In the late 18th century and into the 19th century Paradise Square was Sheffield's main public meeting place, where people gathered to protest and demand change. Recently, artist Chloë Brown used it as the location for her new film, A Soft Rebellion in Paradise – which you can watch in the Square itself as it premieres on the Saturday of this year's Doc/Fest.
Chloë conceived the film in response to Sheffield’s proud history political activism, and in particular its history as the place where the first organisation in Britain to call for female suffrage was formed. It focuses on the narratives of women that are too often lost in the retelling of histories around the world, questioning the systematic contemporary and historical silencing of women’s voices.
Over 200 women participated in creating the film, performing a series of Soft Rebellions, i.e. actions that in some way defy norms. At the heart of the film is a poem by Sheffield-based poet Geraldine Monk, which she performs on the balcony where John Wesley once addressed the masses who gathered in the Square and the Chartists were dispersed by troops leading to rioting. Alongside this, a group of four women perform a discordant ‘song’ that references historian Mary Beard’s lecture Women and Power and author Henry James’s criticism of the female voice as "a mumble or jumble, a tongue-less slobber".
Find out more about Chloë's inspirations in our Meet the Locals interview.
The 10-minute film will play on a loop outdoors in Paradise Square throughout the day. Chloë will also offer an introduction to the work at 4:30pm (RSVP online).
This film is one of our Doc/Fest 2019 picks.