Art exhibition gives domestic abuse survivors a voice

The project uses art to reflect, heal and empower

An image from the exhibition

Empowering artwork inspired by survivors of domestic abuse in Leicestershire will go on display this week to open up conversations and raise awareness.

The exhibition, "Expression of Freedom", will run at Leicester's Highcross Shopping Centre from Friday 25 November to Saturday 10 December - coinciding with the 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence.

The showcase is an artistic collaboration between Leicestershire-based artists, including Jo Cope and De Montfort University students, and Leicestershire County Council’s Children and Family Wellbeing Service, who have partnered with Leicester City Council and De Montfort University to deliver the project.

This year’s exhibition marks the second phase of a series of creative workshops commissioned by the county council, exploring the context of abuse in relationships with domestic abuse survivors, young people and others across Leicestershire and Leicester city. It uses art to reflect, heal and empower by raising awareness and telling stories of hope and recovery.

A flag will also fly at County Hall for White Ribbon Day, raising awareness of violence against women and girls, on 25 November, while County Hall will be lit up in orange from Friday 25 November to Saturday 10 December.

Expression of Freedom is a striking and inspiring exhibition reflecting the vision, dedication and achievements of all involved: those who have survived abuse, our partners, and of course our committed children and family services staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to help create strong and safe communities.

We can only recognise and begin to tackle domestic abuse by talking about and confronting it, as this exhibition so powerfully does. I’d strongly encourage everyone to head down to the Highcross from 25 November.

Jo Cope, fashion lecturer at DMU, said: “This has been an important project for fashion design and fashion communication students at De Montfort University - challenging them to find creative ways to reach the public on the subject of domestic abuse while expressing some of their personal experiences, create a call to action for people currently suffering  and celebrate stories of life after abuse. ”

Expression of Freedom will run from Friday 25 November to Saturday 10 December during Highcross Shopping Centre opening hours, in Unit SU24 on the Lower East Mall, opposite Foot Locker. Admission is free and booking is not required.

If you live in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland and are experiencing domestic abuse, you are not alone – help is available by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 80 200 28, or by contacting Leicestershire Police on 101 and asking for a Victim Liaison Officer.

More information on the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign, can be found at

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