Sheffield has a long history of protest, campaigning and ‘quiet activism’. It continues to be part of the City’s identity today. Over the last 5 years, much of this activism has been focused on the City’s street trees.
The inspiration for GCH came from the involvement, reaction and engagement the Sheffield street tree campaign garnered. Our initial concern was the protection and collection of the efforts and outputs of the campaigners, however these concerns were shared by many and a range of individuals and groups began protecting the stories through oral histories, exhibitions and festivals, to name just a few.
These important efforts and outcomes have proven incredibly powerful during the campaigning but they also represented a resource that is at risk of becoming disparate over time and perhaps lost or forgotten. GCH began to present an opportunity to unify the campaign’s material culture and protect the history of the events – all of which are part of Sheffield’s heritage.
In exploring the idea of creating a cohesive collection of the campaign, it became clear that the natural heritage of Sheffield, while it is at clear risk of being physically removed from the City, it is also at risk of being misunderstood, disengaged and forgotten by the City’s communities. There is limited knowledge, interpretation and protection of the green material culture of the City, and yet, it makes up some of the most readily available and accessible heritage within the City.
GCH is inspired by those who chose to protect the City’s green heritage, but it goes beyond ‘collect and protect’ as an organisation. Below is a word-cloud of the most frequently used words from community, organisational and peer discussions. These words have formed the basis of GCH’s Mission and What We Do.