Hidden Perspectives

Bringing the Bible Out of the Closet

An Introduction to LaDIYfest Sheffield!

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LaDIYfest Sheffield are working with Hidden Perspectives as community partners, here is a bit more about them:

What is LaDIYfest Sheffield?
LaDIYfest Sheffield is a community-based feminist collective involved with local activism and fundraising. We participate on a voluntary basis because we enjoy what we do and feel passionate about making Sheffield a better place for women and LGBTQ people. Most of the collective are women but people of any gender are welcome to get involved.”

So what do you get up to?
“We’ve organised a wide range of events and activities in the city, such as workshops and discussion groups on a variety of topics, including body hair, transphobia, disability and consent, and last year we hosted a talk by Guardian writer Juliet Jacques as part of the Off The Shelf festival. Every November we hold a weekend-long festival full of workshops, music, film and art. Since forming two years ago, we’ve raised over £2000 for Sheffield Rape Crisis, The Young Women’s Housing Project and Survivors of Depression in Transition, and we’ll be fundraising for another local women’s project this year. In the past we’ve had to focus on holding lots of fundraising events throughout the year so that we could cover all of our costs and support local organisations with the profits made from the main LaDIYfest weekender. This year will be very different because our involvement with Hidden Perspectives will help us to fund our events so that we can concentrate on awareness-led campaigns. We’ll also be able to share some of the money we make from this project with Sheffield Hollaback to support their campaign to combat street harassment in Sheffield.”

How did you get involved with Hidden Perspectives?
Working with Katie Edwards is not a new experience for LaDIYfest – in 2011 we invited her to host a workshop for us on gender and advertising and, as I was an undergraduate student in the Biblical Studies department when Katie was studying here, I was already aware of her formative work! Katie then approached us last year to ask if we’d get involved in the Hidden Perspectives project as community partners.

Why do you think a project like this is so important?
Engaging with a project like this through LaDIYfest feels like coming full circle for me personally, but its wider importance is something that everyone involved in LaDIYfest was able to relate to. Some feminists can feel quite wary of the Bible as well as aspects of religious traditions more broadly which is understandable when the Bible is often misused to justify prejudices towards people because of their gender or sexuality. Very recently we have seen this on the front line of activism and protests – Last year we organised a counter-demonstration against a pro-life SPUC rally held in Sheffield, and in the past few months religion has been at the forefront in the debate over equal marriage. However, we find it far more productive to look at the counter-traditions of approaching the Bible which subvert normative expectations and encourage discussion and interpretation to allow the hidden perspectives to flourish. Looking at the Bible in these different ways it is not only interesting academically, but also has a direct and urgent political relevance for groups like ours.

We’ve found it a really amazing experience to be working on a project like this, bridging the gap between academic discussion and grassroots movements. The event on June 1st will be an amazing opportunity to highlight the last 12 months’ hard work contacting performers and participants to showcase what happens when you start thinking about the Bible from a different angle.

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Author: Hidden Perspectives

A research project within the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS) at The University of Sheffield.

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