Jul 2024

Romulus & Remus

Two French horn playing footmen, Romulus and Remus, were ‘gifted’ when they were around 16 to Lady Rockingham (who had a stately home in Rotherham) in 1776. This is a mixed media charcoal portrait adorned with a collage of lokta textures. 45cm x 55cm.

story 02 Jul 2024

Point of Continuum

A Sikh woman, who lived down Sheldon Road, Sheffield, is discovered and obscured in the 1939 census. A poem captures her haunting.

news 19 Mar 2024

Travelling Ayahs Workshop

For International Women's Day we celebrated the extraordinary lives of travelling Ayahs in Britain

event 08 Mar 2024

Travelling Ayahs in Britain: ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances

Dig Where You Stand invites you to a special event for International Women's Day.

resource 05 Jan 2024

Resource Pack

We will soon be sharing a new DWYS resource pack. This will be free to download for community groups, schools and colleges to use when “digging” into the local history of their own communities. The resources here share stories found in Sheffield Archives but we want you, with the help of this pack, to go to your own archives. Digging starts with you.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Patricia Bugembe

Patty B is a self taught artist, Ugandan by heritage, born and raised in Ethiopia and now based in Sheffield, UK. Moving around a lot throughout her lifetime Patty B has found a sense of home by creating art that explores her roots. With a signature mixed media style she creates images that journey further into the history, the beauty and the power of the Black culture, discovering identities and making sense of her experiences. Since her debut exhibition "Her Story Remained Unfinished" at the Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield, Patty B has continued to display her artwork in exhibitions around the country, on billboard campaigns and has had a special features in NowThen's Magazine.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Seiko Kinoshita

Seiko is a Japanese artist who lives and works in Sheffield. Based in her studio at Persistence Works, Yorkshire Artspace, she creates large installations, sculptures, and films often using traditional textile and craft techniques. She also loves working on Public Realm projects that are socially engaged and focus on the hidden stories of local people and their heritage. In her practice, she is interested in how slow and dying craft techniques have a future and keep its cultural value within our ever-changing fast-paced society, and how those old traditional techniques can exist within the contemporary art arena. In recent years, she enjoys collaborating with other professionals such as scientists and sound engineers on challenging projects in new creative directions.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Eelyn Lee

Eelyn Lee is an award winning artist and filmmaker of Hong Kong-English heritage who has shown work at Barbican, Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Palais de Tokyo and at international film festivals. Her art practice combines collective research, performance and filmmaking to create frameworks for collaboration. With ‘organising’ a key aspect of her practice, Eelyn has convened a range of community building projects including the Social Art Summit [2018] - an artist-led review of socially engaged arts practice, and the ESEA Artists’ Futures Town Hall [2023] - a place to imagine new landscapes for East and Southeast Asian artists in the UK and beyond. Her ongoing body of work, Performing Identities is a collective reimagining of ESEA identities through the creation of new mythical characters and their cosmologies.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Kedisha Coakley

Kedisha Coakley is a London-born, Sheffield-based artist. Her practice spans sculpture, photography, and printmaking, predominantly casting in bronze, through which she interrogates Black histories and experiences. Investigating the overlooked, she remixes aesthetics, techniques, and cultural refences throughout her work. Process, hybridity, and materiality are important strands of her practice. Coakley’s work begins as a personal investigation of self, childhood memories and ritualistic practices in the lives of Black communities, and what they signify universally in the world. Making visible suppressed or express meaning by looking hard at what exists in the world of cultural objects, exploring the unconscious of culture, maintaining the integrity of their origins.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Najma Heybe

Najma Heybe is a creative artist from Sheffield. Her passion for writing and poetry is driven by a deep desire to express herself and connect with others through her writing.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Jacqui Hilson

Jacqui Hilson is a self-taught textile artist and speaker who has developed a machine -based technique using Mola (Reverse Applique). Jacqui's art explores motifs taken from nature that are found in many cultures. Her work draws inspiration from her Nigerian background and her Yorkshire surroundings. A strong interest in colour and the part it plays in evoking and depicting emotions is a large part of her craft, as is the texture and layers of fabric. The technique of Reverse Applique involves taking sharp scissors to to cut through layers of fabric revealing what is underneath. The technique is not dissimilar to the one employed by historians to unearth the stories that have been covered by layers of time.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Ellis Walker

Ellis Walker is an early career researcher specialising in black British literature. Her main interests centre around black authored speculative fiction, the British publishing industry and the intersections of race and space in black British literature. Her PhD entitled ‘The Reception and Representation of Black British Authors in Contemporary Britain’ from the University of Sheffield was completed in September 2023.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Rosa Cisneros

Rosamaria Cisneros is a dancer, choreographer, dance historian, critic, Roma scholar, sociologist, flamenco historian and peace activist who graduated from UW- Madison and went on to complete her MA in Dance History & Criticism from UNM-Albuquerque. Her PhD in Sociology focused on Roma women, intersectionality, dialogic feminism and communicative methodologies. At the moment based in the UK, she is an artist- researcher at Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research. She is also an independent artist, dancer, curator and teacher who has organised various festivals and exhibitions. Her dance films have screened in the UK, US, Colombia, Mexico, Greece, Cyprus and Germany and her latest documentary won best of the UK in 2016.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Dal Kular

Dal Kular is a Sheffield born and based writer, mentor and facilitator of creative writing, nature-allied and multi-media arts for healing and liberation. Leaving school at 16 years old with 3 O-levels and being told she could never be a writer, Dal returned to the power of words and writing in her late forties, gaining an MSc in Therapeutic Writing. Her debut poetry book (un)interrupted tongues is published by Fly on The Wall Press. Shortlisted for Wasafiri New Writing Prize and Class Action Nature writing prize, she’s been a recipient of an Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice Grant and has contributed a chapter on nature and healing for the forthcoming anthology ‘Wild Service, to be published by Bloomsbury 2024. She loves making zines, botanical journals and roaming the Peak Ditrict in her tiny campervan.

artist 01 Jan 2024

Cole Morris

I am a 22-year-old multi-media artist, fine art student at Liverpool John Moore university and musician of Caribbean / British descent, living in Sheffield. I’m very much influenced by my family, our histories and my location. My interests are animation, film and soundscapes. My last shadow puppet film earned an innovation award from the British Animation Short Film Festival 2023, and currently making a new shadow puppet horror short film “Mortis”.