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Preview: LightUp Fallowfield

The LightUp Fallowfield protest art installation aims to highlight key problems about safety and the dark

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LightUp Fallowfield is a protest art installation coming to Fallowfield on Thursday the 8th of December. The event is open to everyone, and involves members of the community coming together in the Ladybarn area of Fallowfield with torches and lights of all kinds to provide solidarity with those who feel afraid to walk home alone in the dark.

The event’s aim is to raise awareness of the fears that students have around their safety when coming home in the dark, especially in the winter months. The event will also be followed by drinks at The Font along with some discussion around the issues raised by the event.

The ‘protest art installation’ will begin at 7pm on the footpath off Ladybarn Lane behind Sainsbury’s, an area which is dimly lit at night, where everyone is encouraged to light up the area by bringing whatever they can — be it fairy lights, torches or just their phones.

Concerns surrounding the safety of students walking in the dark have been raised before, with a string of sex attacks being reported earlier on in the year which left detectives urging women in particular to avoid walking alone at night.

The project is run by Jessica Mallard and Zuzanna Niska, and their event is not only important in bringing attention to the unsafe nature of walking home in the dark, but it is also relevant to the time of year. They have introduced the event by explaining that “while an array of Christmas lights are turned on this winter, we continue to live in the dark reality of not feeling safe to walk alone at night”, and it is therefore a chance to “switch on some lights of our own”.

Jessica and Zuzanna have plans to continue raising awareness with future events, such as “more workshops, exhibitions and collaboration with organisations in the new year”. Jessica then went on to tell me that they plan on “using art to instigate meaningful discourse between the community and those in power”.

The facebook page for the event can be found here, where updates surrounding the event will be posted.

  • JB

    Yes, because a bunch of students doing ‘protest art’ on a December Thursday evening is going to deter sex attackers. I bet all the rapists are crapping themselves after these guys have ‘raised awareness’ with fairy lights ‘exhibitions’ (because rapists go to exhibitions?)

    • Jess

      The aim is to raise awareness of the issue to the authorities, and create and oppertunity to open discourse between them and the community in order to create a network of change under a cloak of entertainment. GMP representatives and local councillor Mike Aimsbury were present engaging in conversation and interactive activities at the after event at The Font, in which feedback from both them and the authorities was positive.
      Maybe some ‘student fairy lights’ aren’t going to change the dark reality, but it’s a start, don’t you think?

      • JB

        No it is not a ‘start’. A ‘start’ would be becoming special constables, and patrolling the area, enforcing the law and deterring sexual attacks.

        The ‘authorities’ are going to do absolutely nothing as a result of this – its just words. They are facing cuts and have many, many things to consider and budget for. More importantly, you haven’t ‘raised awareness’ with the rapists themselves.

        • Jess

          The two contables that attended had valuable discussions with people at The Font about their opinions on how to improve the situation, and actually police have to be seen to be proactive, so we have a meeting with them soon to discuss their responses to the night the recent Uni Of student safety survey.
          Councillor Mike Aimsbury was also present and we have a follow up planned with him about what the council council are/can provide. Get us on facebook @LightUpFallowfield to keep up to date with this, we will post any actions that will be took by authorities!
          Im very sorry you feel like the event wasnt good enough, and we’ll take your comments on board when thinking about future projects. Our facebook page often questions misconceptions of concent so perhaps that is raising awearness to potential attackers in some way but we will definitly consider your thoughts for future endavours.
          We believe that taking a stand out in the community and allowing the conversations to happen between the police, councillors and the community has the chance to make some difference no matter how small, which is more than doing nothing at all, and I am very sorry you dont share this sentiment. Im interested to know how you feel about reclaim the night? Please feel free to email lightupfallowfield@gmail.com with any ideas you have for any future projects JB, and we will endevor to make more of the change you want to see!

  • Anna

    I went to the event and it was great, such a good atmosphere and good pppertunity to tell the gmp what I think !