South Yorkshire’s fire service is taking its one-of-a-kind Black History Month exhibition online this October, in a bid to attract more people from BAME backgrounds to consider a fire and rescue service career.
Family, which was put together last year to pay homage to the diverse heritage of fire service staff, features portrait photographs of 11 employees past and present.
The portraits were exhibited at various locations across Sheffield last October – including the train station, Winter Gardens and Moor Market – inspiring a huge increase in people from African and Caribbean backgrounds registering their interest in a career with the service.
And now, ahead of this year’s Black History Month, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is taking the exhibition online to showcase the photographs in a COVID-safe way.
One thing that does remain the same, fire officers say, is the aim – to celebrate the contribution of staff and encourage more people, with diverse heritage, to consider a job within the fire service.
“We were keen to showcase the exhibition once again this year, following the fantastic reaction we had last year, but sadly most of the public places we had in mind are either closed or extremely quiet,” said Station Manager Delroy Galloway, who features in the exhibition and played a crucial role in pulling it together.
“However, fire services are used to having to adapt, and that’s what we have done. I’m delighted that we’re still going to be able to showcase the wonderful images and tell the stories of the people behind them.
“We want to show people from BAME backgrounds that a career in the fire and rescue service could be for them, and I’d really encourage anyone thinking about it to check out the digital exhibition, get inspired and register their interest with us today.”
Each of the portraits featured on the website were taken by Orestes Rix, a member of the service’s finance team who specialises in portrait photography outside his day job.
The online exhibition, which includes the photographs and additional detail around why Black History Month is so important, can be found here.