LaDIYfest Sheffield is ending as a group. If you’ve seen our recent blog posts, you’ll know that things have been difficult for us recently. In fact, they’ve been difficult for a while.
We’d like to take this final post as another chance to be honest. We also want to say thanks to a large number of people who made it possible for us to achieve some great things over the past five years (some of these are shown in the flyers/photos below). This ending doesn’t take away from what we’re proud of having done as a group.
In June, we put up a blog post about an anonymous disclosure of sexual assault that we had received about one of our organisers. The organiser is no longer involved in LaDIYfest. We struggled deeply with writing the post and with deciding on a course of action. The post was largely well-received and we were praised for our response. We also received some critical feedback, centered on our decision not to name the organiser.
We are aware that our post has been circulated by individuals and within groups as a model for how feminists can respond collectively to sexual violence within activist communities. In fact LaDIYfest effectively no longer existed as a collective when the disclosure was received. Some of us rallied together in June because the disclosure demanded action. Subsequent events made dealing with the initial disclosure more difficult. We are unable to say more.
We have decided to end LaDIYfest at this time. We are moving on with other things in our lives and want to enact a different type of politics. Responding to sexual violence is a complex matter. The salvage collective has recently released a report and toolkit to help activists think through the cultural dynamics of their groups. We urge you to read these and share them widely.
We wish that our last post didn’t have to be such a mix of emotions. At the same time, as we sign off, it seems appropriate to say that we’re proud of the things we achieved as a group. We’d like to say a big THANK YOU! to everyone who helped us along the way.
Thank you to everyone who came to our four festivals, countless gigs, film nights and literary talks, and helped us to raise thousands for local charities. If you’re a band, solo musician, DJ, artist, comedian, poet, journalist, writer, activist, sound technician, or person who doesn’t fit into any of these categories but who made our events happen: thank you so much for allowing us to benefit from your talents, knowledge and energy. Thank you to Sheffield Animal Friends, who fed us. Thank you to people who taught us things we didn’t know how to do!
Thank you to the venues who have hosted us, especially the Audacious Art Space, the Red House, Quaker Meeting House, Moor Deli, Coffee Revolution and Harland Cafe. We really enjoyed working with the University of Sheffield’s Hidden Perspectives project and are so pleased to have had the chance to collaborate with the brilliant Off the Shelf Festival over a number of years (thanks to both for giving us some money to play with, too).
We’re grateful to the charities we’ve been involved with, for coming along to the festival, talking to us and doing the massively important work that they do. A last plug for: National Ugly Mugs, Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (SRASAC), South Yorkshire Women’s Housing Project (SYWHP), Survivors of Depression in Transition (SODiT), Women in Construction and Technology (WICAT) and the Sheffield Food Collective.
Thank you to the founding members, who left a lasting imprint, and to everyone who joined us over the years. Thank you to the incredible Emma Thacker, for her wonderful logos and posters. Thank you to anyone else we might have missed.
Thank you to people who criticised us and forced us to think about how we could do things better (we didn’t always manage it).
There is such a thriving community of awesome women and non-binary people doing creative and political things in Sheffield today. We like to think that we played a part, and we look forward to watching new things grow.